Couples Spend Too Little Time Talking About Money

Half of couples over the age of 40 have failed to make any financial provision for their partners should they die, according to a new survey.

Only 42% of couples aged over 40 have arranged their financial affairs to make sure their partner continues to receive an income should they die.

Sadly, 20% of women have no savings and will have to survive on money left by their partner should he die, while only 2% of men would depend on money left by their female partner.

Just over half of couples (53%) have discussed how their partner’s death would affect their finances and lifestyle, according to the report Couples’ Conversations, compiled by pension provider Prudential.

The study also reveals that the attitude to death and money differs depending on which part of the country a couple lives in.

No arrangements

For instance, two-thirds of couples in the North East admit they have made no financial arrangements for when one partner dies, while in the East, three-quarters of couples say they have discussed the possibility and made some arrangements to provide for the surviving partner.

The research also put how couples save for retirement under the microscope and found that just 20% have shared pensions, while two-thirds have individual savings.

Only 10% have made a will as part of their financial planning.

Vince Smith-Hughes, retirement income expert at Prudential, said: “Couples tend to focus on the wrong issues when they consider retirement. Rather than think about their finances, they like to think about how they will spend their extra time together.

Financially dependent

“While this is important, they should really talk about their finances and what happens if one outlives the other, as this has some inevitability about it.

“Those women and a few men who are financially dependent on their partners really need to have this conversation if they want to have the most comfortable retirement that they can afford.”

Smith-Hughes also explained that forthcoming changes to the way savers can draw and spend their pensions from April 2015 will have a big impact on how pensions are managed.

“The new rules will give everyone more choices, so it’s important that couples talk about their savings and how to make the most of them,” he said.