Five Retirement Questions to Ask Your Spouse
The idea of retirement can generate a number of different emotions, including anxiety about post-employment life and excitement for the experiences to come. Unfortunately, it is rarely the impetus for a conversation between spouses. Married couples often discuss big issues such as whether to have children or when to make a major purchase, but fail to discuss life after work. A recent study confirms what many financial advisors already know: Couples aren’t taking the time to discuss and plan for later in life. The survey showed that 41% of couples disagreed when asked whether at least one partner would work in retirement, and 35% differed when asked about each other’s expected retirement age. Only 38% said they worked together on financial planning for later life. 1 The key to a secure – and enjoyable – retirement is to plan ahead. Discuss the following five questions with your Retirement today can look very different than it did for prior generations, who generally left the workforce between ages 62 and 65. Today, many people continue to work in some capacity after traditional retirement – some out of financial necessity, others because they enjoy their careers or wish to start new ones. Couples should ask themselves why they want to retire. Retirement should not be about running away from something; rather it should be about looking forward to something. 2. WHAT IS OUR VISION OF RETIREMENT – AND DO WE SHARE THE SAME VISION? Some people think of retirement as the end of work. Others view it as the beginning of new opportunities, a chance to finally do something they’ve always wanted to. Couples need to clearly understand what retirement will look like for each individual and for the two as a unit. Discuss what is most important to you, and seek to understand what is most important to your spouse. Make sure your expectations for retirement follow a compatible path. Identify where your goals diverge. 3. ARE OUR AFFAIRS IN ORDER SHOULD SOMETHING HAPPEN TO ONE OF US? Only 45% of adults in the U.S. have a will, according to a survey published by Martindale-Hubbell, a legal resources company. Only 41% have living wills, and just 38% have healthcare proxies. 2 Without these documents in place, your spouse may not know your wishes in the event of incapacitation or how to access your accounts when you pass away. It’s important for both spouses to know what assets are available and be able to access them easily. Simply compiling the contact information – names, phone numbers and account numbers – for each account is a great start. The next step is to get together with your financial advisor or estate planner to update beneficiaries on accounts, create a comprehensive list of assets and note where spouse today to prepare for an enjoyable retirement. 1. DO WE WANT TO FULLY RETIRE – AND IF SO, WHEN?
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