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2 million couples over 40 have never discussed their finances - could this affect retirement plans?

Published 3 December 2012 by

New research from Prudential has found that 14% of couples over the age of 40 never talk about their finances.

There are a few reasons for this - for example, 15% of couples asked found talking about their finances a bit awkward and uncomfortable. And as 23% admitted that they fight with their partner over their finances, it's no surprise that some choose to keep quiet.

In fact, money was the third most common cause of arguments amongst couples surveyed - only beaten by family and relations (30%) and household chores (27%).

Even when couples did discuss their finances, it was usually only in the short-term. For example, everyday living costs was the most discussed financial topic - with 60% claiming they talk to their partners about it. This was followed by household bills, at 52%.

Longer-term financial planning was quite far down the list, with only 22% of couples talking about savings and investments and even fewer (16%) talking about pensions and retirement planning.

A retirement expert at Prudential, Vince Smith-Hughes, said: "Money can be a tough topic to discuss at the best of times. Many couples prefer to steer clear of conversations about finances, and especially discussions about longer-term issues like retirement which might feel light-years away.

"Yet it really pays to be honest about your financial situation. Being open about discussing long-term financial planning as early as possible will help couples to ensure they can enjoy a comfortable retirement together."

An expert from thinkmoney added: "It can be difficult to get in the habit of putting something aside each month for retirement. And if you don't know whether your partner has any plans for their retirement, or how much they have saved up, it can be even harder.

"So it could really help to just sit down together and talk about how much you're putting aside. It really can't hurt to make sure that you'll each have a comfortable income after you retire.

"And a healthy pension pot has other benefits too. For example, you could go on a long holiday together just after your retirement if you have enough in your pots.

"If one or both of you find it difficult to budget, and put money aside each month, there are accounts available that will do it for you. If you open a joint thinkmoney Personal Account together, you can decide how much will go out each month into your pensions - and your dedicated Money Manager will make sure this happens."