Blended families are much more likely to live paycheck to paycheck and have substantially less in savings than traditional families, according to a study released Monday by Allianz, a financial services company based in Minneapolis.
According to LoveFamilyMoney, 55 percent of blended families are living paycheck to paycheck, compared with 41 percent of traditional families. Blended families have an average of $158,600 in savings or investable assets, compared with $264,300 for traditional families.
Traditional families for the purposes of the study are defined as a heterosexual couple with at least one child under the age of 21 living at home. Blended families are a heterosexual couple, either married or living together, with a stepchild or child from a previous relationship.
The study included 748 traditional and 879 blended families.
Thirty-percent of blended families say they are not saving enough while 20 percent of traditional families say they haven't.
Some of the financial problems blended families experience could be from the previous relationship or could be caused by ex-spouses not contributing enough, according to Allianz.
“The defining characteristic of blended families [living with children from prior relationships] is the financial baggage and commitments that they bring from their previous relationships,” says Katie Libbe, Allianz Life vice president of consumer insights. “Blended families … could be burdened by the past. While children can form warm bonds with the new people in their lives, the financial scenario can be challenging.”
Forty-three percent of blended families agree that one or both members of the couple brought financial obligations to the relationship that are difficult to overcome. Another 33 percent say the ex-spouse of one of them does not support the children adequately and prevents the couple from saving for retirement.
“It’s possible that many in blended families are still picking up the pieces from a previously broken home. This is a burden that they may feel they must tackle on their own -- and likely leads to this more individualistic mindset when it comes to goals and needs,” says Libbe.
Allianz notes that blended families are doing more than traditional families to teach their children about money by talking with them about financial situations and helping them to create budgets. She says family members should build on this behavior by developing strategies for saving and spending. They also should determine who is responsible for paying which bills and whether maintaining separate accounts is advisable.
If the couple cannot agree, hiring a financial planner to help determine financial goals and how to reach them should be considered, Libbe says.