From the June 2007 issue of Research Magazine • Subscribe!

Study Shows Couples Split on Future Income, Advice

Call it "agreeing to disagree."

Research conducted by Fidelity Investments has found that married couples with investable assets of $100,000 and up, or household income of $75,000 and above, generally agree on which retirement products they own; however, they often differ on their plans and expectations for retirement.

In more than 30 percent of couples surveyed, or 150-plus out of 500 pairs, the spouses gave completely different answers when asked at what age they will retire, what lifestyle they expect to have in retirement and whether they plan to keep working. Less than 40 percent of the couples agreed upon their primary source of retirement income. And close to 60 percent did not give matching answers when asked to whom their partner would turn for financial guidance in the event of their death.

In terms of advisors, 22 percent of couples did not agree on whether or not they use the services of a financial advisor to help them plan for retirement. Most couples knew about their retirement savings plans. But, of those owning annuities, only about half of the spouses knew when they could draw income, and less than one-quarter of the husbands and wives understood the actual dollar amount that would be generated by their annuity during retirement.

"It was surprising to us that given how close many of these couples are to retirement, they had yet to sit down to discuss and agree on basic retirement goals, aspirations and income sources with each other," said Steven P. Akin, president of Fidelity Personal Investments. "That's why creating a retirement plan is so critical."

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In It Together?

The Fidelity Investments' recent study on couples and retirement shows:

o Less than 25% of husbands and wives work jointly on financial decision-making;

o Of the 75%-plus not working jointly, 62% percent haven't planned for the unexpected in retirement and lack life and long-term care insurance, as well as wills and estate plans.

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Janet Levaux is the managing editor of Research; reach her at jlevaux@researchmag.com.

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