More than two-thirds (41%) of respondents have never discussed how they will turn their pension savings into income in retirement, according to research by Prudential.
Its research, which surveyed 1,996 adults over the age of 40 who currently live with their spouse or partner, found that 19% have discussed this but could not agree on the best option and 30% have reached a decision.
Fewer than half (46%) of respondents have made arrangements to ensure that their partner will continue to receive retirement income after the other one dies.
The research found that women were most at risk, with one in five (21%) currently planning to depend entirely on their other half for a retirement income, compared with just 5% of men.
Only 10% of respondents plan to purchase a joint-life annuity, where a surviving partner will continue to receive an income after the annuitant dies.
The research also found that 28% of respondents have yet to discuss the impact of one partner’s death on pension arrangements, while 19% have at least made a will, but no other financial plans.
Nearly one-sixth (14%) of respondents do not know what their main source of income will be when they stop working.
Vince Smith-Hughes (pictured), retirement expert at Prudential, said: “For couples looking to enjoy a comfortable retirement, organising and agreeing their income options should be a priority. Long-term financial planning can be even more important than managing day-to-day-finances.
“Our research shows that even those couples who have discussed their retirement finances have still made decisions that could leave one of them without an income if they outlived their partner.
“Having open and frequent conversations as a couple about retirement planning is definitely an important first step. However, making the right decisions on the best retirement income options, including what happens when one partner dies, can be daunting.
“That’s why seeking advice from a retirement specialist or financial adviser is just as important. There is also plenty of free information available from independent organisations, such as the Money Advice Service and The Pensions Advisory Service.”