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Couples risk retirement by avoiding financial planning

Kit Klarenberg
Written By:
Kit Klarenberg

Britain’s couples are putting their plans for a comfortable retirement at risk by avoiding talking to each other about their finances, according to Prudential research.

The insurer found 20 per cent of couples over the age of 40 have never discussed financial planning for retirement, while 63 per cent say they have never met as a couple with a professional financial adviser to discuss retirement planning.

Nearly half of couples (49 per cent) have no idea about the level of retirement income they can expect when they stop working, while 27 per cent do not know how much money their partner has in pension savings.

The research also suggests many couples run the risk of surviving partners facing financial difficulties if the worst should happen. Just two in five (42 per cent) have made arrangements for one partner to continue to receive an income in retirement should the other die. A further 15 per cent say that one partner has made a will but no further arrangements regarding a continuing income, and 12 per cent have never discussed leaving an income in retirement for each other.

Women are most at risk of being left without an income with 19 per cent relying on their spouse or the State Pension in retirement, compared with eight per cent of men. Only 34 per cent of respondents said their retirement income will continue to be paid to their partner if they die.

Despite the pension freedom reforms having made it easier for savers to pass on their pension pot to nominated individuals after death, 67 per cent of couples have never discussed their finances with their wider family.

Kirsty Anderson, retirement income expert at Prudential, said: “Financial planning for retirement is the most important step in making sure couples spend their years after work happy and comfortable. However, it seems many couples are putting the retirements they’re looking forward to at risk by shying away from conversations about their finances.

“Keeping quiet about financial planning for the future can impact retirement income in many ways. For example, couples may not take advantage of the maximum possible tax relief on pension savings, could have unrealistic expectations of what their savings will be worth, or could be sleep walking into a situation where one partner is left with no income at all.

“Most couples, whether they’re just starting out with their planning for the future or whether they’re in the run up to retirement, will benefit hugely from a joint consultation with a professional financial adviser about their pension saving and retirement income options.”