Pension saving is often embarked upon decades before a person chooses to depart the workforce for their retirement. Thankfully, auto-enrolment means those who are eligible are automatically placed onto a workplace pension scheme, allowing them to build up savings over their working life. A person may also choose to start their own private savings to allow them to make the most of their retirement.
“But what many fail to realise is that the pension is by far the next biggest asset. In some cases, if there are final salary pensions, it can even be the biggest.”
However, Ms Leiper explained many people who are getting divorced or separating, as well as legal professionals, fail to understand the complexity of splitting a pension.
In many cases, it is not understood how to put a value on pension assets, or the legislation in terms of what is possible.
There are, however, laws which take into consideration this eventuality, but, as Ms Leiper added, there is less than a 10 percent take up of this.
Women are often left worse off, and therefore may be forced to compromise on the retirement of their dreams.
However, for divorced women, on average, the situation appears much more dire.
Ms Leiper concluded: “Divorced women, particularly those who are still caring for children, often end up in the worst financial position of all.
“If you look at divorced women reaching retirement, their pension pot size is even lower than the average woman’s – very, very poor.”
Women who have split from their partners are therefore urged to look at their pension arrangements very carefully.
They are encouraged to take an active role in seeing how pensions will be split upon a relationship coming to an end, and making sure they evaluate their own saving habits for their pot.
Finally, women can speak to a pension adviser who may be able to provide help for a person’s individual circumstances.