Love, Money and Retirement
When you were single, you likely made most of your investment decisions solely with the help of your financial advisor. As a couple, you’re now part of a financial committee of two – and with your lives and finances entwined, you’re likely to face some serious issues about your financial future together. Even with the best intentions, how these decisions are handled can impact your relationship – for better or worse. This is especially true when it comes to retirement planning. It’s common for couples to have very different ideas about what retirement would be like, and the cost of providing different lifestyles may vary significantly. Reconciling your perceptions, wants and needs for retirement – and how you’ll pay for them – is essential to enjoying all that’s to come. To help set the stage, schedule periodic “pre-retirement dates” in which you share, dream and plan together.
Try to answer some of the following questions:
WHEN DO YOU WANT TO RETIRE? These days, retirement age can range anywhere from 55 to 85 (and up). For some, continuing to work may be a financial imperative, while others just want to stay active.
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO LIVE? On the beach or on a golf course? Near your children or near a major airport? Should you move to a community with peers your own age or to a college town filled with cultural events? Talk about what activities you want to engage in when you retire, as that might help pinpoint where to live.
WHO DO YOU WANT TO SPEND TIME WITH? You retire, but your best friends stay on the job. Suddenly, you may find you have little in common anymore. Consider whether spending more time with your spouse is something you both want or if you’ll want to broaden your social group.
HOW DO YOU PLAN TO PAY FOR RETIREMENT? Naturally, you can dream up a “pie-in-the-sky” retirement if you don’t have to pay for it. You should calculate the sum total of income that your retirement sources will yield. If it’s not enough to meet your plans, or if any of the sources can’t be counted on for reliable income, ask your financial advisor what you can do to help reach your long-term goals. Couples may also be out of sync in their attitudes toward risk – which should also be addressed when you meet with your advisor.
HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW ABOUT EACH OTHER’S LAST WISHES? It’s important to accept the reality that declining health will be a factor in retirement. One of you is likely to wind up taking care of the other, and you should talk about each of your preferences for medical care and end-of-life issues long before you reach that point. Doing so can help you better appreciate the time you have together.
• Discuss significant retirement-related milestones for each spouse.
• Schedule a joint session with your financial advisor.
• Find areas of agreement first; then tackle the differences.