February 28, 2024

Bucks: Singles Less Prepared for Retirement, Survey Shows


Even though most Americans seem to think it’s easier for single people to plan for retirement, unmarried people tend to be less prepared financially for life after full-time work, according to a quarterly survey from Charles Schwab Company.

More than half of married Americans, and more than two-thirds of singles, say they believe it is easier to make major financial decisions for retirement when there is no spouse in the picture, the survey found. (The telephone survey of 2,000 adults was conducted in August by Kelton Research, using random-digit dialing of listed and unlisted numbers.)

But that perception isn’t necessarily reality. The survey also found that 85 percent of married Americans were saving for retirement, compared with 67 percent of singles, across all age groups. Thirty-eight percent of married Americans expressed confidence in their retirement readiness, compared with 32 percent of those who were single. The findings come at a time when census data shows the number of single adults is at a historical high in the United States.

It appears, says Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, senior vice president of Charles Schwab, that people consider it easier to make financial decisions without having to take into account someone else’s viewpoint and wishes. And it’s true, she says, that coming to terms about savings and planning “tends to require some level of compromise. And compromise is tough.”

But the survey also showed that there can be plenty of drawbacks to retirement planning without a spouse. Nearly two-thirds of married people, and 57 percent of singles, say that not having a spouse’s additional income or investments as a safety net could be a challenge.

So, while everyone wishes they didn’t have to compromise, a spouse is also a sort of “buddy system,” in terms of staying on track for savings, Ms. Schwab-Pomerantz said. If one person tends to be a spender, a spouse who has the opposite tendency may help the couple stay on track toward savings goals. “I think two heads are better than one, in this particular case,” she said.

Still, more than a quarter of married respondents say their financial confidante is someone other than their spouse, the survey revealed. (That’s not surprising, since previous studies suggest many people lie to their spouses about money).

Do you think your marital status affects your ability to meet your financial goals? Do you discuss finances first with someone other than your spouse?

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=95157173c7f045d8ff180707908796b7

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