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I Do...Want to Save: Marriage and Retirement Savings in Young Households

Journal of Marriage and Family, Vol. 74, pp. 86-100, 2012

Posted: 17 Jan 2012  

Melissa Knoll

Social Security Administration - Office of Retirement Policy

Christopher R. Tamborini

U.S. Social Security Administration

Kevin Whitman

U.S. Social Security Administration

Date Written: January 17, 2012

Abstract

Increased policy and academic attention has been placed on promoting retirement savings early in the life course. This study investigates the extent to which retirement savings behavior among young persons, a population for which retirement savings is important but typically low, differs by marital status. We draw national survey data on young adult households (ages 22–35; N = 3,894) from the U.S. Federal Reserve Board's Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). Results reveal considerable differences by marital status. Controlling for important characteristics, young adults who were married were more likely than all other groups (including cohabitors) to perceive retirement as an important savings goal and to have an individual retirement account. Married persons were more likely than their single counterparts to participate in a defined contribution pension plan. Single women fared particularly poorly on retirement savings outcomes. A range of possible theoretical links between marriage and retirement savings at young adulthood are discussed.

Keywords: family economics, life course, life events, marriage, retirement

JEL Classification: J12, J18, J3, J1, D6

Suggested Citation

Knoll, Melissa and Tamborini, Christopher R. and Whitman, Kevin, I Do...Want to Save: Marriage and Retirement Savings in Young Households (January 17, 2012). Journal of Marriage and Family, Vol. 74, pp. 86-100, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1986453

Melissa Knoll (Contact Author)

Social Security Administration - Office of Retirement Policy ( email )

Washington, DC 20254
United States

Christopher R. Tamborini

U.S. Social Security Administration ( email )

500 E. Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20254
United States
202.358.6109 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ssa.gov/policy/

Kevin Whitman

U.S. Social Security Administration ( email )

Washington, DC 20254
United States

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