TAKING a five-year career break can cost women around €200,000 in lost pension money, a survey has found.
By Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor. Irish Independent, Thursday June 07 2012
The findings have prompted a warning to women who take time out to mind children to carefully consider the impact on their retirement fund.
The figures, based on someone who earns €50,000 a year, show that not enough consideration is given to opting out of the workforce to raise a family.
Stay-at-home mothers also lose out on a salary along with the chance to build up a decent pension.
IFG Corporate Pensions said the findings of its research meant that women were being hit more than previously thought when they opt out of the workforce.
The €200,000 reduction in the pension fund meant that up to a third of a typical retirement fund was gone, Samantha McConnell of IFG said.
"A reduction of almost one-third of the target pension fund seems a lot considering that this worker has only been away from the workplace for a relatively short percentage of her overall working life," Mr McConnell said.
Women who take a career break when their children are young may also end up taking other periods out of the workforce because of the pressure of having dual roles, IFG said.
This means that even after re-entering the workforce, they may not last until the new state retirement age of 68.
"Due to the largely fragmented career path of many women and the impact this has on their pension fund, it is imperative that women give greater consideration to their pension and their longer-term finances," Ms McConnell said.
One option was to put extra money into the husband's fund while the wife was at home.
And she added that complicating matters was the fact that women live longer than men.
"And the crux of the matter is that women actually need more money than their male partners at retirement as longevity statistics indicate that women who reach retirement age can expect to live until 88, compared to men's life-expectancy of 85."
Many women will end up out of the workforce for between five and 15 years. Once they return after a gap like this their employer may not make a very big contribution to a retirement fund on their behalf.
Separate figures out yesterday showed that the pensions funds fell by 2.1pc in May.
Over the last three years the average fund rose by 9.2pc a year. But over 10 years the annual rise was just 2.2pc, just above the annual inflation rate, according to calculations by Rubicon Investment Consulting.
- Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor