Retirement For Women

 By: Alex T B Smith
The current age of retirement for women in the UK is 60, whereas the current retirement age for men is 65. However, the retirement age limit increased from 2010, so that by 2020, it will be 66 years. A study shows that 26 per cent of women retiring this year will have an annual income of less than 10,000 pounds when they stop working. On the other hand, only 12 per cent of men retiring this year will have to live on less than 10,000 pounds in a year.

In the UK, an individual must pay a certain amount to National Insurance Contributions to qualify for the state pension. The qualifying age for men is 49 and women's age is 44. It also depends on how much the individual earns and where he/she has been credited with National Insurance contributions. Retirement for women differs from that of men in various other aspects as well. Women are entitled to claim the Basic State Pension on reaching their state pension age, regardless of whether they are married or single. The amount depends on the number of qualifying years and on whether they reach their state pension age before or after 6th April 2010. The basic state pension is 102.15 pounds per week for women. Basic state pension can be claimed by women for a higher amount than their National Insurance contributions, if they look after a sick or disabled person for at least 35 hours a week or obtain child benefits for a child under 16.

Women who are not qualified for a full basic state pension on reaching their state pension age may be able to claim a higher amount based on their husband's contributions. They may get a basic state pension of up to 60% of their husband's contribution.

Women gain a lot of advantages in the UK, when it comes to employment. They are more likely to be well educated and less likely to lose their jobs in times of recession. However, retirement for women is different from that of men. Women are more likely to spend their retirement poorer than men.

Women sometimes have to take care of children and elderly parents, so they have significantly fewer years than men to build up their retirement savings. They are also losing on the years of paying into a pension plan and missing out on the employer's contribution as well. All this makes life after retirement for women a bit harder. It is therefore important for women to start putting more into private pension schemes. A study shows that 38 per cent of women and 46 per cent of men contribute to private pension plans. Moreover, men save an average of 200 pounds or more per month, whereas women contribute less than 100 pounds in a month. Women need to start saving more, so that they can enjoy the same level of financial independence they currently enjoy.
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