No matter how aligned you and your spouse may seem, there are sure to be road bumps in any marriage. Don’t let planning for retirement be one of them. There are many strategies when it comes to saving for retirement and everyone may have an individual style or approach. When it comes to timing, you and your spouse may have very different ideas about when is a good time to leave the workforce.
1. Define ‘Retirement’
No matter what stage you are at in your career, you probably notice that there is a shift in retirement trends. More women are in the workforce and have their own savings and outlook on how they want to live in retirement. There is also a strong inclination toward gradual retirement as well as longer working lives. Many Americans are taking on part-time work or maintaining their own business or consulting service well past age 65. This means retirement is no longer necessarily one drastic transition, but often a multi-part process. This means there is a lot more for couples to negotiate.
2. Talk It Out
Communication is key in any decision. The question of when to retire involves many factors — money, job satisfaction, age difference and future plans. Will you both retire at the same time? Will either or both of you work freelance or part time? Will you move or stay put? Will you travel or live simply?
In addition to these factors, it’s a good idea to consider your marital happiness and how you work better (with some alone time, with separate projects, etc.). It’s important to be confident and clear when you communicate your vision and priorities with your partner. If you are not able to do it on your own, you can always seek professional help through financial advisers, marriage counselors or both.
Depending on what you want or your partner feels he or she needs, you may think about taking on new roles. If you were once the breadwinner but your spouse is willing to work more if you could contribute more to the family, you may be able to step back. Meanwhile if you are unhappy in your position, you may need your partner to take the reins while you look for a more fulfilling job.
3. Make the Plans
Once you have reached an understanding and hopefully a compromise through speaking openly and honestly with your spouse, you may think you are all set. But, having a detailed plan on how to get there can make all the difference. How much will you have to save each month to reach your retirement age goal? Once you’ve figured that out, it’s a good idea to make a new budget that accommodates that. Debt can also be a huge weight on your retirement savings. You can see your lifetime cost of debt here to see what you’ll be looking at spending to borrow. A better credit score can lower that total, so check your credit scores for free on Credit.com to see where you stand and what you can do to improve your credit.
You also want to think about locations — some places are better for retirement than others, tax, weather, and living cost wise. You may also need to consider health factors and access to the care you or your partner may need as time goes on. Will you need to move to reach your retirement goals? Are you able to? Or do you want to move once you retire and how will that impact how much you need to save?
So even if your spouse doesn’t have the same ideas about retirement saving or timing as you do, it’s important to communicate and make plans to get you both there.
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