Husbands and wives need to talk more about retirement planning and how to achieve their retirement goals, according to a new study.

The study, by Fidelity Investments, found that couples approaching and living in retirement are struggling with overall communication, planning and management of their retirement finances. Less than half of couples (41 percent) handle investment decisions for retirement savings jointly. Only 17 percen of couples are completely confident that either spouse is prepared to assume responsibility of their joint retirement finances, if necessary.

One-third (33 percent) of couples either don’t agree, or don’t know, where they plan to retire. Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of couples approaching retirement don’t agree on their expected retirement ages. Nearly half (47 percent) of couples approaching retirement don’t agree on whether they will continue to work in retirement. Three quarters (73 percent) of all couples disagree on whether or not they have completed a detailed retirement income plan.

“Millions of American couples have worked very hard to save for retirement,” said Kathleen A. Murphy, president of personal investing at Fidelity. “However, far too many don't take the time, or have the comfort level, to jointly discuss their plans for the future. To ensure alignment between spouses, and the best course of action, couples should sit down long before they retire to discuss key financial topics, such as when they plan to retire, where they want to live, whether they plan to work and what lifestyle they hope to enjoy.”

Once couples agree on their vision for retirement, Fidelity recommends that those who have not yet completed a retirement plan start the process by evaluating their essential and discretionary expenses and comparing them to anticipated sources of income, including Social Security, pensions and personal savings. Doing so will help them assess whether they are on track to meet their retirement goals.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access