Retirement Planning for Couples

Estimated Read Time: 4 minutes

Key Takeaways:

  • Retirement planning is complex, and adding a partner to the mix can add another layer to that complexity. The best way to address concerns is to talk openly as a couple for retirement planning.
  • Consider things such as climate, proximity to loved ones and livability when deciding where to live in retirement.
  • Do you know when you want to retire? Make sure to have this conversation with your partner to avoid any unwanted surprises.

Planning for retirement as a couple can be tricky. Matching your lifestyle and financial goals with those of your spouse could be challenging at times, and (as you may well know) you may not see eye to eye on every aspect of life. And the overall financial cost of your goals combined will affect how you plan for retirement savings, investment and income. Despite potential disagreements, we believe the best thing you can do is talk.

Talk About Retirement with Your Partner

Consider this: Some couples who have lived together for decades may not necessarily know how their spouse envisions retirement. Partners may be envisioning different lifestyles, holding images in their minds that may not match. It might be wise to get on the same track.

Here’s a start. Do you both want to live in the same place? Might you prefer a change in climate? Perhaps you desire a change in scenery, like living near the beach, moving closer to the city or escaping to the countryside. Perhaps you prefer to live closer to family members or close friends.

Whatever your aspirations, make sure you and your spouse honestly discuss your desired retirement lifestyle. List and compare priorities and potential costs. Once you understand what you both value, you can identify which items resonate and which ones may require compromise.

Where Do You Both Want to Live?  

Deciding where to spend the rest of your lives in retirement is a big decision. And choosing a location will largely influence your lifestyles. There’s a lot to consider when narrowing down your potential retirement locations, such as neighborhoods, shops and facilities, community resources, proximity to friends and family and more. Here are some questions to answer honestly and see which are most important to you and your partner.

How close to family and friends? Think of how easily your family and friends can visit you and vice versa. If living closer to them is critical to enjoying retirement, then consider a location that keeps you close to loved ones and provides an environment that suits both your needs.

Is climate important? Some retirees dream of moving to a different location to enjoy their retirement years. A big part of a location’s allure may be its climate or seasonal weather. Get to know your spouse’s dream environment to find a place where both of you might be content. You may consider settling in two locations if your budget allows.

Have you considered your total cost of living? Aside from your regular expenses, take into account your total cost of living. Think about how the cost of living might impact your retirement savings or retirement plan. For example, consider the cost impact of location. Living in an upscale metropolitan apartment will generally cost more than a cabin in the woods; living in a high-tax state might be more expensive. Another critical consideration is the cost of healthcare. Since your healthcare needs may grow over time, locations with better access to healthcare services may be attractive in the long run.

Do you want to rent or own? You should discuss with your spouse the pros and cons to each. Whether you rent or own ultimately depends on your longer-term goals and financial situation. For instance, if you have sufficient liquid assets for income and cash flow, and you plan on settling permanently, then you may prefer owning versus renting or leasing property.

What type of home? This decision depends on how you plan to use your space. If you plan to spend a lot of time together, keeping guests to a minimum, then an apartment or condo might work. If you plan to host family events, then you might need a larger space. If you plan on taking up an outdoor hobby, such as gardening, then a yard is a must!

When Should We Retire?

Many couples retire around the same time. If there is an age gap, the younger spouse might want to work for a few more years. With a longer work history and (hopefully) higher salary, some younger spouses may continue collecting a steady income to improve their financial situations and add to their employer-sponsored pensions or retirement plans. Other spouses just love their work and wouldn’t mind earning full-time or part-time income past retirement age.

You should also consider how much you would like to retire with. How much annual income might you need? Are you looking forward to additional retirement income prospects such as a pension, Social Security benefits or other retirement savings?

You can estimate how much income you would need each year and how much of that would come from your total retirement savings. Sources of income and savings to include are investments, Social Security and other forms of income, cash flow, revenue or salary.

Fisher Investments Can Help

Fisher Investments has helped thousands of couples plan for and enjoy their retirement together. We can help you analyze your personal situation and recommend a portfolio strategy aimed at helping you plan for your necessary retirement income or other long-term investing goals. If you and your spouse have retirement accounts or just need help planning for retirement, contact Fisher Investments to speak with one of our qualified representatives today.

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