Marrieds think singles have it made when planning for retirement

Reality is far different; more married couples are saving

Sep 13, 2011 @ 3:38 pm

By Lavonne Kuykendall

Ever call your spouse “the old ball and chain?” If so, you may be on to something.

Having a spouse apparently is a real drag when it comes to making retirement decisions, such as how much to save and where to live, according to a survey of married and single adults.

Just over half, 53%, of the married respondents thinks that planning for retirement would be easier if they were single, according to the survey, conducted by the Charles Schwab & Co. Inc.

Even more telling: 69% of singles agree with them.

Schwab conducted 2,000 telephone interviews in August to get an idea of the views of single and married adults on retirement planning. Although adults generally think singles had some advantages, the reality is much different, according to the survey.

“At a time when the number of single adults is at a historical high in our country, our survey shows that this group has ground to make up in terms of retirement readiness,” senior vice president Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz said in a statement.

While marrieds think singles have some advantages, the singles don't seem to be taking advantage of them. Eighty-five percent of the married adults said they were saving for retirement against only 67% of singles. A majority of singles, 57%, agreed that not having a spouse's additional income “could be a challenge.” More than one third (38%) of married adults say they are confident about their retirement readiness, against 32% of singles.

That said, married couples clearly see the grass as being a bit greener on the single side, and 58% of married adults said it would be easier for them to decide when to retire without having to take their spouse into consideration. Another 62% said that deciding where to live in retirement would be easier if they were single. Over one-fourth (27%) of married adults say their spouse isn't even their financial confidant. Singles keep it closer to home, with 55% saying they turn to close family members for financial advice.

A little less than half (47%) of the singles saw a disadvantage in not having a spouse to rely on for health insurance or long-term care, while 58% of married adults thought that would be a challenge for a single.

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