Kate Starkey, Cheltenham Maman, on pensions

Written by Rebecca O'Connor on 11th Sep 2018

Hundreds of thousands of women choose a part-time, self-employed life to be around for their children. One of the many sacrifices they make to do so is often their own retirement savings. But with a pension pot for a “comfortable” retirement at £210,000 per couple, according to Which?, this is a compromise too far.

Good With Money, in partnership with PensionBee and some of the UK’s top Mum bloggers including Clemmie Telford, Mother of All Lists, has launched a campaign to encourage Mums who do not have a current pension of any kind, to think about their own futures too and start saving as much as they can.


Here’s what Kate Starkey, the blogger behind Cheltenham Maman, said when Good With Money asked her a few candid questions…

And just so you know you can see how much saving a bit now can generate for you in retirement by having an experiment with this calculator

Kate Starkey, Cheltenham Maman

Did you know you need a £210k retirement pot to generate a basic income in retirement?

My Dad is an accountant and my husband works in corporate pensions so I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have any idea that the saving for a basic income was significant but I hadn’t ever given too much thought to what the actual figure was. In my head I don’t picture myself having a ‘basic retirement’ either. I’ve worked pretty hard so far as an adult I’d like to think I could afford one or two luxuries so in fact I’m sure the number I should be aspiring to is much higher!

Have you got a pension?

I worked in the NHS for ten years and one of the most significant perks of this is the pension I accrued during this time. The NHS offers one of the best employee pensions out there with a very generous employer contribution. When I became self employed, I gave myself a year to build up enough of an income to allow for pension contributions but even that has been hard. I now contribute to a NEST pension that I have set up myself and pay in both an employer’s and employee’s sum from my company. I’m not contributing very much though and I’m very aware, particularly after reading these statistics that I need to save more.

If so, do you know how much your total pension pot is currently worth?

I have no idea. I do worry about my NHS pension as it will sit there now until I retire so I should get some kind go find statement from them so I know what’s what.

And do you know how much it will be worth when you retire?

No but it’s now on my to do list to find out.

Do you worry about not having enough money when you retire?

Yes definitely. I don’t feel like a state pension is something that people of my generation should rely on to boost their own pensions. I worry that I might be a burden on my children and I worry that I will need to continue to work longer than I’d like to be able to afford the odd holiday here or there or to help my children to get on the property ladder.

How much of a priority is it for you?

It is a priority but for some reason not one I have so far been very good at addressing. I’m 37 now – by the time I’m 40 I would like to be on track to a pension pot for a comfortable retirement and I’m now committed to sitting down, taking a look at the information available and if needs be getting some advice, to make that happen.

If you don’t have a pension pot or a very small one, can you describe how this makes you feel?

I would feel very vulnerable. I see my older years as a time to relax, spend quality time with my family, travel and to enjoy a slower pace of life without worrying about how to pay my electricity bill or scrimping on my food shop.

If you do not have a pension pot or a very small one, do you anticipate you will live off your husband or partner’s pension?

If I’m honest – I think this may be part of the problem. My husband has a good pension and quite possibly (even though I don’t know any of his crucial numbers and what they would mean for me) this has given me a sort of mental security blanket which probably isn’t nearly as secure as I’ve pictured.

Can you afford to save, say, £100 into a pension a month?

If you were to ask me to give you £100 cash for my pension this instant I’d have a whole heap of excuses as to why I couldn’t give you that. However if I look at this slightly differently it actually wouldn’t be impossible. It’s an extra bit of work combined with the tightening of my belt in one other area of my life – my shopping habit for example. It wouldn’t be easy to save that sort of figure but it also wouldn’t be impossible.

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