Pensions and valentines

With Valentine’s Day approaching, one of the least romantic topics for discussion is your retirement planning. Or is it?

New research has found that 38% of Brits who are in relationships do not know the value of their significant other’s pension pot.

The research, carried out by Opinium for interactive investor, discovered that only 14% of people in relationships are confident they know the value of their partner’s pension, with a further 31% claiming to “know roughly”.

Where couples are approaching retirement age, they are more likely to talk about the size of their pension pot.

Couples aged 55 and above were more likely to say they knew how much their partner had saved for retirement, with 55% of those in this age group knowing the values.

One surprising finding from the research was the younger couples, aged 18 to 34 years old, were more likely than middle aged couples to know the value of their partner’s pension pot.

43% of younger couples knew how much their partner had saved for retirement, compared with 34% of 35 to 54 year olds.

Could younger people be more in touch with the importance of retirement planning?

The survey also found that talking about pensions is not an especially popular topic.

Only 11% of respondents said they talk about their pensions once a month, with 34% talking about retirement planning occasionally, and 36% discussing the subject one a year or less frequently.

19% of those surveyed said they never talk about pensions.

Becky O’Connor, Head of Pensions and Savings at interactive investor, said:

“If there is one thing worth airing this Valentine’s Day, it is pension pot size.

“Pension wealth can rival property wealth when it comes to assets shared between couples. We talk about property values constantly – with family, friends, neighbours and our other halves, so why not at least share the important detail of our pension size with our partner?

“This has a serious side. Not being aware of how much is in each other’s pensions can affect your ability to make financial plans. At worst, not sharing this information could lead to difficulty in retirement (or even resentments), for example if one person’s pension pot falls short.

“If you’ve both been financially independent during your working lives, it could also be a shock if you suddenly find you are dependent on your partner to help supplement your retirement pot.

“On divorce, how to split assets including the pension is always an important matter, but the value of a pension is often misunderstood as couples, often wrongly, focus on splitting property.”