Retirement is usually a milestone event for many married couples. It’s something for which you and your spouse have been working and saving for nearly your entire adult lives. Now that you’re only a few years, or maybe even a few months, out from retirement, it’s a good time to take stock of where you are and where you’re going.
Even though retirement is usually a positive and celebratory event, it can also create stress and even conflict between spouses. If you both retire at the same time, you may suddenly spend more time together than you ever had before. You could have differing ideas about how to spend your time or money. You may have different priorities.
You can avoid many of these complications by having conversations about what each of you want out of retirement. By understanding each other’s goals and concerns, you can work together to craft a retirement that works for both of you.
Below are three retirement conversations every couple should have. If you haven’t had these discussions, now may be the time to do so.
How will we handle a health care crisis?
An unfortunate truth in retirement is that the older you get, the more vulnerable to health care issues you may be. While injuries and illnesses can take a physical toll, they can also be financially challenging. In fact, Fidelity estimates that the average 65-year-old couple will spend $245,000 above and beyond Medicare coverage during retirement.1
Talk with your spouse about how you will handle serious and costly medical issues. Do you have a health care savings account (HSA) you can use to pay for bills and care? Do you have a long-term care insurance policy that can be used to pay for assisted living or in-home care? What about other sources, such as home equity? And can you rely on your children or other family for support?
Talking about health challenges may not be pleasant, but it’s a critical conversation. If you have a plan in place, you can get the care you need without threatening your financial stability.
How much money can we afford to spend?
This is a big question that has to be answered if you want to have a financially stable retirement. If you and your spouse aren’t on the same page with regard to finances, it could create serious conflict and make for an unpleasant retirement.
Think about what might happen if you’re very concerned about spending, but your spouse thinks there is plenty of money available. Could you get angry because of their spending? Could they grow resentful of you because of your tight control of the finances?
A helpful step is to work together to create a budget. Even if only one of you usually handles the finances, make the retirement budget a cooperative project. That way, you can both be aware of how much income is coming into the household as well as the amount of your fixed and discretionary expenses.
What are our goals in retirement?
Retirement can mean different things to different people. For some, it’s a time to travel the world, take up new hobbies and experience all of the things they couldn’t do while working or raising a family. For others, though, retirement may be a time to slow down, relax and enjoy friends and family.
You might assume that you and your spouse are on the same page when it comes to retirement. Are you sure, though? What if you find out that your spouse would like to retire to their favorite vacation destination? What if, instead of retiring, your spouse wants to go back to school or start their own business?
Retirement opens up all kinds of possibilities, so it often causes people to consider routes and pursuits that they may not have thought about before. Check in with your spouse to see what they’re thinking. If you have differing goals, that’s OK. The key is to find a compromise that’s satisfying for both of you.
Contact us at Trinity Financial Group. We can help you and your spouse have these conversations. We welcome an opportunity to analyze your needs and goals and work with you to develop a strategy. Let’s connect today and start the conversation.
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15836 – 2016/6/23