Teamwork Makes The Dream Work

Coupled Parents Increasingly Working Together To Manage Finances

Amid a year of weighty disruptions

A new study from E*Trade Financial Holdings investigated how couples have managed their investment decisions through the pandemic.

ARLINGTON, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–E*TRADE Financial Holdings, LLC today announced results from the most recent wave of StreetWise, the E*TRADE quarterly tracking study of experienced investors. As Valentine’s Day approaches, the study looked at how parents with a partner or spouse have managed their financial decisions amid a year of disruptions:

  • More parents value a helping hand from their spouse. Over four out of five coupled parents (82%) say their spouse is helpful when it comes to financial decision-making, up 7 percentage points from last year.


  • More have opened lines of communication. Over half of parents who share investing decisions with a partner (55%) say they discuss investing with them frequently, up 6 percentage points from last year.
  • Regret over lone decision-making increased. Over two in five coupled parents (43%) said they feel guilty after making a financial decision without telling their partner, increasing 4 percentage points from last year.
  • Coupled parents are less okay handing over the reins on investment decision-making. While the majority (70%) are comfortable with their spouse making a financial decision without their input, the population ticked down 5 percentage points from last year.

“In unpredictable and chaotic times like we’ve experienced recently, it is encouraging to see parents working together,” said Mike Loewengart, Managing Director of Investment Strategy at E*TRADE Financial. “Even in the most predictable of times, parents must build towards a myriad of financial needs for today and tomorrow—including everyday expenses, saving for education, housing, and retiring someday, just to name a few. Successful financial planning in today’s environment can only come from working together and communicating often about goals, priorities, and their combined risk tolerance.”

Mr. Loewengart provided additional steps that parents may consider in planning for their family’s future:

  • Surprise expenses abound—plan ahead. If the pandemic has taught us anything it’s to expect the unexpected, and children can add to unforeseen expenses. Saving a little each week in an emergency fund can help ease the burden—three to six months of living expenses is a solid goal.
  • Begin saving for education now. Funding a dedicated education account like a Coverdell Education Savings Account for children at a young age can help when the time comes and can potentially provide some tax advantages. Further, the power of compounding can be a tremendous asset for those with a long-term horizon.
  • Keep retirement saving on track. Retirement doesn’t have to take a backseat to meeting the financial needs of today. It’s natural for parents to focus their resources on their children, but they can help their children’s financial futures when they create a solid financial foundation for themselves. Take advantage of your company’s retirement plan and matching contributions, if offered. If not available, explore other tax-advantaged accounts like IRAs.

E*TRADE aims to enhance the financial independence of traders and investors through a powerful digital offering and professional guidance.




About the Survey
This wave of the survey was conducted from January 1 to January 7 of 2021 among an online US sample of 904 self-directed active investors, of which 153 are parents with a partner or spouse who split investing decisions, who manage at least $10,000 in an online brokerage account. The survey has a margin of error of ±3.20 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. It was fielded and administered by Dynata. The panel is broken into thirds of active (trade more than once a week), swing (trade less than once a week but more than once a month), and passive (trade less than once a month). The panel is 60% male and 40% female, with an even distribution across online brokerages, geographic regions, and age bands.
About E*TRADE Financial Holdings, LLC and Important Notices
E*TRADE Financial Holdings, LLC and its subsidiaries provide financial services including brokerage and banking products and services to retail customers. Securities products and services are offered by E*TRADE Securities LLC (Member SIPC). Commodity futures and options on futures products and services are offered by E*TRADE Futures LLC (Member NFA). Managed Account Solutions are offered through E*TRADE Capital Management, LLC, a Registered Investment Adviser. Bank products and services are offered by E*TRADE Bank, and RIA custody solutions are offered by E*TRADE Savings Bank, both of which are national federal savings banks (Members FDIC). More information is available at