Couples who plan together have better retirement prospects

Making future financial plans together improves couples’ retirement income prospects, according to research from Hargreaves Lansdown (HL).

Roughly one in two couples who planned together, rather than separately, could expect a moderate retirement income, the firm said.

Almost half (49 per cent) of couples who worked together to plan for retirements were on track for a moderate income, but this fell to 40 per cent for those who planned separately, and to41 per cent where one partner made all financial decisions.

A moderate income is defined as an income of £23,300 for a single person and £34,000 for a couple, according to the Pension and Lifetime Savings Association’s Retirement Income Standards.

By making use of both partners’ tax allowances, maximising pensions contributions, and using other savings limits such as Lifetime ISAs, couples are able to build a more robust financial plan for retirement, HL said.

HL head of retirement analysis, Helen Morrissey, said: “Putting a plan in place that works for you both ensures both parties know what their financial goals are and can work together to achieve them.

"Added to this, the financial burden of planning as a couple is not as onerous as it is if you are single as you will be sharing big costs such as energy, food and housing.”

But planning ahead does not mean assuming you will necessarily grow old with your partner, Morrissey said, as she urged savers to consider all potential outcomes, including divorce further down the line, even though it might seem “unromantic”.

“If your partner has a very generous pension, it is tempting to think you don’t need one yourself and this could work out fine if you stay together,” she said.

“However, if you were to split up you could find yourself approaching retirement with little, if any retirement provision. It may feel very unromantic to think this way when you are in a happy relationship but the prospect of a retirement where you are struggling to make ends meet is an even less pleasant prospect.”

Failing to make use of both partners’ personal tax allowance of up to £12,570 could see couples losing out in retirement, too. “It makes sense to use both allowances than potentially have one partner paying higher rate tax and the other none,” she said.

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