Half of Couples Don't Know This About Their Partners

They say they communicate, but a new survey by Fidelity suggests otherwise
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 26, 2015 7:08 AM CDT

(Newser) – For richer, for poorer, for who knows? Nearly half (43%) of couples in serious relationships don't know what their partners earn. And of those, 10% are off by at least $25,000. So finds the latest biannual online survey by Fidelity, which polled 1,051 couples who are at least 25 years of age and either married or in a long-term relationship and living together; about half are Gen X and Gen Y couples, with the other half being ages 47 and up, which Fidelity defines as pre-retired and retired. Digging deeper, more than one-third of respondents can't agree on the balance of their investable assets, while nearly half say they have "no idea" how much they should save to maintain their current lifestyle into retirement. And this is all after 72% of couples say they communicate very or exceptionally well.

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"There was a real disconnect between what they say and the reality," John Sweeney, the Executive VP of Retirement and Investing Strategies for Fidelity, tells Forbes. One possible reason couples are so in the dark about their partner's earnings? Independent contractors are expected to comprise 40% of the workforce in just 5 years. "As more and more people go into freelance work, it makes it harder for people to predict their own income, much less their partner’s," Sweeney tells Yahoo! Finance. The big takeaway isn't rocket science: communicate more and plan together. Still, with many people bringing some form of debt into their relationship (Yahoo! flags a separate study that found 1/3 of adults do so, with an average of $4,100 in credit card debt), this is one task that appears to be easier said than done. (More than a third of Americans have socked away less than $1,000 for retirement.)

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