Pensions in Divorce: what should you do?

Wed, 22 Sep 2021 14:07:00 BST

A new report has found that men within couples have substantially more private pension wealth than women, which poses particular challenges when they divorce.

Dr Jennifer Buckley and Professor Debora Price from the Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing (MICRA), based at The University of Manchester have teamed up with the Pensions Policy Institute to try to understand the statistical and data landscape, to produce descriptive statistics, and to gain understanding of what statistical modelling might be possible in future research, to inform important social and policy questions about pension outcomes for divorcees.

The researchers analysed the pension wealth of almost 30,000 people over the age of 30. They found that married men have the most, with those aged 45-54 having a median pension wealth of about £86,000 (compared with £40,000 for women) and those aged 55-64 having £185,000 (compared with £55,800 for women). For those aged 65-69, the gap is even wider - in this age bracket median pension wealth for married men is just over £260,000, compared to just £28,000 for married women.

The data showed that while around 90% of couples have some pension wealth between them, in about half of couples with pensions, one partner has more than 90% of the pension wealth. Fewer than 15% of couples have pensions that are approximately equal.

The researchers concluded that there is considerable potential for pension sharing when it comes to divorce, which could have a considerable positive impact on women’s finances in later life. They have created a video which they hope will be shared widely, and will help divorcing couples to understand the legal context for pension sharing.

Watch this video explaining the best approach to take to make sure any settlement is fair and just.