Women’s earnings rise to new levels but still lag behind men to hit millionaire payday

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Prudential has analysed the latest release of the ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, 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.

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.

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.

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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