Husbands and wives have vastly different expectations for their retirement years, Fidelity Investments found though a survey of 500 couples born between 1937 and 1964. While they tend to agree on which investments to own, they plan to retire at different ages, have different views about what will be their primary source of income, how long they will remain in the workforce and what kind of lifestyle they will lead.
While couples agreed that workplace savings plans, pensions and Social Security will be their primary source of income during retirement, they were at odds on which would be top of the list.
Fifty-eight percent of couples couldn’t agree on who each would turn to for financial advice in the event of their death, and 22% couldn’t agree on whether to use a financial advisor to help plan for 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. It helps husbands and wives address those tough but basic planning questions that can dramatically alter a couple’s retirement savings strategy.”
But the disparity in outlook shouldn’t come as a surprise, as only 23% said they jointly oversee their finances.
As to their level of knowledge about investment products, they generally had a good grasp on workplace plans, bank accounts and individual retirement accounts, but not so much on annuities, brokerage accounts and pensions. For instance, among those who own annuities, only about half knew when they would be able to draw down income from them and less than one-quarter knew how much income their annuity will generate for them in retirement.
Among couples where both people have pensions, nearly 70% of both men and women knew when they would be able to draw from their own pension, but only 60% of men and 37% of women said they knew when they would be able to draw from their spouse’s pension.
Ninety percent of couples agreed on their ownership of life insurance policies, but 40% had different ideas about what those policies cover.
As for Social Security, women tended to have a better understanding of when a surviving spouse could receive benefits and how much, but both husbands and wives weren’t entirely clear on benefits.
“It’s important in preparing for retirement to fully understand the specifics around your guaranteed income sources, and what this study shows is that there’s still significant confusion around pension, Social Security and annuity benefits,” said Jon J. Skillman, president of Fidelity Investments Life Insurance.
Asked about what financial issues concern them the most about retirement, 70% agreed that healthcare is a concern, and 47% said it is their biggest concern, but only 23% said they had bought long-term care insurance or a similar product to allay these concerns. Other issues they cited were inflation and reduced Social Security benefits.