Rising Women's earnings shave nine months off the wait for their millionaire payday

28 May 2015

  • A woman on average income will be over 69 years old before banking £1 million in total earnings – 19 years older than a man on average wages
  • The average worker earns their first million before they are 56 years and six months old, paying £212,300 in tax and national insurance
  • A worker saving 5 per cent into a pension receives pension tax relief of £10,000 on their £1 million earnings

Rising incomes for women mean that over the course of the last year they have shaved on average nine months off the age they will be when they reach £1 million in lifetime earnings.

Prudential has analysed the latest release of the ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings1, and found that a woman earning the average wage for her age over the course of her career will need to work until she is 69 years and seven months old to earn a total of £1 million. However, the figure is moving in the right direction, as last year the average woman needed to work until they were 70 years and five months old, and in 2012 a woman would have had to work until she was nearly 72 years and six months old to bank her first million.

The latest figures also show that a man earning the average income for his age throughout his working life will hit the million pound milestone at just over 50 years and eight months old. While women appear to be seeing the benefits of rising incomes in this year’s results, men are banking their first million only a week earlier than they did in last year’s analysis.

Despite the large gap of almost 19 years between the amount of time it takes women and men to reach £1 million in career earnings, the fact it is reducing could explain why confidence about retirement incomes is returning among women about to give up work. Prudential’s Class of 2015 research has recently revealed that the expected annual retirement income of £14,300 for women retiring this year is the highest in the eight-year history of the study.

Stan Russell, a retirement expert at Prudential, said: "Earning £1 million in a lifetime may seem improbable to most people when they start out on the career ladder, but with steadily increasing earnings and longer working lives it is a milestone that is becoming more achievable.

“However, even in the early years of work the decisions made about saving and spending can have a big effect on finances later in life. The message is simple, for the best possible retirement income it’s important to save as much as you can afford from as early as possible in your career.”

The average worker, covering both men and women, will be nearly 56 and a half years old by the time they’ll have banked their first million and they will pay more than £212,300 in tax and national insurance; women will pay £51,400 less than men, as a result of the earnings gap between the genders.

Stan Russell continued: “When viewed in the context of a lifetime’s total earnings, the amount of tax we’ll pay on our first million is a frightening amount. But by making a five per cent annual contribution into a pension fund throughout their career, the average worker could reduce their tax bill by £10,000. And of course, most people paying into a workplace pension will have the added benefit of employer contributions going into their retirement fund.”

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