Financial Planning Tips for the Many Types of American Families Available from the MetLife Mature Ma


Financial Planning Tips for the Many Types of American Families Available from the MetLife Mature Market Institute

Information Based on Study Showing Single Heads of Households and Others Have Particular Financial Challenges

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The MetLife Mature Market Institute has released a series of financial planning tips with information specific to both traditional and non-traditional families following its study showing the impact of family structures on finances. Planning Tips: Focus on Family Types and Financial Well-Being, available for download, has advice for those who are single, married, partnered, divorced, widowed or separated.

The Institute's recent study, The New American Family: The MetLife Study of Family Structure and Financial Well-Being, conducted in conjunction with the Society of Actuaries' Committee on Post-Retirement Needs and Risks, reported that there is a proliferation of households headed by singles who are feeling a strain on finances, leading to stress about meeting living expenses, paying for health care and saving for retirement. Those in households headed by couples report the same concerns, though in fewer numbers.

The tips provide universal advice - maintain health insurance, keep your legal affairs in order and determine when you'll collect Social Security and how much you're due. The tips also provide more specific suggestions for: 1) couples in first marriages, 2) couples in a second marriage, 3) domestic partners, 4) widows and widowers, 5) those divorced or separated, and 6) those single, never married.

"The economy has been difficult for almost everyone, but different family types have different concerns and there are individualized ways to handle them," said Sandra Timmermann, Ed.D., director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute. "Singles should be particularly disciplined about saving and planning for the simple reason that they don't have the same safety net. Couples with children have to consider the expenses of raising them, subsidizing higher education costs and perhaps, assistance later on. Divorced individuals and those in second marriages have still more financial considerations."

According to the latest U.S. Census figures, there were 31 million single-person households in the U.S. in 2010, up 15% since 2000 and four times more than the 7 million in 1960. Married couples represent fewer than half (48%) of households (the first time that figure has been less than half since data collection on families began in 1940) and only 20% of all households in the U.S. are married with children.

Here are tips for each family type, a sampling of those provided in the full publication:

Couples in a First Marriage:

  • Save using a combination of financial products to create guaranteed lifetime income for both spouses.

  • Communicate openly about financial expectations and differences. Set goals and spending budgets for pre- and post-retirement spending.

  • Recognize the impact of supporting others when planning for retirement.

Couples in a Second Marriage:

  • Have legal documents that define obligations and resource ownership, considering previous and current spouses and children from both marriages.

  • Keep in mind that supporting other family members may affect your own retirement savings and future financial security.

Domestic Partners:

  • Learn about special issues related to saving for retirement and planning for lifetime income for your family structure. Non-married partners may not have the same employee benefits rights as married couples. Determine your rights and those of your partner.

  • A will is essential for division of assets among your partner, children and other family members in accordance with your wishes.

Widows and Widowers:

  • Consider financial products that provide retirement protection, such as long-term care insurance and those offering a steady stream of guaranteed income for life.

  • Seek professional legal and financial advice to determine which estate planning and retirement plan documents should be revised following the loss of a spouse.

Divorced and Separated Individuals:

  • Special consideration is needed to assess your financial resources and prospects for financial security in retirement. Seek the help of financial professionals and an attorney.

  • If your income is low or will be low in retirement, consider delaying Social Security to increase your monthly income in retirement and be aware of public benefit programs that may help.

Single, Never Married:

  • Start planning and saving for retirement as soon as possible, even if you can only save in small amounts initially.

  • Understand the value of your employee benefits and take advantage of them; they can help you better prepare for retirement.

  • Establish ongoing sources of steady guaranteed income throughout your retirement.

Click here to download a copy of Planning Tips: Focus on Family Types and Financial Well-Being or visit The study, The New American Family: The MetLife Study of Family Structure and Financial Well-Being, is also available.

The MetLife Mature Market Institute®

Celebrating its 15-year anniversary in 2012, the MetLife Mature Market Institute is Metropolitan Life Insurance Company's (MetLife) center of expertise in aging, longevity and the generations and is a recognized thought leader by business, the media, opinion leaders and the public. The Institute's groundbreaking research, insights, strategic partnerships and consumer education expand the knowledge and choices for those in, approaching or working with the mature market.

The Institute supports MetLife's long-standing commitment to identifying emerging issues and innovative solutions for the challenges of life. MetLife, Inc. is a leading global provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs, serving 90 million customers. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, please visit:

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Debra Caruso, 212-971-9708
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