Later Life

Gender pension gap seven times worse among retirees seeking mortgages

Rozi Jones
8th February 2021
Gender wage pay gap retirement income man woman money
"The gender pension gap can be as damaging as the gender pay gap, particularly when it comes to borrowing against your home."

Retirees seeking mortgages are suffering a gender pension gap that is seven times worse than the national average, according to new research by Responsible Life.

The gender pension gap is the percentage difference between pension income for men and women.

Responsible Life found that the average gender pension gap among retirees applying for a mortgage is 269.5% — compared with 40% for the population at large.

The retirement mortgage specialist says this suggests a two-speed retirement in which wealthier couples own their homes outright and can live off pension income while a more vulnerable group of retirees who still have a borrowing requirement suffer a large gender pension gap that makes it very difficult to secure loans.

More than half — 53.5% — of retired couples making a mortgage application have a gender pension gap of more than 100%, according to the research, and the worst gap that Responsible Life came across was a staggering 4,433%.

Steve Wilkie, executive chairman of Responsible Life, said: “The gender pension gap can be as damaging as the gender pay gap, particularly when it comes to borrowing against your home. That problem worsens the older you get, until couples unexpectedly find themselves unable to borrow what they think they can afford because sole survivorship suddenly becomes the dominating factor for lenders.

“Most studies on the gender pension gap focus on the average statistics between men and women or all ages but this analysis looks at the consequences of this problem for those at an age when it can be really damaging.

“As couples approach retirement, providers become less willing to lend. They are almost always reluctant to accept the sale of the property as a valid repayment plan should the mortgage payments become too much of a burden or unexpected costs including care costs begin to eat into their ability to pay.”

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