How to talk about retirement with your spouse
When it comes to planning your golden years, it's important that you and your partner are on the same page.
Imagining retirement, like dreaming of vacation or if you win the lottery, can be fun. But what if you and your spouse are picturing very different things? Getting on the same page with your significant other early on can help you to plan a successful retirement.
Talk about goals
You and your husband/wife/partner don’t have to agree on everything about what you expect in retirement but you do need to figure out how to weave the two dreams together. Whether you want to downsize, travel more, indulge in expensive hobbies or something else, write down your retirement vision. Then compare it with your spouse’s vision. Now think about what you would need to make those dreams a reality.
Questions you want to try to answer include when you want to retire, what you see yourself doing in retirement and how much money you will need for a comfortable retirement. how much money you will need for a comfortable retirement. It may require some compromise to create a shared retirement dream.
Discuss savings styles
Now that you know what you are aiming for, you need to figure out how you are going to reach those goals. Basically who is going to save what. Also, what life decisions will affect how you save. If one of you plans to take time out of the workforce to raise children, you’ll need to compensate for that.
Look into your retirement saving options -- including what is offered through your workplaces. If your company offers a match to 401k plans, make sure to take full advantage. Look into IRA options to supplement your workplace plan or in case your company doesn’t offer one.
Make time to talk
The best time to open this (and all) financial discussion is early in the relationship. But don’t talk about retirement once and forget it. Your retirement goals may evolve over time. Perhaps you take on a passion project that you want to continue into retirement that either makes or requires more money. Maybe early retirement is more appealing or an opportunity to continue working part time for longer. Your goals can change so set a regular time to re-assess.
Maybe early on you should consider having the conversation once every five years plus at the time of any major life changes like buying a house, having a child, switching jobs, etc. Then as retirement gets closer, you may want to discuss it annually to make sure you are on track for the retirement of both your dreams.
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I hate articles like this. Write down your dream and decide how to make it happen? Ok my dream is to retire in a luxurious villa on the beach in Hawaii and fly back to the mainland 2-3 times a year to visit family. How do I make that happen? Win the lottery?
The grim reality is that for MOST of us retirement is going to be about survival not travelling the world. And those who can afford to travel the world don't really need to worry about how they are going to make that happen.
How about an article on how people, especially boomers need to reallign their dreams with reality and plan accordingly.
One day a fisherman was laying down on a beautiful beach, with his fishing pole sticking up in the dirt and his single line cast out into the shiny blue surf. He was enjoying the heat of the afternoon sun and the hope of catching a fish.
About that time, a republican came walking down the beach, trying to relieve some of the stress of his workday. He noticed the fisherman sitting on the beach and decided to find out why this fisherman was fishing instead of working harder to make a living for himself and his family.
"You aren't going to catch many fish that way," said the republican to the fisherman, "you should be working rather than lying on the beach!"
The fisherman looked up at the republican, smiled and replied, "And what will my reward be?"
"Well, you can get bigger nets and catch more fish!" was the republican's answer.
"And then what will my reward be?" asked the fisherman, still smiling.
The republican replied, "You will make money and you'll be able to buy a boat, which will then result in larger catches of fish!"
"And then what will my reward be?" asked the fisherman again.
The republican was beginning to get a little irritated with the fisherman's questions. "You can buy a bigger boat, and hire some people to work for you!" he said.
"And then what will my reward be?" repeated the fisherman.
The republican was getting angry. "Don't you understand? You can build up a fleet of fishing boats, sail all over the world, and let all your employees catch fish for you!"
Once again the fisherman asked, "And then what will my reward be?"
The republican was red with rage and shouted at the fisherman, "Don't you understand that you can become so rich that you will never have to work for your living again! You can spend all the rest of your days sitting on this beach, looking at the sunset. You won't have a care in the world!"
The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, "And what do you think I'm doing right now........
The title "Honey about your retirement..."
Here's the rest of the article: "We don't have any money saved, so you're going to work until you die. Thanks! We love you".
How NOT to start *any* conversation (this is for you ladies)...
Seriously. You might as well stick us behind the ear with an ice pick.
I'm sure most couples don't have to dance around like this quite as much, but I'm sure it's a pretty good point of friction for many (especially if they're having trouble putting money aside). Still, if they can take baby steps to start gathering some information about what each other wants or expects, it will be much easier when it gets closer (biggest are probably living arrangements, potential timing, and hobbies as opposed to jumping straight into the money and savings aspect).
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