1.5 million UK widows have lost out on pension income

Around 1.5 million widows in the UK aged 55 and over say they have lost out on pension income in later life following the death of their partner, new research has revealed.

Equity release lender, more2life, and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), stated that just 16% of men said they have experienced the same situation.

This figure is substantially lower than the 59% of widows who reported a loss of pension income, which more2life suggested demonstrates a disparity between men and women when it comes to later life income.

The research also revealed the impact of divorce on women’s pension income, with two in five (39%) women saying they had lost out on the retirement income they receive or expect to receive as a result of splitting from their partner. This compared to the 21% of men who believe their retirement income had been negatively affected by divorce.

more2life’s findings, based on a study among 1,016 over-55s, also indicated that only a third women (35%) had reported having independent pension wealth, while 17% said they jointly own this with their spouse or partner. Furthermore, 40% of women reported no pension wealth at all.

According to more2life CEO, Dave Harris, the research is “further evidence” that the later life income discrepancy between men and women is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.

“A lack of independent pension wealth or relying on a partner’s income isn’t something that can be fixed overnight, so we need to raise awareness of the alternative options available for women in later life to boost their income in retirement,” Harris said.

“With more than a quarter of women owning property wealth in later life, it’s vital that they know how unlocking the value in their homes can be the difference between just making ends meet and living comfortably in retirement.

“Solutions such as equity release are popular amongst older homeowners looking to use their housing wealth to help fund their retirement. We need to make sure the over-55s, and women in particular, are supported as they make choices around how they use their assets to achieve the retirement they deserve.”

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