A happy couple

Retirees who are married or living with a significant other have fewer financial regrets than those who are single, Global Atlantic Financial Group reported Monday.

Sixty-four percent of single retirees in a survey said they had retirement planning regrets, compared with 49% of retirees in relationships. Forty-five percent of singles regretted not having saved enough money, and 28% fretted about relying too much on Social Security, compared with 30% and 15% of those in relationships.

The data came from Global Atlantic’s retirement spending study, released in December.

Echo Research, a global market analytics firm, conducted the online survey in mid-September among 4,223 participants, half retirees and half non-retirees. The study included an oversample of the 10 most populous states, though not including North Carolina because of effects of Hurricane Florence on the state.

“The findings may speak to the human tendency to want to plan better when the well-being of a loved one is involved,” Paula Nelson, president of Global Atlantic’s retirement division, said in a statement.

“Regardless of relationship status, individuals who are saving for retirement would benefit from working closely with financial advisors to assess their retirement income needs and consider different strategies for generating that income.”

The data suggest that retirees in relationships have more diverse income streams than single retirees. Twenty-four percent of retirees in the survey who were married or cohabiting reported having an annuity, compared with just 15% of single retirees. They were also likelier than their single counterparts to collect income from these sources:

  • Pension plans – 50% vs. 34%
  • 401(k)s or other defined contribution plans – 33% vs. 17%
  • Investment portfolios – 39% vs. 19%
  • Savings accounts – 58% vs. 42%

The survey found that partnered retirees benefited from diverse income streams in being likelier than singles to maintain their lifestyles, with fewer cutbacks on discretionary expenses during retirement, such as restaurants and entertainment, travel and vacations, charitable giving and housing.

“While those in relationships may have some financial advantages, single people can absolutely thrive in retirement,” Nelson said. “They can mitigate the risk of facing financial regrets by diversifying their income streams.”

She noted, for example, that annuities add protected income streams that retirees can collect for the rest of their lives.

— Related on ThinkAdvisor: