Written by Suzi Denton, Practice Development Lawyer, Eugenie Taylor, Associate Solicitor

The Pensions Policy Institute (PPI), in collaboration with the University of Manchester, has published a new report on the discrepancies between men and women when it comes to pension wealth, and the impact of divorce on pensions.

Here are some of the key findings:

  • Men had significantly greater pension wealth when compared to women of the same age. Men aged between 65 to 69 had around £212,000 in pension wealth, whereas women of the same age had around £35,000. This is the case for both married couples and those who are divorced.

  • Married men were the best off in terms of pension wealth, with those between the age of 45 to 54 having on average £86,000, and married women of the same age having £40,000.

  • Fewer than 15% of couples had equal pensions, and in 50% of the couples who were surveyed, one partner had 90% of the pension wealth.

  • Divorced women fared particularly poorly: divorced men (who were not living with a new partner) aged between 45 and 54 had on average £42,000 whereas women in the same situation had £16,000. The disparity gets worse with age, with divorced men aged between 55 and 64 having £100,000 in pension wealth, compared with £19,000 for divorced women.

For those who are going through the divorce process, this report highlights the importance of having a full picture of the pensions that are available in the matrimonial pot, and how they can be taken into account when reaching a financial settlement. A long term approach should be taken, with parties giving careful consideration to what will happen on their retirement, to ensure that they are financially secure.

When it comes to resolving financial matters on divorce, parties may feel that retaining property is preferable to pensions, without having a proper understanding as to what the pensions are actually worth and how they can be shared. Although there is sometimes a reluctance to spend money obtaining reports from pensions experts, the involvement of experts can be invaluable, helping to ensure that fair outcomes are achieved.