Women are likely to struggle in old age as a “part-time pensions penalty’ means they will be £106,000 worse off than men at retirement, a report has warned. Working fewer hours, either to raise a family or care for elderly parents, results in a 47% reduction in women’s pension wealth compared with men by their late 50s.
This has a bigger impact than the gender pay gap, which cuts women’s pension savings by 28%, it was revealed. But worryingly, three in 10 part-time women workers do not believe that their hours will affect their pension pots. Failure to face up to this could see millions cast into poverty in retirement, experts warn. By their 60s, women typically have £51,100 – just a third of the average man’s £156,500 pot. Yet women live on average 3.7 more years than men, meaning their pension needs to last longer. For women to draw the same pension income throughout their retired lifetime, they would need to have saved between five and seven percent more by retirement age. It has been suggested that if we introduced a carer’s top-up for pension contributions and lowered the [workplace pension auto-enrolment] threshold so that more low-paid women in part-time work could benefit, that could make a real difference.
Surviving a no deal Brexit
Here’s what might happen to house prices, jobs, savings and pensions:
House prices: The Office for Budget Responsibility, the government’s independent forecasting agency, believes house prices will tumble by around 10% in a disorderly Brexit. The average UK house price is £216,515, according to Nationwide, so that would translate into around £21,000 off the average home, taking it back below £200,000 in London.
Mortgages: Faced with a recession induced by a no-deal Brexit, the Bank of England cuts base rate close to zero and embarks on a monetary loosening policy that sends interest rates across the board to new lows. Mortgage rates respond, with the best fixed rates dropping below 1%.Savings: The Bank of England moves quickly to cut interest rates and embarks on a new round of quantitative easing to boost the economy. Once again the banks are awash with cheap money, meaning the interest rates payable to those with savings is only going one way – down. At the height of the financial crisis the rates payable to savers in plenty of accounts fell to 0.1%, resulting in negligible returns.
Pensions: Workers with final salary-style pensions aren’t affected, as they have guarantees, but for everyone else, their pension pot depends on the performance of the stock market. Which way will markets go in a Brexit crash-out? Broadly speaking, domestically focused UK companies, which make most of their profits in the UK, will be obvious casualties and their share prices could fall heavily in the next few months. But the giants of the London stock market – such as BP, Shell, HSBC and Glaxo – make the vast majority of their profits in overseas markets, and are much better protected from Brexit. Indeed, as sterling plummets they are likely to rise in value, because their dollar earnings suddenly become worth much more in pounds.
Bitcoin tax crackdown
People who buy and sell bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are being warned to check if they need to pay tax on any windfalls they make amid an HMRC crackdown. The taxman has confirmed it’s asked a number of cryptocurrency buying and selling platforms to reveal how much users are making. Experts say the move follows a similar investigation launched by the USA’s Internal Revenue System (IRS). HMRC won’t say which firms it’s spoken to but CEX.IO told The Sun that it’s been contacted by the tax man. The crypto exchange says it’s been asked for the names and addresses of UK residents who’ve transferred cash using the site between April 6 2017 and April 5 2019 – as well as the value and dates of transfers. CEX.IO says it’s now investigating whether it has to meet the tax man’s demands. This is a timely reminder that while you don’t have to pay tax when you buy bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies in the UK, you might have to pay capital gains tax when you come to sell it.
Financial Advice Including Pension Advice, Bristol
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