Retirement & Financial Planning Report

Participation in retirement savings plans tends to increase after marriage and those already participating tend to invest more as well, but marriage “does not necessarily serve as a trigger event for focusing on retirement saving,” a study has found.

The Center for Retirement Research said that prior studies support the notion that marriage “tends to kick start saving for a house as individuals combine their possessions and make plans for having kids. On the other hand, the decision to save for retirement may be different” since retirement is farther off in the future.


“And while recent research suggests that married couples have longer planning horizons than singles – making them more likely to think about retirement saving – the evidence on the subject is limited,” it adds.

The report found that both men and women are more likely to invest in retirement savings plans such as 401(k)s and the TSP after marriage, with the participation rate increasing from 38 to 43 and from 41 to 43 percent, respectively. Of those already participating, percentage of salary saved also rises, from 5.2 to 5.5 percent and from 4.8 to 5.6 percent, respectively.

It warns against drawing too strong a conclusion, however, saying that “comparing married to single individuals – even if they look similar – might miss many differences between them. Certain personality types may be more likely to both get married and save – after all marriage and saving for retirement are both long-term commitments – and it is hard to control for these sorts of differences with most types of data.”