It was the news that thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of UK women were owed thousands of pounds in state pension owing to yet another government shambles.
Imagine this coming hot on the heels of another recent scandal in which women approaching retirement age had the rug pulled from under them when they discovered they’d need to work several years more in order to receive their state pensions.
When we talk relentlessly about getting our pension sh*t in order. This is why.
The pension gap didn’t just spring from nowhere of course.
- There is a pay gap – so the amount we can put into our pensions is already squeezed.
- There is an advice gap – which means we’re not even getting access to the right guidance and support to make informed decisions about whether the pensions we do have are invested in the right places, and if we haven’t got one at all, the best way to set one up.
- There is a motherhood penalty – which means, for those of who are mums and having birthed the children, raised the children and taken career breaks to accommodate said children (willingly I hasten to add) still find ourselves out of pocket after it all.
And whilst we can talk until we’re breathless about inclusion, OR diversity and inclusion OR diversity, equity and inclusion, and spend hours in meaningless debate about the difference between equality and equity (meaningless because who cares what it’s called as long as women remain underpaid and in pensioner poverty or inadequately paid employment?) this is now more than just a philosophical debate, it’s verging on an existential crisis.
Well what else can you call it if women’s very survival in later life hinges on it?
One of the biggest worries I hear from the Rainmakers, in our members’ club, is not so much about how to build their rich lives, despite my endless chatter on the subject. No, it’s the panic that they don’t have enough in their pensions, or that they haven’t started their pension planning. And what’s the point of it all if we’re going to be royally shafted in our 60s anyway?!
What about the single mothers? The divorcees? The bereaved? The single women full stop? Even if you co-habit or are happily married, none of us emerge unscathed. The pitiful state of our pensions tells us everything we need to know.
IT. IS. NOT. O. K.
Here are 4 things you can do now:
- Speak to DWP to see whether you, your mum, your gran, your aunties, godmothers, basically any woman in your life who retired before 2016 and was therefore on a different state pension regime may be affected. It’s a deliberately labyrinthine system so it’s not something you can figure out yourself, but don’t be deterred and do ask the question. Word on the street is, the average amount being reclaimed is in the region of £9,000, though of course it may be lower than this.
- Check your national insurance record to make sure there are no gaps from any mat leave or other career breaks. See whether you’re in a position to plug these gaps now so if there is a state pension In future years, you receive your full entitlement. Visit gov.uk to check your record.
- Talk to your employer so they are aware of this issue and get them to put it firmly on the agenda for any future employee benefits discussions. Lots of us would prefer to swap another employee benefit for a bigger pension contribution if we can.
- Use your voice – don’t think you need to be a social media star or IG influencer to make an impact. Tell everyone you know in your personal and professional life. Including men. Especially men. Amplify, share, bang the drum. Sometimes shaming the powers that be into taking action is the only way.
We need to be angry and we need to take action. Not everyday Miss Congeniality. Sometimes, we have to unleash a tempest. Now is that time.
So. Which one are you doing first? 🙂 Email me and let me know.