E*TRADE Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: ETFC) today announced results from the most recent wave of StreetWise, the E*TRADE quarterly tracking study of experienced investors. Results revealed the habits of married couples as they manage their shared investment portfolios:

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  • Most share or discuss investing in one form or another. For married couples, over half (55 percent) either share investing responsibility equally (17 percent) or have a discussion with their partner before making a decision (38 percent).
  • Yet Millennials are significantly more likely to be comfortable giving discretion to their partner. Whether due to the longer time horizon to recover from investing decisions gone wrong, or perhaps simply from trust and confidence in their partner, three out of four millennial investors (75 percent) are comfortable with their partner making an investment decision without their input. This population is also the most likely (53 percent) to be making decisions on their own, without discussing with their partner.
  • And Baby Boomers are far more likely to feel the opposite. Conversely, older generations are actually more likely to be uncomfortable giving investing discretion to their partner (58 percent). Given Boomers' proximity to retirement, perhaps this generation feels too much is at stake not to be involved and aware. Further, this generation is also the most likely of all the age groups to actually be making decisions as a team.

"I think we can all agree that trust and communication are essential elements of any successful relationship, and especially so when making financial decisions," commented Mike Loewengart, VP of Investment Strategy at E*TRADE Financial. "It's encouraging to see so many couples tackling investing challenges together, rather than taking the lone road. Working together early and often produces many tangible long-term benefits, which is likely not lost on older generations who know that sharing objectives and aligning investment strategies can pay serious dividends down the road."

Mr. Loewengart provided additional steps that married investors may want to consider to fully optimize their investing portfolios:

  • Review your assets holistically. It's good to know what investing accounts your partner has, how aggressive his/her portfolio is, and when your partner envisions retiring. This helps a couple align investment strategies and come up with a cohesive plan.
  • Diversify across paths. Look to optimize contributions across your 401(k) and IRA accounts. If one partner has a dollar-for-dollar employer match and another has a 5 percent match, it may be better to direct contributions to the account that has the bigger payoff.
  • Find the right level of risk. Finding the right level of risk doesn't need to be a tug-of-war. Consider each prospective retirement date and be open to using each other's different perspectives to create the appropriate level of risk within the investing portfolios.
  • Fortify your financial house. There are a number of steps you can take to ensure you are prepared should the unforeseen occur. For instance, make sure all beneficiary forms are completed and up to date, and don't forget emergency savings. Three to six months of expenses is a good start and will allow for some flexibility if you are faced with an unexpected emergency.

E*TRADE aims to enhance the financial independence of traders and investors through a powerful digital offering and professional guidance. To learn more about E*TRADE's trading and investing platforms and tools, visit etrade.com.

For useful trading and investing insights from E*TRADE, follow the company on Twitter, @ETRADE.

About the Survey

This wave of the survey was conducted from January 1 to January 15 of 2018 among an online US sample of 923 self-directed active investors who manage at least $10,000 in an online brokerage account. The survey has a margin of error of ±3.23 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. It was fielded and administered by Research Now. The panel is broken into thirds of active (trade more than once a week), swing (trade less than once a week but more than once a month), and passive (trade less than once a month). The panel is 61 percent male and 39 percent female with an even distribution across online brokerages, geographic regions, and age bands.

Referenced Data

Please select which of the following best describes how your family's primary investment portfolio is overseen within the family.
Total 25-34 35-54 55+
I am solely responsible 45% 53% 49% 34%
I am mostly responsible, but I discuss the decisions with my partner 36% 35% 33% 44%
It is an equal responsibility between my partner and me 17% 12% 17% 20%
My partner is mostly responsible, but we discuss the decisions 2% 0% 1% 2%
My partner is solely responsible   0% 0% 0% 0%
How comfortable are you with your partner making an investing decision without your input?
Total 25-34 35-54 55+
Top 2 Box 55% 75% 58% 42%
Very comfortable 19% 33% 16% 13%
Somewhat comfortable 36% 42% 42% 29%
Somewhat uncomfortable 27% 20% 24% 33%
Very uncomfortable 18% 5% 18% 25%
Bottom 2 Box     45% 25% 42% 58%

"Millennial" defined as age 25-34 // "Gen X" defined as age 35-54 // "Baby Boomer" defined as age 55+

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About E*TRADE Financial and Important Notices

E*TRADE Financial and its subsidiaries provide financial services including brokerage and banking products and services to retail customers. Securities products and services are offered by E*TRADE Securities LLC (Member FINRA/SIPC). Commodity futures and options on futures products and services are offered by E*TRADE Futures LLC (Member NFA). Managed Account Solutions are offered through E*TRADE Capital Management, LLC, a Registered Investment Adviser. Bank products and services are offered by E*TRADE Bank, a Federal savings bank, Member FDIC, or its subsidiaries. More information is available at www.etrade.com.

The information provided herein is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

E*TRADE Financial, E*TRADE, and the E*TRADE logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of E*TRADE Financial Corporation. ETFC-G

© 2018 E*TRADE Financial Corporation. All rights reserved.

E*TRADE Financial Corporation and Research Now are separate companies that are not affiliated. E*TRADE Financial Corporation engages Research Now to program, field, and tabulate the study. Research Now Group, Inc. provides digital research data and has locations in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. For more information, please go to www.researchnow.com.

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