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Older Couples More Likely to Talk About Investments

A survey finds that they don’t like their partners to fly solo financially

A couple looks at financial documents

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Nearly two-thirds of investors age 55 and older like to get input on their investment decisions from a spouse or partner, the survey found.

Older investors are more likely than younger generations to discuss investment decisions with a spouse or partner, or to share equal responsibility for choices of how to invest, and they’re the most uncomfortable with making investing moves without such input.

Those are among the findings of a new poll of online investors released by brokerage and financial services firm E*TRADE Financial, which surveyed 923 self-directed investors who manage at least $10,000 in an online brokerage account.

The survey found that nearly two-thirds of investors age 55 and older liked to get at least some input on their investment decisions from a spouse or partner. Forty-four percent discussed market moves with their significant other, though they made the final decision themselves. Another 20 percent said that they shared responsibility for investments equally with their partners. Only 34 percent said that they were solely responsible for their investment decisions.

Those responses contrast with those of millennial investors, fewer than half of whom consult with their partners when making investments. Slightly more than half of Gen-X investors talk things over with their partners or give them some say.

Most older investors also seem to expect disclosure from their partners. Twenty-five percent said they were "very uncomfortable" and 33 percent "somewhat uncomfortable" with their partners making investing decisions without their input. Twenty-nine percent said they were "somewhat comfortable" with partners making moves on their own, while 13 percent said they were "very comfortable" if they don’t get a say.

Mike Loewengart, vice president of Investment Strategy at E*TRADE, said in a press release that working together “produces many tangible long-term benefits, which is likely not lost on older generations who know that sharing objectives and aligning investment strategies can pay serious dividends down the road.”