Thousands of couples unaware of clause that could affect their pensions


Many couples in the UK are unaware that splitting up could affect their pension, new research conducted on behalf of Aviva has revealed. The data showed that one in every six people who have been through a divorce were unaware of the clause.

Around 1,000 divorced people in the UK took part in the survey, which revealed that nearly ten per cent of those who have been divorced did not have any pension savings of their own. This means that they rely on their former partner for finances for their own retirement, the daily-record reports.

The study also revealed that over a third of people had not made a single claim on their ex-partner’s pension. And a further 20 per cent of those in the study said divorce had reduced their finances in retirement.

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Aviva stated that couples who are getting divorced should be more aware of the financial issues it can trigger for pensions. On average, men get divorced at 47 years old and women get divorced at 44, meaning pensions should be taken into account.

The Office for National Statistics has data which reveals that private pensions account for £6.4 trillion of the £15.2 trillion in household wealth – 42 per cent. Divorcees revealed that they use existing savings, credit cards, and even borrow from friends and family to supplement their income after divorce.

Money in a piggy bank
Aviva has urged couples who are going through a divorce to make themselves aware of the financial issues

Alistair McQueen, head of savings and retirement at Aviva said: “The breakdown of a marriage is often referred to as one of the most traumatic and stressful events anyone can go through. Divorce can also be a costly experience, often including legal fees, a So, it’s perhaps predictable that so many need to rely on savings or credit cards for support during this time.

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“It’s critical that, as part of the separation process, couples take time to think about and discuss one of their single most valuable assets, their pension. It’s common that one party will have significant pension provision, and the other party may have little or no none. Clearly, this could be a relevant factor in any divorce.”

He added: “As well as hiring a family lawyer, it would be advisable for couples to contact a financial adviser to walk them through the pension valuation and financial process. You mustn’t underestimate the value of pensions at this time.”

But divorce isn’t the only factor which can affect your finances later in life, research from Hargreaves Lansdown reveals. Helen Morrissey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, explains: “Pensions are a long-term game and it’s worth taking the time earlier in your career to think about what kind of retirement you would like and put a plan in place to help you achieve it.

“Circumstances can change quickly – we’ve seen many older workers leave the workplace early because of the pandemic and many have not returned. Having a retirement plan already in place can take the fear factor out of the future and mean you have the choice to take on part-time work for instance, rather than relying on a full-time job.”

Five ways to start planning for retirement

Check your state pension
  • The full State Pension is currently worth £168.15 a week. This is what many use as the primary source of their retirement income. You are required to have 10 years worth of National Insurance credits to qualify for a State Pension.

  • Those who don’t work can get credit by claiming for Universal Credit or Child Benefit. You can check how much state pension you are on track to get on the GOV.UK website here.

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Start a pension and keep contributing
Boost contributions whenever you can
Use a pension calculator
Check you are on track for the kind of retirement you want


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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