Collaborative Post with Aviva
Are you aware of the pensions pay gap? This is an area of concern for many women in the UK including me but I have taken steps to close this gap once and for all. As women, we still live in a patriarchal society where we are disadvantaged in the workplace and this financial disadvantage causes long term effects and we need to be proactive to attempt to close the gap.
My work history will be the same as many other women I am sure. I have gaps in my National Insurance contributions and in my state pension contributions. As a woman with three children I have had three maternity leaves and then I reduced my work hours to part-time in order to be the primary caregiver. This was a family decision, but it also leaves me financially vulnerable, especially if my marriage ever broke down. Whilst my husband has climbed the greasy career ladder, I didn’t work for promotions as I knew that being part-time meant I would not be awarded the promotions. Therefore, in terms of my career I stagnated which led to me earning less and also contributing less to pensions.
I also took an unpaid sabbatical from work when our youngest daughter was diagnosed with the life-changing medical condition hip dysplasia. Erin had multiple surgeries and spent 24 weeks in a spica cast. Again, as a family, we decided that I would take that time out of the workplace to put our daughter’s health needs first. These gaps in my teaching did have a detrimental effect on my personal finances obviously as I went from earning my own salary to being on carers allowance for the year.
However, since then, I have left teaching (as many know) and became a full-time blogger and freelance writer, which has afforded me the luxury of flexible working around our family’s needs. This change in personal finances has given me the opportunity to start saving again and my plan for this year is to make regular savings which I am investing. I need to close the gap and be proactive in doing so. Things will not change of their own accord and I need to make it happen. I have also been left an inheritance which I am earmarking to future proof myself. As tempting as it is to have a new kitchen or do the loft conversion I am actually investing this money instead.
We often set our goals for the year a head and these tend to be about taking up a new hobby, drinking less, moving more but how often do you set yourself a financial goal? I’m getting behind Aviva’s #Planuary campaign which is encouraging women like me to commit to one change that will have a positive impact on their finances. Aviva has highlighted how the gender gap effects finances, they are giving us the information in order that we can make informed choices. We can close the gap. I am planning to revisit this pledge in a few months and give everyone an update on how much I have saved and how much I have made in my investment pot. Investing is a long game, certainly not like the popular TV programme Cleaners is demonstrating, I don’t plan to make a fortune overnight but every step I take will be closing that pension gap.
I want to be able to maintain my lifestyle in my older age, I don’t want to be reliant on a low (if any) state pension and I don’t want to be reliant on my husband. Yes, we are a team but he doesn’t need to know my every spends and I don’t want to go without either. I need to be responsible for me and I want my children to see that, especially my girls.
Can you join me in making one financial pledge that will have a positive impact on your life? I’d love to read you #planuary pledges either on social media, where you can use the hashtag and also tag me, I’m @emmaand3 everywhere! Or by leaving a comment on this blog post. I would love to then hear in a few months how you are doing? Small steps do make a difference and I am positive that I can improve my financial position. I’m going to start with popping £100 in my investment account every month.