Comprehensive retirement planning is essential if you’re going to enjoy the kind of life you’ve always wanted after you stop full-time work. But if you’re married or otherwise in a long-term relationship, the title of the old song comes to mind: “It Takes Two.” This recent article from NextAvenue is a timely reminder that couples need to make sure they’re on the same page in certain critical areas regarding retirement in order to avoid major conflict down the road.
Couples and Retirement: Make Sure You Plan Together, Not Separately
“There is plenty to consider when you’re headed into retirement,” says NextAvenue. “You need to establish a plan to support the rest of your life, the years you’ve looked forward to enjoying through countless clock punches over the last several decades. If you have a spouse [or a partner], it’s a good idea to make these considerations together.” Now, there’s an understatement. Planning together is far more than “a good idea” – it’s vital to retirement success.
The NextAvenue article lists some specific topics to review in detail with your significant other. These are a good place to begin, and could be excellent conversation starters next time you two are together. But we also encourage you both to attend a LifePlanning Seminar with Rajiv Nagaich, because he’ll do a great job of bringing to mind important considerations you hadn’t thought of yet. We’ll say more about LifePlanning Seminars at the end of this article. Meanwhile, let’s dive into a few of the points from NextAvenue.
Couples and Retirement: Your Monthly Budget
Failure to establish an accurate retirement budget can create huge tension in a relationship since one or both of you might be completely unrealistic about how retirement will affect income and spending. “As you move into retirement, it’s wise to think about your budget,” says the article, and we agree. However, even in strong couples, “Financial conversations can tend to present some complications.” We all know that money can be among the biggest sources of marital friction.
NextAvenue offers some simple first steps. Start talking honestly with your spouse about your retirement wish list. Discuss your hopes and dreams, and then figure out what it might take to turn those dreams into reality. “Framing your budget in the context of considering what it adds to your life, rather than what it takes away, makes the discussion that much easier,” the article says. “After all, if you’re in constant worry that you’re going to run out of money, it’s nearly impossible to enjoy all the other benefits that the retired life brings.”
Couples and Retirement: Your Social Life
Retirement usually promises more time, freedom and flexibility – but that can put pressure on a relationship, especially when one partner has been at home more than the other. Suddenly you’re both in the same space all day long, and tension can result. Honest communication about the hopes and fears each of you has is a good start. Maybe retirement will mean new hobbies, either together or separately. Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you have to be joined at the hip.
Having extra time frees you up for a rich and vibrant social life, but here again you need to make sure you and your life partner see eye to eye. “Do you want more or less social interaction? The conversation can provide you with the motivation and inspiration you need to follow through on maintaining a healthy social life.” If one of you is an extrovert and the other more introverted, negotiating your social life becomes even more essential to happiness.
Couples and Retirement: Your Location
If a “dream retirement” means a condo in town to one of you and a cabin in the mountains to the other, you have some negotiating to do. Don’t act in haste (for example, buying a house in a place you enjoy vacationing). “Whatever kind of environment you’re planning on living in during retirement, it’s important to make plans with your spouse in advance,” says NextAvenue. “Planning things out gives you much more control and agency over your choices.”
It’s important that each partner make his or her wishes known. “Don’t be shy when voicing your preferences to your spouse,” says the article. “If your spouse wants to stay in the home [in which] you raised your family, while you worry about the amount of space as you age as well as level of upkeep, have an open and honest conversations about how your needs may change as you age. When you explore your options in advance, you are far more likely to reach a decision that is satisfactory to both of you.”
Couples and Retirement: Your Lifestyle
“You can expect to have plenty of conversations with your spouse as you plan your retirement,” NextAvenue says. “However, none of them are as important as determining what kind of lifestyle you want.” Retirement gives people the chance to live in a way they never could before – but all those choices can be daunting at first.
Everything from personal goals to family and friends to leisure time should be on the table when you and your partner start talking retirement. “If you are more interested in traveling the world together or catching up on a lifetime of reading or learning how to woodwork, let him or her know,” says the article. When you both share the same lifestyle goals, you’re well on your way to retirement living without regret.
Couples and Retirement: Your LifePlan
If you’re ready for a serious and productive conversation about retirement planning, you and your spouse or partner have an easy decision ahead of you: come join Rajiv Nagaich at an AgingOptions LifePlanning Seminar. Rajiv will untangle the knot of confusion surrounding retirement planning as he shows you with clarity how all the “puzzle pieces” actually can fit seamlessly together: finances, legal affairs, medical coverage, housing plans, and family communication. A LifePlan uniquely integrates all these components into a blueprint that will allow you – single, married, or otherwise in a long-term relationship – to build the type of retirement you’ve always hoped for.
We offer a complete calendar of currently scheduled seminars on our Live Events page, and we’re updating it regularly. We’ll hope to see you soon at a LifePlanning Seminar with Rajiv Nagaich.
(originally reported at www.nextavenue.org)