(Bloomberg Business) — It’s high season for nuptials, and newlyweds-to-be are more focused on wedding plans than retirement plans. Fair enough. But there’s another important vow for new husbands to consider post-honeymoon: Thou shalt look to thy wife to drive retirement planning.
If that sound sexist—it’s not. In many cases, it’s just smart financial planning given a few key retirement facts:The stakes are highest for women.
From a practical standpoint, the “till death do us part” wedding vow often has a brutal coda: “Until, I, your husband, die first.” Fifty-two percent of women between the ages of 75 and 84 are widowed, compared to 17 percent of men, according to the Society of Actuaries. Among the 65-to-74 crowds, 26 percent of women are widowed, and 8 percent of men have lost their spouse.
With women most likely to need their retirement income to last the longest, it makes a lot of sense for them to head a couple’s retirement planning. David Littell, director of retirement income planning at The American College, says a common lament he hears from advisers is that couples don’t think through strategies that will provide the most security for the surviving spouse.