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More than 2m couples hold-off awkward financial conversations

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30/11/2012
A fear of awkward financial conversations is driving British couples to put off talking about the state of their personal finances, according to a new report.

One in seven couples over the age of 40 admits that they have never discussed their finances with each other. This is around 4.22m people in the UK.

15% of those surveyed said that they feel uncomfortable talking to their partners about financial planning.

Vince Smith-Hughes, retirement expert at Prudential said: “Money can be a tough topic to discuss at the best of times.

“Many couples prefer to steer clear of conversations about finances, and especially discussions about longer-term issues like retirement which might feel light-years away.

“Yet it really pays to be honest about your financial situation. Being open about discussing long-term financial planning as early as possible will help couples to ensure they can enjoy a comfortable retirement together.”

Only household chores (27%) and disputes about family (30%) are more likely to cause disagreements.

Even for the majority of couples who do discuss their retirement plans, long-term issues are likely to be side-lined, as short-term everyday expenses take priority.

According to Prudential, daily living costs and household bills are regularly discussed by the majority of couples (60 per cent and 52 per cent respectively), and one in three couples (34 per cent) speak about the costs of home improvements, large purchases and luxuries.

Discussions about long-term planning are far not as often discussed, with only 16% of couples claiming to regularly talk about retirement income and pension planning.

Only three per cent of couples claim they have had conversations about inheritance planning and tax.

Only 13% of respondents said they had seen a financial adviser with their partners in the past five years.

A further 13% say they or their partner has seen an adviser separately within this timeframe and 8 per cent have seen an adviser but not within the past five years.

The vast majority (66 per cent) have never seen a financial adviser to discuss retirement planning.

Vince Smith-Hughes added: “Websites like www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk/ and www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/ can help with some in-depth information about retirement options.

“A joint conversation with a financial adviser should help couples to make the right pension savings decisions during their working lives, so that they’ll have the right income to support their lifestyles in retirement.”

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