When it comes to spouses and retirement, it’s not uncommon for couples to get to the big day without having some important conversations. Some couples may simply put off these conversations, while others don’t even know they should be having them. Either way, getting on the same page can make the transition into retirement go much more smoothly. With that in mind, here are some ways that spouses can get on the same page about retirement.
Key retirement conversations couples should have:
Consider retirement goals individually: Early communication about retirement is a good thing, but it may help to answer some questions individually, so each partner has a starting point for their retirement goals. Each partner should think about where they want to live or how they intend to spend their time. It may help to think about whether it matters to be close to family or friends and what a fulfilling retired life may look like. At this stage it’s not so much about planning one’s retired life completely but rather about visualizing what retired life might actually look like.
Compare notes with spouses: Once partners have an idea of their retirement vision, it’s time to compare notes. It can be surprising to see how different a longtime partner’s goals can be. One partner may want to retire in the countryside while the other may see the retirement years as the perfect time to travel the world. This is a good starting point for a discussion about how to create a shared vision. Most of all, it’s important to make the conversation a judgement and criticism-free space where both parties can express their retirement hopes freely.
Focus on common ground: While some differences like these are inevitable, it’s important to focus on common ground and shared interests. For instance, both parties may want to age in place, or both may want to move closer to adult children and grandchildren. These common desires will ultimately form the foundation of the retirement plan, so they deserve focus.
Consider approaching a financial advisor: A qualified professional may be able to offer advice as to what savings plans and investments are best suited to a couple’s lifestyle. They may also contribute useful information about what a realistic retirement vision may be while helping the couple figure out which retirement goals are achievable.
A financial advisor can also help couples leverage their existing financial products. For instance, if one partner already has permanent life insurance such as whole life insurance, an advisor may help them understand how to strategically use the life insurance policy’s cash value in retirement (remember, using cash value reduces the death benefit).
The bottom line
Retirement planning for couples does not have to be daunting. With the right level of preparation, couples can look forward to retirement with confidence. Through honest communication and planning, couples can get on the same page about retirement and work as a team to achieve their goals.
The primary purpose of permanent life insurance is to provide a death benefit. Using permanent life insurance accumulated value to supplement retirement income will reduce the death benefit and may affect other aspects of the policy.
Source: Northwestern Mutual
Contact: Don Klein, 1-800-323-7033
Name: Don Klein Email: [email protected] Job Title: Assistant Director – Field & National Grassroots Public Relations