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Female divorcees face funding crisis

Middle-aged women divorcees are facing a retirement funding crisis, according to a report from Norwich Union Equity Release.

Just 4 per cent of the 440 divorced women aged over 50 surveyed in the report got any of their ex-husband’s pension fund after divorce or separation despite recent legislation giving women a better deal on pension-splitting.

The report, entitled Asset Rich, Cash Poor, finds that 77 per cent of women realise the difficulty of surviving on the current state pension but are not in a position to save money for an adequate pension fund of their own.

But many women over 50 are asset-rich, with almost half owning their home outright either alone or with their partners and women are also more likely than men to be awarded the house in a div- orce settlement.

The survey shows that 29 per cent of 50-54-year-old women say they are relying on their property as a means of generating income in retirement.

It argues that these problems are made worse by a divorce rate among the over-50s which has risen by 50 per cent in the last 20 years, meaning that one in seven women in that age group is divorced, and by the fact that women have a greater life expectancy than men.

Head of marketing Nigel Spencer says: “Women are inc-reasingly becoming the poorer sex when it comes to retirement and it is worrying to see this problem compounded due to rising divorce rates among the over-50s.

“Many women have sacrificed careers, and therefore their own pension, to raise their family and as a result are being unfairly punished.”

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