Typical husbands and wives are doing little to talk about or manage retirement finances, Fidelity Investments reports.

Just 15% of couples feel confident that both spouses could assume responsibility for their joint finances if necessary, according to Fidelity, Boston.

Fidelity last commissioned a couples retirement survey two years ago.

Since then, U.S. couples hav made little progress in how they approach day-to-day finances, longer-term investing decisions and retirement planning, Fidelity says.

The new survey revealed that fewer than 50% of the husbands and wives jointly make the day-to-day financial decisions of running a household, with 45% making mutual decisions on budgeting and bill payment.

Only 38% of the couples said they jointly discuss investment decisions for retirement, and 60% disagree about the ages they will be when they retire. Moreover, 44% do not agree on whether they will work in retirement, and 42% do not see eye-to-eye about their anticipated lifestyle in retirement.

Asked whether their risk tolerance had changed as a result of the recent recession, 41% of the husbands and 54% of the wives said they now have a lower level of investment risk tolerance. In addition, 73% of the husbands and 64% of the wives reported that their reaction to the crisis was to stay the course, while 15% of the husbands and 18% of the wives reported a sense of panic and wanting to pull out of the market.

Husbands now plan to retire at age 64 and wives at age 63. Anticipated retirement ages have increased a year for both husbands and wives since 2007.

About 49% of the couples surveyed expect to have a comfortable lifestyle in retirement, but the number of couples that report having retirement plans or estate plans has fallen 10% since 2007, Fidelity says.