Top Retirement Planning Tips for Married Couples

How to ensure you get what you should be entitled to and make the most of your retirement savings

It may not seem like a grand gesture, but making sure your partner is financially comfortable in retirement goes a long way towards safeguarding your future happiness together.

In the UK, in common with many countries, the pension pay gap remains significant, with 33 per cent of men expected to retire with just the state pension (67 per cent have other pension provision) compared to 53 per cent of women (only 47 per cent have other pension provision), meaning many wives are reliant on their husband’s pensions. Research has shown that in the UK men have an average pension pot of £73,600 compared to women with only £24,900.

There is no better time than now for married couples to review their retirement plans, to make sure they make the most of their combined assets.

Here are our top pension tips for married couples:

Take the time to sit down and talk

Planning for retirement is a joint activity, you plan your holidays together and retirement will be your longest holiday.

First, agree when you will retire, work out what you want to do, where you will be and how much you will need to cover the bills and your ideal amount of disposable income.

Remember, you will no longer be paying some things, such as commuting costs or savings contributions and it is likely that you will own your home outright. You should also consider the things you will want to do in retirement that you don’t have the time for now.

Make the most of your personal tax allowances

Everyone has a personal allowance, which is the level of income that you can have before paying tax. To take full advantage of this it is vital for both partners to have separate retirement income, otherwise you might end up paying more tax than necessary.

Ensure you have enough national insurance credits

For those reaching state pension age after 6 April 2016, your State Pension is based solely on your own record and you can no longer inherit your spouse’s pension after they are gone.

The full state pension is £159.55 per week for those who have 35 years of National Insurance Contributions. If you have had a break in your payments and will not make the 35 years, you can make voluntary contributions.

Voluntary National Insurance Contributions can be complicated and you should speak to your AAM Financial Planner to find out how you can maximise your pensions.

Provide a pension for your partner

Even if one of you is not working, you can still set up retirement savings for each of you, that the earning spouse pays into.

This will make sure that you both have savings to fund your retirement.

Make sure that you have the right pension for you

Not all pensions are the same. Some are more expensive than others and some will only pay a much-reduced pension to your Spouse after you are gone.

Ian Black, Head of Financial Planning and Wealth Solutions at AAM, commented “Whilst it is natural to assume that your loved one will be looked after by your pension if you pass away, I have seen many cases where a Spouse will get nothing if you die before you retire, and would suffer a major reduction in income if you die after retirement. To make matters worse, many people today do not marry and unmarried partners often get nothing at any time!”

It is important to have a clear picture of what your pensions are likely to provide and what would happen if you pass away, before or after you retire.

Take advantage of the AAM UK Pension Audit Service to ensure that you have the Optimum Pension for your retirement plans, and find out whether you are on track for the retirement you are planning.

To find out more speak to your AAM Financial Planner or email

Ian Black
Head of Financial Planning & Wealth Solutions
AAM Advisory


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