Financial News

Can You Beat The Odds And Survive January?

It’s a result for many people to get to the end of January without dying or getting divorced.

The second week of January traditionally sees the most deaths in the UK – running at a rate of 81 people popping off to meet their maker every hour.

The number of UK deaths in an average week is around the 9,756 mark, but this rises by 40% to 13,670 in the grimmest week of the year.

The reasons are unclear. Bitter weather and illness, such as colds, flu and pneumonia are often blamed but statistics show fewer people die in colder countries and more in warmer climates.

Not only are the additional deaths not linked to the cold weather, socio-economic reasons also play no part.

Death knows no borders

The UK has no north-south divide for dying and death ignores the social or economic standing of victims.

January also has a reputation as the worst month for divorce.

Scrapping couples argue their way through the holidays and then rush to see a solicitor to kick off divorce proceedings.

Charity Relate reports a 24% surge in inquiries in January each year as warring partners face relationship concerns.

Research by financial firm Royal London also shows that divorce makes women poorer in retirement.

Fair divorce settlements

The study reveals that an average married couple has a pension wealth of £454,000 – more than three times the £131,000 pot of a divorced woman.

Looking at housing as well, divorced women do not balance lower pension savings with higher property wealth. On average, a married couple over 50 years old has double the equity of a divorced woman – £359,000 against £169,000 for a divorcee.

Royal London policy director Steve Webb said: ‘When couples split up there is an understandable focus on family issues and on highly visible assets such as the family home. But very often one partner will have pension rights which are less visible but can be just as valuable and people need to take expert financial advice on this crucial issue.

“For example, someone with long service in a final-salary type pension can have rights worth hundreds of thousands of pounds which can be a crucial part of a fair divorce settlement.

“Our research shows that the rules which allow for pension rights to be shared after a divorce are failing to deliver equality.  Divorced women are ending up as the poor relations when it comes to pensions wealth in later life.”

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