Retirement is a big deal, and there are a lot of moving components to plan out. Those issues multiply when there is another individual added to the mix. My definition of retirement is the financial freedom to move into the next chapter of your life, and that next chapter is different for everyone –especially spouses! This is not the time to assume the two of you are on the same page or decide that the two of you will figure it out later. Most people know that I’m a big proponent of talking to your spouse about everything financial, and retirement is no exception. Be sure to take the guess work out of this process so you can enter the next chapter of your life in harmony.
It’s not uncommon for couples to not see eye-to-eye on retirement. About half of couples don’t agree on what age to retire[i]. Less than 10% of surveyed couples retired at the same time[ii]. And 47% disagreed on how much they would need to save for retirement[iii]. With so many areas to disagree, from where to retire to how to spend your days, how do spouses work together to achieve their cumulative goals?
I always like to recommend the couples start off by taking my financial compatibility quiz. Not only does this show the areas you may not see eye-toe-eye on, but the quiz generates a lot of conversations. Continue these conversations at monthly financial date nights to make sure that the two of you continue on the same path towards the same goals. Talk about the details – at what age do you want to retire, how do you want to spend your days in retirement, and how much of that time will be spent together. Keep in mind that most people have spent over 40 hours a week away from their spouse for decades. Retirement frees up all that time, which can be too much “togetherness” for some couples. This is why I like to take my clients through a discussion on “your time, my time, and our time,” well before it is actually time for retirement. Discussing these things in advance can allow you to compromise on issues before emotions flair and make a world of difference between living together happily in retirement or, in worst cases, filing for divorce.
Once you have an idea of what your retirement goals are, you need to formulate a plan. An experienced financial planner can be a great resource at this time, bringing up things you may not have touched on and running “what if” scenarios for you to see how your retirement dreams can be converted into actionable goals. Please start these discussions early because financial independence takes many forms, but you can’t figure out when you’re going to get there until you plan your route.
Marriage is many things, but ultimately, it is a partnership. The two of you work together to move the household forward. You may not always agree, but you find common ground by talking and sharing and compromising. If you plan ahead and plan together, you can find the right way to your coupled vision of retirement.
Take our FREE Financial Compatibility Quiz here.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.