Wedding Bells a Financial Wake-Up Call for Americans

OMAHA, Neb.- Love is in the air as engagement season starts on Thanksgiving and continues through Valentine’s Day. As these starry-eyed couples tie the knot, one thing that’s clearly in focus is their finances, according to TD Ameritrade’s latest survey.

TD Ameritrade’s Marriage & Money survey of 1,000 married and 1,000 unmarried adults (ages 37 and older) reveals that getting married can serve as a trigger for Americans to focus more on their finances, particularly for men. In fact, nearly four in ten (37 percent) married Americans report paying more attention to their finances after getting married.

Married couples also report additional shifts in perspective and habits:
A third (33 percent) of married men and 28 percent of married women report saving more money after getting hitched;32 percent of married men and 28 percent of married women started to worry more about the future;Three in 10 (30 percent) married individuals rely on their spouses to help manage their savings and investments (39 percent of females vs. 19 percent of males); and30 percent of married Americans say the moral support that keeps each other on track is the biggest financial benefit of getting married“ For many Americans, wedding bells serve as a wake-up call to get their finances in order as they now have a partner to think about,” said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist and managing director at TD Ameritrade. “Having a spouse, and perhaps for some a family, can encourage better financial habits, deter overspending, and keep long-term goals in focus.”

It’s Not All Wedded Bliss
While marriage often serves as an incentive to financial responsibility, it also has its challenges. One-third (34 percent) of married Americans report that they are not always “financially faithful” with their spouse, and nearly four in ten (39 percent) don’t believe their spouse is entirely financially faithful with them. On average, married Americans report having argued with a spouse about money 4.3 times in the past year.

Planning for the Golden Years Together
When it comes to retirement, nearly three in 10 (28 percent) married Americans have downsized, or expect to downsize their home in retirement, while singles are more likely to stay put. And, the destination of choice – warmer climates, according to one in five (20 percent) married Americans.

On average, married Americans expect to live 23 years in retirement, and men largely anticipate their wives to have the upper hand in terms of life expectancy. More than half (53 percent) expect their wives to outlive them, vs. just 18 percent of married females who said the same about their husbands.

Sorry kids …
One-third (34 percent) of married Americans say leaving an inheritance is “not at all” a priority for them. In fact, having a spouse to enjoy retirement with makes married couples more inclined to say they’re likely or very likely to spend what they’ve saved – on trips, property, motor vehicles, etc. – rather than pass it on to their children (44 percent married vs. 29 percent unmarried).

“It’s important for married couples to have a shared vision for the future, whether that includes spending your money or saving it for future generations,” says Kinahan. “Being upfront with each other about finances and having frequent conversations about your desired retirement lifestyle will help couples be better prepared for what lies ahead.”