Survey of 2,000 people carried out by Opinium on behalf of HL in September 2021.
Helen Morrissey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown:
“Telling a happy couple to consider their finances in the event of a split is hardly romantic but could save a lot of financial heartache in the long run. While it makes sense for couples to share financial responsibilities, leaving long term planning such as a pension primarily in the hands of one partner could leave you financially vulnerable in later life.
If your partner has a much better pension than you then it is tempting to rely on that rather than build your own, especially if you’re on a lower income. However, if you choose to take this approach, you need to understand the risks you’re taking.
If you’re not married, then in the event of a split, you won’t be entitled to a share of the pension at all. If you are married, then within a divorce, women tend to leave with less than half of the pension. This is often because women will offset it in an effort to keep the family home, especially if they have primary responsibility for the children. However, this could leave them with a massive hole in their retirement finances.
Even if you stay together, you need to consider the practicalities of sharing one income, managed by one of you, especially if you have different financial priorities. Often both of the couple will want the security and independence of their own income.
The figures show women are particularly at risk, with almost 40% saying they expected to rely on a partner’s pension in retirement. This is down to a variety of factors including lower wages, part-time work, and time out of the workforce for caring responsibilities. However, almost a quarter (23%) of men also said they would likely need to rely on a partner’s pension so it’s by no means purely a female thing.
The good news is that younger age groups feel they will not have to rely on their partner so much. Only a quarter of the 18-24 age group said they thought they might have to rely on a partner. However, we need to bear in mind that for many of them, the years where their finances will be severely squeezed are ahead of them. Auto-enrolment means more people than ever will be able to build up a pension throughout their working lives meaning they are less likely to have to rely on anyone else in retirement.”
Tips to boost your pension
Helpful Resource Depending On Your Requirements