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Is it Easier for Singles to Save For Retirement?

BOSTON ( MainStreet) -- When it comes to retirement planning, who has it better, singles or married couples?

The answer -- singles, according to many Americans -- may be based more on perception than reality.

Singles may find it harder to save for retirement than the conventional wisdom suggests. Singles are actually significantly less prepared for and confident about retiring, a study says.

A recent survey by Schwab (SCHW) looked at the attitudes and behaviors of singles and married people around retirement. It found that most singles (69%) and a majority of married couples (53%) think being single is an advantage when it comes to retirement planning.

This attitude isn't backed up by the facts, warns Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, Charles Schwab senior vice president. The same study found that singles are actually significantly less prepared and less confident than married individuals in their retirement readiness -- 85% of married Americans have already started to save, compared with only 67% of singles.

Those stats could get even worse given a weak economy and rampant unemployment that has left many Americans in their 20s underpaid and often moving back in with their parents.

There is also a growing population of singles. Census figures show there are record numbers of singles in America -- nearly 100 million last year, or one-third of the population.

The study also found that 58% of married Americans say it would be easier to decide when to retire without having a spouse to consider; 62% of those couples say choosing where to retire would be easier if they were single.

The details of when and where to retire, however, are less problematic than being prepared for that phase of life.

Despite the perception that "single people have got it made," they have the very big hurdle of having only one income.

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