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By Audrey Flynn, Forth Capital


Judith has been married to Steven for almost 15 years. She stopped working several years ago, to look after their two children, returning to work part-time at a lower level when the children started school. Five years ago, Steven had the opportunity to work in Asia for several years and Judith happily gave up her job to move there with him and the children. Then, without warning, Steven announced that he wanted a divorce which forced Judith to reassess her life and her financial situation for the future.

Like many women Judith hadn’t contributed to a pension scheme on a full-time basis for most of her adult life, as she had taken career breaks to look after her children and to support her husband in his career. She had always relied on Steven to manage the family finances with minimum discussion, and without contemplating her own pension.

The sudden break down of her marriage forced Judy to look more closely at her financial situation and realise that she had never sensibly planned for her own retirement, relying entirely on her husband for their retirement plans. She had no idea how much money she had, nor how much she would need to save to enjoy the lifestyle she hoped for when she retired -  and she had no idea where to start…

This situation is, in fact, very familiar. There are various things women need to consider – and they need to think sooner rather than later. Here are a few interesting pieces of information:

Women have smaller pensions…

Statistics show that on average women still earn less than men. This is often the result of taking career breaks to bring up children, follow spouses for their careers or care for elderly relatives. When they do start working again, women are often forced to take lower-paid jobs. As a result, their pension pots end up being smaller when they retire – some estimate a gender pension gap of up to 40%. (https://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/policy-research/the-pensions-gap/)

…Yet women live longer

It is well known that they have a longer life expectancy than men and so in reality often end up trying to manage for longer on a much smaller pension than men.

In many instances, women rely on their spouses financially… especially in an expat environment

Historically, for many couples the husband is the principal earner in the family, while the wife often juggles a part-time job with family duties or chooses to look after the family full-time. Although times are thankfully changing in this respect, many women do still find themselves in a situation where they are not financially independent and this financial reliance on their partner often continues into retirement.

…And if the unexpected happens?

You may enjoy a long and happy retirement with your other half. But you might not. Separation, divorce, sickness or outliving your spouse could all mean that you end up struggling financially, without a well-structured plan in place.

Don’t take the risk! Start planning for your retirement now.

Become financially independent

Start taking an interest in your savings and pensions and take responsibility for your future. As you learn more you will become more confident and financially independent – it’s not as difficult or frightening as you might imagine!

Start saving – now, and plan for your retirement

It is never too soon to start saving for your retirement. It is recommended that you should save 20% of your income for retirement so start setting money aside monthly and consider starting a private pension. One important piece of advice: every month when you receive your salary, ensure the first payment you make is to yourself.

Arrange a free consultation with an Independent Financial Adviser. Work out how much you spend and how much you are likely to spend when you are retired. Divide expenses into ‘essential’ and ‘if possible’ and don’t forget to include things like health care costs. When you have a rough idea of how much you will spend in your retirement you can work out how big a pension you will need and how much you should be saving. You might find you will need to reduce your current spending in order to be able to enjoy the retirement you desire.

Determine your goals and your risk profile

Once you know how much money you will need and how much you need to invest you can work out your investment goals and your risk profile. How much growth do you want to achieve? How long have you got? Can you afford to take a risk with some of your investments or will you need to start cashing them in soon. A free consultation with an independent financial adviser could save you a lot of money and increase your investment returns.

Invest intelligently

Once you’ve started saving and you know your goal, you need to start investing to grow your pension pot. Again, speaking to an independent financial advisor to get individual and expert guidance on your situation is a clever idea.

You can’t rely on the government to fund your pension.

Governments are freezing pensions and pushing the responsibility to save for pensions onto the individual. Make sure you plan for your retirement and grow your assets. A Forth Capital Adviser can help you and you can arrange for a free consultation on this link http://www.forthcapital.com/expat-financial-planning/retirement-planning/

Author's bio

FC audreyflynn

Audrey has over 20 years’ experience in financial services building strong trusted client relationships. She moved to Switzerland with her family in 2012, which has provided her with a personal understanding of the requirements of expatriates.

Passionate about client service and offering a wealth of local and financial experience, Audrey specialises in relationship building, and in working in collaboration with clients to ensure a personal effective strategy for future financial security.

Audrey is a member of Chartered Insurance Institute(CII) and The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI).