Couples Not on the Same Page When It Comes to Retirement

Nov 16, 2018 / Amanda Chase, Horsesmouth Assistant Editor

Married couples don’t necessarily know what the other spouse is thinking about retirement. This insight came out of a new Fidelity Investments survey that asked some 1,600 people if they knew when their significant other planned to retire. Only 43 percent answered the question correctly. This disconnect reveals just how few couples are talking about retirement, said Fidelity spokesman Ted Mitchell, who worked on the survey.

One option is to retire around the same time, and prior research has shown that roughly half of older couples do so. New research takes a more nuanced look at how couples retire and finds a more complicated picture. Mixed arrangements are common in the pre-retirement years. Perhaps one spouse continues working full-time, even though their partner has retired, or one spouse might shift down to part-time work while the other is either still in a full-time job or has already retired.

Courtney Coile at Wellesley College found that older workers partly based their retirement decisions on their own financial outlook—the more a wife can increase her pension or Social Security through additional work, the more likely she is to continue working. The same thing goes for husbands. But men, far more than women, were influenced by their wives’ financial prospects: if their wives were working longer for financial reasons, husbands—usually older—would tend to work longer too. More men in Coile’s study also reported getting enjoyment out of spending time with their spouse, giving them a good reason to work longer and retire around the same time.

You can find the full article at Squared Away Blog.

 

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