Want to save your marriage? Sort out your savings first.

Ah, love and money. The two most popular topics for musicians, poets, script writers and your therapist. Few people spend money as quickly as someone courting a new love, or a couple deep into wedding planning. But fast forward a bit and we find the subject of money breaking down more marriages than it builds.

This Valentine’s Day, as you try figure out whose turn it is to pay for the bill and how much to tip your waitron, consider this:

A US survey by Ramsey Solutions found that money is not only the top issue that married couples fight about, it is also the second leading cause of divorce (the first being infidelity). 

Whereas all couples no doubt have their own unique flavour of money fights (be it hubby’s shoe addiction or wifey’s love affair with Woolies) there is one issue that eventually hits home for all couples: retirement planning.

It’s not surprising that “having enough money saved for retirement” was a top concern for couples as seen in the ‘Couples and Money’ study by Fidelity Investments. Afterall, isn’t marriage all about growing old together and watching the sun set? (At least that’s what all the retirement brochures would have us believe.)

The same study by Fidelity Investments found that half of the couples surveyed differed on how much money they should have saved by the time they reached retirement in order to maintain their lifestyle. That said, having different numbers in mind is better than having no number at all. Many people who completed the survey simply said they had no idea how much they would need to retire.

Sound familiar? Now, we could advise you to communicate more with your partner, stop hiding the Woolies receipts and basically just get a grip, but you’ve probably already heard all that advice from your therapist. 

Instead, Mica Townsend, Business Development Manager at 10X Investments, recommends taking just five minutes to complete one of 10X’s giraffe-themed retirement calculators. 

“It’s an easy way to get you and your partner on the same page (or at least the same book) about your retirement. All couples can benefit from the 10X calculators, whether you’re newlyweds or celebrating your golden anniversary.”

There are two calculators to choose from, depending on how close you are to retirement.

If you are more than five years from retirement use the 10X retirement savings calculator. This will help you work out:

  • How much you need to save to maintain your lifestyle when you retire
  • What monthly income you will be able to draw based on this goal
  • How much you need to save each month to reach your goal

If you are nearing retirement, or are already retired use the 10X retirement income calculator. This will help you calculate:

  • How much you can draw from your investment each month
  • How long your investment will last, given how much income you are drawing 

Townsend admits that calculating your retirement goal may not be the most romantic thing you can do on Valentine’s Day, but says it is “one thing that will help ensure you and your partner get to enjoy many more Valentine’s Days together”. 


Fidelity Investments: 
Ramsey Solutions: 

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