Put a ring on it: How marriage leads to higher savings

There’s long been a link between marriage and higher savings. Learn why married couples tend to do better financially than singles and divorcees here.

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There's long been a link between money and marriage. Married couples tend to do better financially than singles and divorcees.

While that's not universally true, it always helps if you have two people rocking a solid financial plan. You can monitor each other's spending and saving. It can be a team effort.

According to research from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, married couples may save more, although there are a few wrinkles. There are no guarantees.

"The results show that marriage is associated with higher participation and contribution rates for both men and women," the study concluded. "These effects are relatively modest, however, so the impact on retirement wealth from delaying marriage is likely to be small."

Let's break that down. First of all, two can save better than one. If you have two people working—and both are saving or contributing to 401(ks) or IRAs—then that's always a plus.

There's another benefit down the road: A spouse will be entitled to spousal and survivor benefits through Social Security.

Another interesting question is whether delaying marriage has an impact on overall saving. Since Millennials tend to marry later (or not at all), this is important to know.

"For most future retirees, a 401(k) plan will be their only source of retirement savings outside of Social Security," the study found. "For these plans to provide enough income in retirement, individuals need to participate and then contribute a high enough fraction of their salary."

"This study suggests that any trend towards delayed marriage may also delay these two behaviors because people have higher 401(k) participation and contribution rates after they marry."

Whether you get married or not, the bottom line about saving for retirement is that the earlier you start—and the higher the contribution rate — the more you will have when you leave the workforce.

While wedding bells may be bliss for some, the tinkle of periodic saving is even more satisfying. I suggest starting out with a savings rate of 15% of your annual income. And don't forget to set aside money for emergencies, which should equal three to six months of your annual income.

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Article copyright 2019 by John Wasik from Forbes. Reprinted from May 17, 2019 issue with permission from Forbes.
The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. Fidelity Investments cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any statements or data.
This reprint is supplied by Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC.
The third-party provider of the reprint permission and Fidelity Investments are independent entities and are not legally affiliated.

Investing involves risk, including risk of loss.

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