Couples Who Talk About Retirement Issues Generally Agree

October 30, 2007 ( - A new study conducted by Harris Interactive for The Wall Street Journal Online indicates men and women both feel they and their partners are on the same page about saving for retirement.

A Harris Interactive press release said 49% of men and 47% of women reported they are in agreement with their spouse or partner about the retirement issue. Couples with higher household income ($75,000 or above) are more likely than those with lower income to be in agreement about retirement savings.

Sixty-seven percent of higher income couples, versus 30% of couples with income less than $35,000 said they agreed on retirement issues. Twenty-eight percent of couples with income of $35,000 – $49.900 and 30% of couples with income of $50,000 – $74.900 reported compatibility on retirement issues.

Almost one-quarter (24%) of pre-retired adults said they have never discussed how much they need to save for retirement with their spouse/partner, according to the release. The survey found 31% of those ages 18 to 34 said they have never discussed the topic as a couple, compared with only 13% of those ages 55 and over who said the same.

Other survey findings included:

  • Retired adults say they rely most on social security (39%) and employer-based pensions (26%) to fund their retirement. By contrast, only 20% of pre-retired adults said they expect to rely primarily on social security to fund their retirement, and just 11% are most counting on an employer-based pension.
  • Younger adults (age 18-34) are more likely than older adults to plan on relying primarily on their own savings and investments to fund their retirement (44% vs. 28% for age 35-44, 28% for age 45-54 and 32% for age 55+). Younger adults (age 18-34) are also not counting on social security to fund their retirement, with only one-in-10 expecting this to be their most important source of retirement income (12% vs. 24% for age 35-44, 23% for age 45-54 and 31% for age 55+)
  • Those who are already retired are more likely to feel comfortable living on less than their pre-retired cohorts believe they will. Half (49%) of retired adults reported living comfortably on less than $50,000 per year and only 29% of pre-retired adults said they think that would be enough.
  • Nearly half of retired adults (47%) said they found their living expenses are about what they expected. However, retirees living in the Northeast are much more likely than those living in other U.S. regions to have found that their expenses are much or slightly higher than they had expected (45% vs. 32% for Midwest, 27% for South, and 26% for West).

The online survey of 2,321 U.S. adults ages 18 and over was conducted by Harris Interactive between September 4 and 6, 2007 for The Wall Street Journal Online.