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Older women are marrying for money

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For richer for poorer, in sickness and… who cares? If a survey published this week is anything to go by, it’s the richer bit that is increasingly beginning to concern women who decide to marry or re-marry later in life.

According to the Daily Mail these women are the “pension pot gold-diggers,” the nearly 25 per cent of midlife females who admitted to pollsters Opinium that money was a key reason in their decision to tie the knot, rather than co-habit.

Forty-five per-cent of the 1,000 women aged 55 plus who were polled in June for Investec Wealth & Investment said their biggest financial consideration in deciding to walk up the aisle was the automatic right to a husband’s pension pot if they either split up or were widowed.

Their second most important financial consideration was guaranteed inheritance rights, cited by just over a third of the women asked.

The image conjured up is of hard-working men innocently falling prey to grasping harpies who only care about their net financial worth.

But I suspect that what’s really going on here is even more unpalatable.

What this survey seems to show is that in 2017 women are, out of perceived financial necessity, making the kind of decisions their mothers may have had to make in 1957. In short, relying on a man to secure their financial future.

Given everything that’s happened, why wouldn’t they?
Because of part-time work, because of the credit-crunch—which disproportionately affected women—and because of the gender pay gap, which means that women are still paid 18 per cent less than men for doing the same type of work, too many women appear to be facing financial futures that are very bleak indeed.

We’ve seen the plight of the WASPI Women (Women Against State Pension Inequality)—our older friends or sisters thrown into fiscal limbo by governments that only like a one-way equality street: one in which women’s retirement ages have been hoicked up to match those of men.

Nothing wrong with that. But with no consideration for how these women are going to exist for up to six long years before the state pension they thought they were going to receive drops into their bank account, it’s produced a dire situation for some.

We’re also the generation who’s been forced out of the final salary pension scheme onto the delights of the defined contribution—which means that while we’re told what we have to put in, most of us don’t have a clue what we might get out.

We’re the generation who often went to work, had our kids, and were then forced onto part-time hours, because there was such a dearth of good quality care available at a price we could afford.

And if we were unlucky enough to find ourselves divorced or widowed it is our generation who are now discovering, via the gloom-ridden letters from our pension company, just what the realities of a life-long gender pay gap will have on our retirement income.

We are paying in to comedy pensions with joke payouts
Add to this the grim effects of the 2008 recession on the job opportunities and incomes of women and the picture becomes clearer still—many of us are stuffed.

We are paying in to comedy pensions with joke payouts and that’s those of us fortunate enough to have even started one.

No wonder, then, that money is considered more highly than it might be when it comes to midlife marriage.

One friend who is returning to dating after a financially bruising divorce says that whilst kindness, being great company and being fun to be around are the most important qualities in the new man she’s looking for, “solvency” is part of the equation, too.

Other friends—happily married or living with partners—have admitted that when the time comes they will be relying heavily on their other half’s pension, even though they have one of their own and intend to work as long as possible.

How on earth have we got to 2017 with large numbers of women from the feminist generation apparently feeling that the only way to gain financial security for their future is to marry a man with a pension? It’s not a pretty picture. In fact, it’s an acutely shameful one.

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Tags: UK, older women
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