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Couples Differ on Retirement Plans

Survey finds many disagree on how much to save and don't know when partner intends to stop working

Mature couple smiling and looking at a laptop together

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For many couples there’s a disconnect on some of the finer points about the end of their working lives, according to a recent survey, with about 2 in 5 disagreeing about their partner’s expected retirement age and more than half diverging on the issue of how much needs to be saved for the golden years.

The Fidelity Investments “Couples and Money” survey dug in to a variety of issues.

With answers broken down by age bracket, millennial couples had the biggest disconnect with each other over retirement plans, with 51 percent not knowing when their partner expects to stop working. As traditional retirement years approach, the rates fell — to 44 percent for Gen Xers and 33 percent for boomers.


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There was also division over debt that is brought into the relationship. About half of couples “contradict each other on whose responsibility it is to pay off that debt.” Grouped by age, the numbers are 45 percent for millennials, 47 percent for Gen Xers and 51 percent for boomers.

But while there was evidence that a majority of couples aren’t entirely in unison about debt and retirement plans, there was general agreement on several topics. More than 80 percent among all age groups said they would rather have their spouse work in a job that leaves them happy but with modest pay than one that “stresses them out but brings in big bucks.” What's more, only about 20 percent disagree about where “important financial and legal papers are located.” The rate is higher for millennials (26 percent) than for Gen Xers (24 percent) and boomers (17 percent).

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