Career mums advised to tackle pension planning

21 May 2003
Mothers who take a career break in order to look after their children could face a financial loss on retirement of up to 20 per cent.

Legal & General warns that career mums could suffer financially by failing to prepare for a career break.

The pension provider advises that working mothers review their retirement fund and understand the financial consequences of taking a career break to look after the children.

Andy Agar, Legal & General's Director Pensions Marketing, said, 'The latest Government statistics indicate that women are having their first child much later in life. In 1971 the average age of a mother was 24 yet by last year the average age was 30.'

Starting a family later in life means that women have time to accumulate some funds in their pension pot. However, from April this year women are entitled to take up to a year off from work on maternity leave and trends show that where mum has a second child they take a longer break, maybe up to five years or until their children are attending school full time.

Recent research from Bristol University has shown that young children whose mothers go out to work do not suffer as a result, but Legal & General warns that mothers taking an extended career break could miss out in the future if theyr fail to plan.

Breaks can make a real dent in their pension funding. A career break at age 30 for just 5 years could mean a 20 per cent reduction in the pension fund available when they retire at 60.

Mr Agar explained, 'If a mum can make contributions or their husband or partner, into a stakeholder pension during their career break this can help to ease the burden of continuing to fund for an adequate pension income in retirement.

'But with the patter of tiny feet, priorities change and funds are not always readily available so reviewing pension funding ahead of a career break is crucial to limit any future loss of income.'