The management of retirement savings among financially heterogamous couples.

Notice bibliographique

Pugliese, M. et Belleau, H. (2021). The management of retirement savings among financially heterogamous couples. Social Policy and Society, 20(4), 1-19.


Retirement scholars (and policy makers) have traditionally assumed spouses share their retirement savings, even when they are financially heterogamous and their individual saving capacities diverge. Recent research, however, has challenged this assumption, emphasising that wealth is unequally distributed within couples. In this study, we contribute to this debate by exploring how often financially heterogamous spouses describe their management of retirement savings as joint and redistributive. Data collected in Québec (Canada) in 2015 show that 28 per cent of couples with an income differential report to balance retirement savings across partners. Building on exchange and institutional theories of conjugal behaviour, we also stress that the prevalence of this practice varies with several factors, including union duration and matrimonial status. These findings suggest policy makers underestimate the size of the population at risk of old age financial vulnerability when assuming lower-income individuals are well prepared for retirement if partnered with a better-off spouse who saves.


Publication du membre

Maude Pugliese
Hélène Belleau

Appartenance aux volets