The Retirement Savings Gender Gap is real. Women's retirement savings are expected to be on average around 11% smaller than mens. How would your options on retirement be improved with a larger retirement pot. Read more about five things you can do
Find out what you have already and review regularly. 
You can obtain a forecast of your state pension and the age from which it will be paid here or by completing form BR19. The maximum new State Pension is £164.35 payable if you have a full National Insurance record. 
You can trace any previous pensions you may have lost track of here  
 
Have a plan to increase your savings. 
The savings in your retirement savings pot belong to you as an individual and can be accessed from age 55. 
 
If you are in paid employment join your employer’s scheme. 
If you are between 22 and state pension age and earn £10,000 per annum then you will be automatically enrolled into a workplace pension scheme and from 6 April 2019 your employer must contribute at least 3% of your qualifying band earnings to your retirement savings pot. 
The government will also contribute to your retirement savings pot in the form of tax relief. For each £8.00 you contribute from net pay the government will add £2.00 to your retirement savings pot. This applies even if you do not pay tax up to a maximum contribution of £240 per month. Higher rate taxpayers can claim additional tax relief on their self assessment form. 
 
If you earn less than £10,000 per annum you can still ask to join your employers scheme. If you earn more than £6,136 per annum if you ask to join the scheme then your employer must also contribute to your pot. 
Consider carefully the implications of opting out of an employers scheme even if you are on maternity leave. If you do opt out you will lose the employers contribution to your pot on any earnings you may have.  
 
If you are not in paid employment consider saving into a pension arrangement. 
Long career breaks to take care of children, dependants and the family home have a significant impact on the size of women’s retirement savings pots. 
Even if you are not earning and paying tax the government will also contribute to your retirement savings pot. For each £8.00 you contribute the government will add £2.00 to your retirement savings pot. This applies up to a maximum contribution of £240 per month. 
Consider taking advantage of this by funding your pension from the family finances whilst you are caring for others. 
 
If you are self employed. 
Consider saving into a pension arrangement. The government will contribute to your retirement savings pot in the form of tax relief. For each £8.00 you contribute from net pay the government will add £2.00 to your retirement savings pot. This applies even if you do not pay tax up to a maximum contribution of £240 per month. Higher rate taxpayers can claim additional tax relief on their self assessment form. 
 
If you are a Director of a limited company. 
Consider additional employer contributions to your retirement savings plan. These are a legitimate business expense and hence reduce corporation tax. 
 
Protect your state pension entitlement by claiming national Insurance credits. 
You will need 35 qualifying years when you have paid National Insurance Contributions to get the full basic state pension which is currently £164.35 per week. If you have fewer than 35 years then you will qualify for a proportion of this amount provided you have at least 10 qualifying years. 
If you are not in paid work and are caring for children under 16 (20 if in full time education) or a dependant then you can get National Insurance credits towards your state pension. These are granted automatically if you are receiving child benefit. However if you are not entitled to child benefit because of means testing then you must claim it at the nil rate in order to get the national Insurance credit. If you are caring for another dependant then you will need to claim the national Insurance credit. 
 
Do not assume you can rely on your partner’s pension or retirement savings 
Whether there are benefits payable to you in the event of your partner predeceasing you will depend on the type of scheme to which your partner belongs and the rules of that scheme. 
In the case of occupational defined benefit schemes you should check the rules regarding the payment of such pensions particularly if you are not married. 
For self invested personal pensions any such benefits will depend on the choices that your partner makes at retirement for example whether or not an annuity with attaching spouses benefits is purchased or whether flexible drawdown is used and the fund remains invested. 
The distribution of any remaining funds will be in accordance with the nomination form completed by your partner. 
 
Ensure that pensions are taken into account in any divorce settlement. 
Pension arrangements and retirement savings pot can be significant and may indeed be the largest assets in some cases of greater value than the family home. 
It is important that they are fully disclosed and taken into account in any distribution of assets following a divorce. 
This can be achieved in a number of ways including splitting the pension itself and it is important to take proper advice in this regard. 
 
If you have any questions or would like a free no obligation informal chat to answer your questions then contact Elaine Tarver at elaine.tarver@millpensions.co.uk or 07712751336. If you would like to receive tips help and information demystifying pensions direct to your inbox sign up here 
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