Being Part of a Couple Can Improve Retirement Experience

Retirees who are married or cohabiting report fewer planning regrets, more diverse sources of income and fewer cut backs on discretionary spending.

New data from Global Atlantic Financial Group’s Retirement Spending Study shows that retirees who are married or living with a significant other have fewer financial regrets than those who are single.


While two out of three single retirees (64%) report having retirement planning regrets, fewer than half of retirees in relationships (49%) do. Nearly half (45%) of single retirees regret that they did not save enough money (compared to 30% of those in relationships). Nearly three in ten retired singles (28%) regret relying too much on Social Security (compared to 15% of those in relationships).


One differentiating factor is that retirees in relationships appear to have more diverse income streams than single retirees. One in four (24%) retirees who are married or cohabiting reports having an annuity, compared to only 15% of single retirees. Those who are married or cohabiting are also more likely to collect income from pension plans (50% vs. 34%); 401(k)s or other defined contribution (DC) plans (33% vs. 17%); investment portfolios (39% vs. 19%); and savings accounts (58% vs. 42%).


The survey found that retirees in relationships are more likely to maintain their lifestyles, with fewer cut backs on discretionary expenses during retirement, such as:

  • Restaurants and entertainment (39% of couples cutting back vs. 56% of singles);
  • Travel and vacations (33% vs. 43%);
  • Charitable giving (23% vs. 28%); and
  • Housing (14% vs. 33%).


“Regardless of relationship status, individuals who are saving for retirement would benefit from working closely with financial advisers to assess their retirement income needs and consider different strategies for generating that income,” said Paula Nelson, president, Retirement at Global Atlantic.