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By Wesleyan

Study reveals married couples' retirement money secrets

3 min
Elderly couple on hill hugging while watching family in distance

Britain’s married couples have secret savings, debts and ambitions that could lead to divorce, according to new research from Wesleyan.

Of the 2,000 married adults surveyed by Wesleyan, one in five (20%) think their partner may have secret retirement savings or can’t rule it out, while one in ten (10%) admit they have secret savings themselves.

15% think their partner may have debts that they don’t know about or can’t say for certain. And one in five (20%) admit they haven’t been honest with their partner about their retirement goals.

Wesleyan’s research also highlighted the strain that having different retirement plans can put on relationships.

One in five (20%) respondents said they would or may divorce their partner if their retirement goals were not the same.

A quarter (25%) of married couples confessed that they feel awkward asking about their spouse’s pension and savings, while 10% said they had very different views on retirement or that they avoid the topic altogether as it only leads to arguments.

Linda Wallace, Director of Wesleyan Financial Services, said: "Every day, I help couples plan for their retirement. From my experience, when it comes to things like retirement planning, not being open about your personal plans and finances with your partner can lead to trouble down the line.

"Couples may have a very different idea of what their perfect retirement looks like and pursuing those dreams should be encouraged. But without good communication and planning, they may struggle to make those dreams a reality.

"There can also be tax advantages of planning as a team. For example, you can avoid paying unnecessary tax by making the most of pension allowances and planning the order in which you access the retirement saving ‘pots’ that you have as a couple.

"And of course, there’s the emotional benefit of peace of mind."

These ‘money secrets’ come as the data reveals how many Brits just aren’t ready for retirement together; 72% say they don’t know exactly how much their partner will have in retirement, while 46% confess they don’t discuss their joint retirement plans with their spouse.

Wesleyan’s data also pointed to a worrying lack of preparedness within married couples for retirement.

46% of married adults don’t have a retirement plan in place, and 31% of couples confess they haven’t got a clue how much they will need in retirement.

Meanwhile, many aren’t making the most of available retirement planning support. 41% have never taken professional financial advice for their retirement, even though 19% believe it is something they feel they need to do.

Linda Wallace added: "Talking about retirement together is so often something that couples put off as it can be a difficult conversation to have. But thorough planning is essential and it’s never too soon to begin.

"Remember, plans don’t have to be static; they can change as your life does too. Building a solid forecast of how much you think you might need throughout your retirement years and fully understanding how much you are likely to have by the time you want to retire are good places to start.

"A financial adviser can help guide you through the process. And if retirement is an awkward or difficult conversation for you and your spouse to discuss together, a good one can be a powerful mediator for a happy outcome."

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