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Estate and Elder Law

Dont Count on an Inheritance as Half of Americans Die Broke


If you want the best retirement outcome possible, get rich. If that fails, consider getting married, staying married-and doing your best to die before your spouse does. That last is not entirely serious, but the general take-away is that being married pays off in retirement.

For example, remember that 46% of retirees who have just $10,000 in savings when they die? That jumps to 57% for people who are single throughout the course of the survey. Married couples are likelier to have home equity, too. Overall, in the last year before death, 57% of single-person households and 50% of surviving spouses had no housing wealth when they died. But retirees who died before their spouse did? Just 20% lacked home equity, the study said.

"The group who does the best in terms of average level of financial assets are those who are married when we first see them, remain married when the first person dies, and we're looking at the first spouse to die. They tend to have higher income levels," Poterba said. "Single individuals on average have lower levels of retirement income as well as lower financial assets." But perhaps the study's most striking finding was a "strong and consistent" relationship between wealth and survival. If you're rich, you're much likelier to live longer. "The relationship between wealth when first observed and subsequent mortality is striking," the study said.

Life is no different in Sarasota or Manatee county Florida.

View more information from Marc J. Soss at and

Marc Soss' practice focuses on estate and tax planning; probate and trust administration and litigation; guardianship law; and corporate law in Southwest Florida.  Marc is a frequent contributor to LISI and has published articles and been quoted in the Florida Bar, Rhode Island Bar, North Carolina Bar, Association of the United States Navy, Lawyers USA, Military.Com, Forbes.Com, and CNN Business. Marc also serves as an officer in the United States Naval Reserve.


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