One way to ensure a happy marriage well into your retirement years is to create a retirement plan with your partner that will satisfy both of you. According to the 2018 Fidelity survey, 43% of respondents say they and their partners disagree about the age at which they’ll stop working and 54% disagree on how much should be saved. Economic conditions—layoffs, home-equity changes, and pension freezes—make synchronizing retirement planning even more important. Here are questions to ask:
- What are key retirement issues and what’s important to us? — Brainstorm individual wish lists, then compare notes. When do you want to retire? Will you work part time? Where would you like to live? What kind of lifestyle do you want? Do you or your spouse want to start a business, travel, or learn a new skill?
- How much do we have? — It’s imperative for spouses to know the value of their own retirement accounts as well as the value of their partner’s accounts. Couples should take time to sit down together with their most recent retirement statements and review details.
- Are we investing in sync? — Many couples make the mistake of not looking at their asset allocation as a household. Looking at each other’s investments can help each of you decide if you have proper asset allocation. You’ll be able to see if you’re exposed to more risk than you should be and if you have overlapping investments. It’s a good idea to choose a household allocation that will grow enough to cover the younger spouse’s life span. Each account does not have to be set up the same way. For example, the more conservative spouse might feel better holding a larger amount of bonds versus stocks. Also, be sure to examine the benefits of each of your work plans—look at employer matches, better investment choices, and lower fees.
- Will money affect timing? — When you retire can have a huge impact on the lifestyle you’ll be able to afford. If you or your spouse will be getting a pension, review details of payouts and what will happen if one of you dies. To estimate Social Security benefits, use the Social Security Administration’s Retirement Estimator.