There were cries of “sexism!” when Sage, the Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies said what we all, frankly, already know - that it’s a safe bet to say, at least most “women carry the burden of creating … Christmas.”
They needn’t have stopped there really. Throughout the pandemic countless studies have shown that it’s women who have - to borrow their phrase - carried the burden in numerous areas of domestic life, from childcare to home schooling, throughout the pandemic.
But let’s face it, this isn’t really new news. It’s what’s been happening for generations. Day to day, at Christmas, and now also during pandemics, it seems.
Putting another thing on the ‘to do’ list
And just when you think women wouldn’t have a moment left to add any more tasks to their ‘to do’ list, it emerges that we are also increasingly likely to be the ones wearing the financial trousers too.
New research carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that women now out-earn their male partners in almost a quarter of households, up from just a fifth of coupled-up women 16 years ago. The percentage of households in which the female partner earns more than the male partner has steadily risen from 19.8% in 2004 to 23.3% by 2019 – an 18% rise.
And women earn the same as, or more than, their male partner in almost three-in-ten households, up from 22.3% of households in 2004 to 27.6% of households in 2019, the ONS figures show. Men now earn more than women in seven-in-ten households (72.4%), down from 77.7% in 2004.
That’s good news on the earnings front, but as we all know, super women we may be, but it’s impossible to do it all, and as those numerous lockdown chore allocation surveys have shown, if women are doing all the childcare, home schooling and general caring, then their work is going to suffer.
And then came the pandemic
But while earnings have been rising, there is now a very real risk that the coronavirus crisis could set women back in terms of their earning power, with more women than men expected to have had to reduce their working hours in order to cover caring responsibilities, or because they have been furloughed or, worse still, lost their job altogether.
There is also a real danger that many women will have taken their eye off their own future savings and pension plans during the course of the pandemic. However, while it can be tempting to hit the pause button and wait for the current situation to pass; this could cost you in the long run.
Prioritising your future self
By keeping your regular savings and pension contributions going, you make sure you keep your future plans, like retirement, on track. Losing out on six months, or a year or two, could have a detrimental impact on your longer-term financial security. And as we have seen time and again, we need every penny we can save to ensure our future financial wealth is in good shape. The key is to remain focused on your longer-term plans and try not to let the current pandemic disrupt your future financial goals.
Saving for retirement and staying invested through tricky times is easier if you do it slowly and steadily, but surely.
Putting everyone else first might be the norm for you, as mum/wife/partner/daughter/businesswoman/general ‘go to’ girl, but when it comes to your money you need to also keep an eye out for future you. Because, as they say, you’re worth it.
Get to know your pension by logging in to PlanViewer, see how much you’ve saved, how much you’re contributing, understand your investments, and check your target retirement age is up to date. You’re not legally obliged to retire then, but it means if you’re invested in a default lifestyle investment strategy, it will work to protect your money in line with your goals and life stage.
Remember, you can’t normally access your pension until you’re 55. Until then it’s a good idea to regularly review your savings.
The value of investments and the income from them, can go down as well as up, so you may get back less than you invest. Investors should note that the views expressed may no longer be current and may have already been acted upon. Withdrawals from a pension product will not be possible until you reach age 55. This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to an authorised financial adviser.