Posted by Ros Connors

Single mothers face living in poverty when they retire

The 19th annual Women and Retirement Report reveals that the ‘motherhood penalty’ – the financial and career disadvantages faced by working mothers – has an enduring impact in later life. Deep-rooted structural inequalities cause women to earn less, work less and save less for retirement when they become parents. This is exacerbated for single mothers who are unable to share the burden of day-to-day costs and childcare provision with a partner.

The report analyses women’s retirement prospects through the lens of the National Retirement Forecast (NRF). Single mothers are already disadvantaged in the broader national picture presented by the NRF which highlights the gender pension gap of 39%. This is the difference in pension savings between men and women at retirement age. The average woman is on track to receive £12,000 per year of income in retirement after paying for housing expenses, which is £7,000 short of the £19,000 income for the average man.

A main driver of the gap is that women take on substantially more childcare than men, which limits the amount they are able to work over their lifetime and reduces the amount they can save into their pensions. The report reveals that 50% of fathers say they share childcare equally with their partners while only 31% of mothers believe this to be true, with 56% of mothers saying they do the majority of childcare.

Ros spoke to Alesha De-Freitas, head of policy at The Fawcett Society and Alison Nicolson, head of workplace savings & chair of audit & risk committee at Scotish Widows.

Photo by Colin Watts on Unsplash

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