Marriage & Money: A True Valentine

ING U.S. Study Underscores Importance of Making a Long-Term Commitment to Retirement Readiness

A new ING Marriage and Money research report demonstrates notable differences in retirement readiness based on marital status, with married individuals achieving higher savings and confidence levels.  In addition, separate ING study results (from the summer 2012 Insurance Revealed study) finds that couples are apt to avoid discussing what would happen to the other spouse if they should pass away.

While most of our thoughts are on candy and roses this Valentine’s Day, findings from an ING U.S. Retirement Research Institute consumer study1 demonstrate the importance of making a life-long commitment to retirement savings, regardless of one’s involvement in a committed personal relationship.

Marriage May Help Your Finances …But Everyone Needs to Plan and Save

According to the research1, those who were married (or living-as-married) had independently saved more for their retirement – a total of $40,000 more on average – compared to those who were single.  Despite being an average of five years younger, married individuals in the survey also had greater retirement savings –$11,000 more per person – than those who were divorced.

In addition, the same study found that a greater number of married individuals (54 percent) felt financially prepared for their retirement compared to their unmarried counterparts (45 percent).

“While the financial advantages of marriage may not be surprising for many, our hope in sharing this research is that it helps all Americans, regardless of age or marital status, to make a greater commitment to their personal retirement savings,” noted Deb Dupont, director of the ING Retirement Research Institute. “It’s essential for everyone to assess their unique life situation and goals – whether single, married or divorced – and commit to creating a plan that is designed to lead them to a greater state of retirement readiness.”

The Greatest Love of All:  Taking Care of Yourself

While the financial advantages of marriage may not be surprising for many, our hope in sharing this research is that it helps all Americans, regardless of age or marital status, to make a greater commitment to their personal retirement savings

Cupid’s arrow may not strike everyone this season.  Nor will it always result in a “happily ever after.”  But the same ING U.S. study further demonstrated how marriage may provide an extra savings edge…especially for men.  According to the findings, the average retirement savings balance for married men was 51 percent greater than single men and 8 percent greater than divorced men.

Married women also out-saved their single counterparts, although by a smaller amount – 28 percent.  Data showed that married women had virtually the same balances as their divorced peers, however they were also seven years younger with more time on their side to save.

“The research is a good reminder that everyone should make their own retirement savings a priority,” added Dupont.  “Regardless of one’s love life or marital status, it’s important to take stock of your financial plans, whether that means thinking about the welfare of a spouse and children, or the happiness of your own future self, and develop a customized plan that identifies the goals and personalized needs for working toward a secure retirement.”

Instead of the flowers or chocolates for Valentine’s Day this year, ING U.S. suggests that a better gift to your loved one or to yourself may be committing to retirement savings through starting or increasing savings to retirement accounts, taking advantage of employer match or 50-plus catch-up contributions, or meeting with a financial advisor.  It may not be as romantic…but it’s a true sign of commitment.

As an industry leader and advocate for retirement education and saving, ING U.S. is committed to gaining greater insights into the various factors that affect how people save for retirement. Through research, studies, tools and work done by the ING Retirement Research Institute, ING U.S. is a resource to help advance the retirement readiness of working Americans.

For more information on ING U.S.’s Valentine’s Day study, please visit the ING Retirement Research Institute here.

1 Findings are from an online survey conducted by ORC International on behalf of ING Retirement Research Institute during the period of Oct. 5-13, 2011.  Respondents were 4,050 adults between the ages of 25 and 69 who are employed full-time with an annual household income of $40,000 or greater.  Data was weighted to make the results representative of the U.S. population.