Couples: Is Your Retirement Vision in Sync?

by Craig Moser on June 15, 2018

Daydreaming about retirement can be a lot of fun.  And if you’re married, you’ve probably been thinking in terms of when “we retire, we’re going to … (fill in the blank)”.  Unfortunately, fantasy doesn’t always translate to reality.  You need to have a serious conversation with your spouse to ensure your retirement vision is realistic and possible. Here are some questions to discuss during your retirement conversation.

When Do You Claim Social Security?

A 2014 U.S. Census survey found only 13% of couples are the same age. Because your individual age i determines when you qualify for Social Security benefits and how much you receive, it’s an important consideration in retirement planning. You can file anytime between the ages of 62 and 70.  However, the earlier you file, the lower your monthly benefit check.  Conversely, the later you file, the higher your monthly benefit check.  It’s important to understand social security and how it impacts your retirement vision.

Who Has Better Healthcare Coverage?

Even with Medicare, Fidelity estimated a 65-year-old couple retired in 2016 needed $230,000 for medical costs.  In addition, another $130,000 was needed for long-term care expenses.  It may be wise for one of you to remain in the workforce to keep healthcare coverage.  If you’re over 50, consider maxing out your traditional and Roth IRAs rather than spending $13,000 a year on medical bills. Doing that for only five years adds an $65,000 to your retirement savings (before any investment returns).

Where Will We Live?

After leaving the workforce, many people relocate.  It may be a matter of moving closer to children/grandchildren, to an area where the cost of living is lower, or to a warmer climate. There are also some people that aren’t open to moving anywhere under any circumstances.  If you and your spouse haven’t specifically discussed this topic, make time to do so. You want to make sure you’re both on the same page.

What Makes Us Happy?

All the planning and excitement of racing toward the working finish line might lead you to forget the things you actually enjoy about working.  Retirement will definitely shake up your routine and it may be tempting to fill the days spending on grandchildren, trips, or other purposes.  A 2016 Employee Benefit Research Institute study showed only 48.6% of retirees were “very satisfied”.  Figure out how to fill up your days with things that make you happy without breaking your bank.

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