By Ryan Velez
As a couple, there are many financial things you need to consider in order to have a successful relationship together, from joint bank accounts to future investments. Along with these, The Network Journal published a recent article talking about making the ultimate long-term financial decision as a couple: how to save for retirement. Many couples may be thinking about aging parents or children during the years leading up to their retirement, but not taking the time to discuss this is a major mistake. Here are a few of the major topics you should cover to make sure you are on the same page.
Perhaps the obvious thing to talk about is simply what retirement means for each of you. Perhaps you are looking forward to slowing down, maybe pursuing some new hobbies at home, making more time to spend with family, or simply relaxing. At the same time, you may want to go in the other direction, traveling across the world. It’s not impossible to balance these two aims, just be sure to plan it out now so everyone gets what they want. On top of this, make sure that you plan to retire at the same time. Some push back their retirement in hopes of saving more money. In fact, a 2011 Fidelity study found that 62% of couples didn’t agree on the appropriate retirement age.
When you decide to retire, there is also the issue of hashing out how much is too much when it comes to spending. In order to avoid resentment, make sure that you have an idea both on what your full funds are as well as what you are willing to spend. Also, there is the basic but awkward issue of what to do if either of you passes away. Both of you should be aware of pension rules, Social Security changes and insurance payouts. It’s easy to think that one of you will be able to get by on half of the money, but things are rarely as simple as that. In addition, if you plan on leaving things to your children, do not make the mistake of thinking it is an automatic process. Use a qualified financial professional and attorney to make sure that everything is set up properly.
As a final piece of advice, be sure to not fear disagreement. The stakes are high when it comes to retirement, and you both should take things seriously, which can lead to differing opinions. Also, don’t be afraid of bringing in an outside professional, be it a financial advisor or marriage counselor. With these steps, you will be able to ensure a happy retirement for both of you.