Planning for retirement as a couple often requires compromise and agreement, so read on for three tips that might help you navigate this life transition.
Three Considerations for Navigating this Life Transition
Planning for retirement as a couple can be an exciting process. You and your spouse have built a life together and now you get to think about how you’ll enjoy your golden years. However, couples may face unique challenges that don’t impact single people planning for retirement – specifically, the need for compromise and agreement.
As you and your significant other discuss the future, you can use the tips below to help guide as you navigate the process together.
Tip #1: Set Your Preferred Timeline
One important detail to consider as you plan for retirement as a couple is the timing. Many couples choose to retire simultaneously, which can lead to less stress and disagreement. In some cases, however, it is not possible for both spouses to retire at the same time – or they may choose not to.
As you consider your timeline, keep in mind that retirement can bring emotions including jealousy. – Household responsibilities may need to change, too, and a lack of clarity on who is doing what might create conflict. As with any life transition, you’ll benefit from having thoughtful discussions beforehand. It’s never too early to begin sharing your vision of retirement with your spouse, including your preferred timing. So, get the conversation started and begin working toward clarity on your retirement timeline and lifestyle.
Questions to Ask:
- When do we want to retire?
- What does daily life look like in our early, mid, and late retirement years?
- Do we have individual retirement savings strategies that can be combined and strengthened?
Tip #2: Talk Through Your Existing Financial Commitments and Portfolio Risk
Once you’ve agreed on a general timeline for retirement as a couple and discussed your lifestyle, it’s important to evaluate what might get in the way of your plans. Do you have individual or joint debts? Do one or both of you pay child support or alimony? How long will your finances be impacted by these commitments?
This is also a good time to discuss each of your comfort levels with risk in your investment portfolio. Often, a couple may have differing views. For example, you may be in favor of taking on more risk in order to grow your assets aggressively, while your spouse or partner may prefer the greater security and lower stress levels associated with taking on less risk. Working with a financial advisor on your investment strategy is one way to help find a balance that suits you both.
Questions to Ask:
- What amount of debt or preexisting financial commitments do we each have, and for how long?
- What do we feel about risk now and after we retire?
- How can we purposefully manage our risk while still gaining exposure to opportunities for growth?
Tip #3: Make Educated (Joint) Decisions About Social Security
Whether you are part of a couple or not, we believe it’s important to be informed about your Social Security options. However, these decisions can be more complicated when you’re married. For one thing, how much Social Security you get as a couple depends on whether you choose to take your own benefit or a spousal benefit (and when). In addition, your spouse’s timing in claiming Social Security benefits can impact the amount of your survivor benefits. Making a joint plan to get the most out of your Social Security can help you utilize it to strengthen your retirement planning.
The Social Security Administration offers resources to help you explore your options.
Questions to Ask:
- Do we sufficiently understand our options for claiming Social Security?
- Will our income in retirement mean we will pay taxes on our Social Security benefits?
- Can we wait until age 70 to claim benefits in order to maximize the monthly amount?
Would You Like to Learn More About Planning for Retirement as a Couple?
Every couple’s retirement needs are different. That’s why it’s often helpful to work alongside a professional to plan your joint retirement.
At Aviance Capital Management, we offer personalized wealth planning and investment management advice designed specifically for you and your family. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you plan for retirement as a couple, please schedule a call with us today. We look forward to hearing from you!
Aviance Capital Partners, LLC (“ACP”) is an SEC registered investment adviser located in Naples, Florida. Registration as an investment adviser is not an endorsement by securities regulators and does not imply that ACP has attained a certain level of skill, training, or ability. While information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date, ACP does not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. Not all services will be appropriate or necessary for all clients, and the potential value and benefit of the ACP’s services will vary based upon the client’s individual investment, financial, and tax circumstances. The effectiveness and potential success of the retirement planning strategies discussed depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to the manner and timing of implementation, coordination with the client and the client’s other engaged professionals, and market conditions. The information provided is general in nature, which should not be construed as specific advice tailored to an individual reader. ACP suggests that readers consult a financial professional, attorney or tax advisory professional about their specific financial, legal or tax situation. All investment strategies have the potential for profit or loss, and different investments and types of investments involve varying degrees of risk. There can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment or investment strategy, including those undertaken or recommended by ACP, will be profitable or equal any historical performance level. Additional information about ACP, including its Form ADV Part 2A describing its services, fees, and applicable conflicts of interest and its Form CRS is available upon request and at https://adviserinfo.sec.gov/firm/summary/146597.