Five questions to help couples get on the same retirement page

14_fall_1lg (2)It’s common for couples to have very different ideas about what retirement would be like – and the cost of providing those different lifestyles may vary significantly. For example, a career-oriented husband may be thinking he’d like to continue working in some capacity, while his wife could be counting the days until the two of them can spend more time together. If these two don’t share their ideas about the future, their visions could easily conflict.

Reconciling your perceptions, wants and needs for retirement – and how you’ll pay for them – is essential to enjoying this new stage of your life. To help set the stage, schedule periodic “pre-retirement dates” in which you share, dream and plan together. The conversation may seem awkward at first, so try to answer some of the following questions:

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 and mentally sharp.

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? Many couples assume they’ll continue living right where they are, but never consider other options. Choosing to retire elsewhere can have financial advantages, such as downsizing from the family home or moving to a less expensive locale. Talk about what activities you want to engage in when you retire, as that might help pinpoint where to live.

You retire, but your best friends stay on the job. Suddenly, 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.

14_fall_2lg (2)Discuss what you and your spouse will enjoy doing together, and what you’ll do apart. Have you talked about splitting up the household chores? If one spouse chooses to work longer, the other may need to take on more housework than before. Also, consider how much time you’ll spend with children and grandchildren. Spouses may have very different ideas about this – as may your adult children.

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 a reliable level of income, ask your financial advisor about ways you might reposition assets to meet 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.

Remember, both spouses should be involved in money management at this stage, even if only one has held this responsibility throughout your marriage. Not knowing what may happen in the future, it’s important that both of you understand your finances and what should happen if your spouse passes away before you do.

The information contained herein has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete.

Asset allocation and diversification do not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.

There is no assurance any of the trends mentioned will continue in the future.