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Pre-Retirement Talks - What Do Couples Need to Consider?

Retirement is a major life milestone and it’s harder to achieve than ever; older workers make up the largest portion of employment growth since 2000. If you’re preparing to leave the workforce, then, it’s more important than ever that you and your spouse are on the same page, so before you give notice, it’s time to have a sit-down. You need to see eye to eye on these three factors before you take further steps towards retirement.

A Question Of When

One of the first factors you and your spouse need to consider when discussing retirement is the age at which you intend to leave the workforce. Do you want to plan your retirement so that you both stop working at the same time, or would you rather stagger your retirement ages? In many cases, one spouse may opt to retire first and take on other household planning tasks, while the other continues earning money and provides ongoing structure to the household’s daily patterns.

Assess Your Savings

Another important consideration as you approach retirement is whether or not you and your spouse have saved enough to live comfortably. Unfortunately, most people don’t have enough money set aside, which means you’ll need to address your retirement budget and decide when to start drawing Social Security benefits. The underlying premise of Social Security is that you’ll receive slightly less money over a greater number of years if you draw early, and more money each year if you begin taking benefits later. Though experts have varying opinions on the best age to opt into your benefits, it’s ultimately most important that you and your spouse reach an agreement based on your savings.

Defining Retirement

Finally, as you draw up your plans, make sure that you and your spouse have a shared vision for your retirement. Do you plan to travel? Will you stay home? Are you going to downsize? That vision will dictate whether you’ll have added savings, such as from selling a house, how much your spending patterns will change, and even how you get along during your post-employment years. Retirement is meant to be enjoyed, but you and your spouse need a common vision of what that enjoyment entails if you’re going to keep the peace and stick to your budget.

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