Women warned over pensions

Women in the UK are leaving themselves dangerously exposed to financial risk in later life, with many relying on their partners to look after financial planning, HSBC Insurance has warned. Plus other news.

Women in the UK are leaving themselves dangerously exposed to financial risk in later life, with many relying on their partners to look after financial planning, HSBC Insurance has warned.

According to HSBC Insurance’s The Future of Retirement report, It’s Time to Prepare, more than two in five British women aged between 30 and 59 years (42%) are living in fear of what their retirement might hold. It points out that many women in the 40s and 50s get divorced or widowed so leaving their finances in the hands of their partners leaves them exposed to risk.

 The findings reveal that more women look after short-term financial concerns with almost a third (29%) solely managing the household budget, compared to 22% of men. Paying household bills and managing the household budget are causes of financial concern for 41% and 38% of women respectively, compared with 31% and 29% men. However, men are far more likely to be concerned with long-term financial planning than their female counterparts (23% of men compared to 15% of women), leaving women at greater financial risk.

The report highlights that twice as many women (17%) as men (8%) say they have done no retirement planning, while almost twice as many men (32%) as women (18%) feel very well prepared for the long term.

Christine Foyster, Head of Premium Wealth Proposition at HSBC, said: "Often women do not consider long-term financial planning early enough, leaving them at risk of being under-prepared in later life. There is also a tendency to have unrealistic expectations about how much to save and therefore to put saving off.

"It is important that women seek financial independence, actively engage with the financial advice process and do not leave all the financial planning to their partner. If women are concerned about their financial situation, it is worth seeking an individual review of their own
finances. For example, it may be financially beneficial to take out an individual pension product rather than to rely on joint plans."

RBS shakes up diversity plans
The Royal Bank of Scotland is changing the way its diversity policy operates in a bid to get more women into senior management positions.

It told the Treasury Select Committee on Women in the City that, although 57% of its employees are women, only 13% of senior executive positions are occupied by women.
Previously individual departments had their own diversity plans, but this will now operate centrally.
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Women denied choice over birth claim
More than 90% of women are denied a choice of where they give birth, says a report by the National Childbirth Trust.
This is despite the Government pledging that they should have a choice. They say just 4.2% in the UK can choose whether to have their baby in hospital, at home or at a birth centre. The Government rejects the report’s findings and says its research shows 81% of women say they have a choice.
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Child safety chief considers changes on volunteer escort rules
The Government’s chief adviser on child safety is considering changes to controversial new rules which mean parents who regularly volunteer to escort children have to sign up to a register.
Sir Roger Singleton said it would be wrong to ignore all the complaints since the rules were announced and said he would like to see a simpler system. His review is due to report in December.
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New rules for single parents come in

Single parents with children aged 10 and over will get help to look for work from this week.
Lone parents who are able to work will be moved onto Jobseekers Allowance and will have access to specialist advice and support to help them find work.
Lone parents with children under seven will not need to seek work. Those with children under one will no longer have to attend work-focused interviews, but can get support if they want to work.
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IBM increases flexible working
IBM has significantly increased flexible working to increase its global business.
Seventy per cent of its employees now work from home at some point in their working week, while 75 per cent of managers have some remote staff.
The company is encouraging part-time working, job-sharing, and compressed weeks.
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