Retirement and me: Woman, 74, to ‘work until I can’t’ – pension mix-up saw ‘nothing go in’
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Celeste, whose name has been changed, is currently working in education beyond the state pension age, in what she describes as a “necessity”. She has not taken a break due to caring responsibilities for children, nor has she reduced her hours, working six days a week to make ends meet.
Celeste exclusively told Express.co.uk: “I hadn’t been motivated initially by money and was lucky that I could rely on my husband.
“But he somehow managed to withdraw his very good pension in an effort to save his business some time ago.”
“My own lack of awareness about pensions then led me not to notice that a switch in company by my employer meant that I failed to sign a form and it was a few years before I realised that nothing was going in.
“I’m also dyscalculic which doesn’t help.”
Celeste now has some pension savings, but not as much as she hoped, as well as her state pension entitlement.
While these are financial cushions to fall back on, she feels she has understood her entitlement too late.
She continued: “I understand my pension and my state pension to a certain extent.
“However, I am still confused as to whether I should have one lump sum a year from the work pension or monthly payments when I give up.
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“I need to have more conversations. I’ve taken my tax-free sums.
“My pension provider is helpful but they cannot advise and Financial Advisers are not that interested in the £80,000 that I have. It’s too little to interest them.
“I went to Pension Wise some years ago, but it was a lot to take in.”
Celeste explained how she is beginning to feel tired with work as she continues to age.
She is fearful she might not be able to be financially independent in retirement.
This has all been compounded by the cost of living crisis and skyrocketing bills in recent weeks.
Celeste added: “I won’t cope. Our energy bills have more than doubled recently, and I shall have to continue to work until I can’t.
“Fortunately we have children who would support us if I became unable to work but I would prefer to be independent.”
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Research from WorkingWise has shown 50 percent of women will now have to continue to work beyond retirement age to make ends meet.
But 58 percent of those asked also stated they did not fully understand their pension savings.
Women are also having to deal with the gender pay and gender pension gaps.
Recently commenting on this matter, a DWP spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “Automatic enrolment has helped millions more women save into a pension, with participation among eligible women in the private sector rising from 40 percent in 2012 to 86 percent in 2020 – equal to that of men.
“Our plans to remove the Lower Earnings Limit for contributions and to reduce the eligible age of being automatically enrolled to 18 in the mid-2020s will enable even more women to save more and start saving earlier.”
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