If you are not on the same page as your spouse when it comes to retirement, the road can seem difficult. But according to Nick Holeman, a certified financial planner at Improvement, couples don’t always have to agree.
“It’s okay for you to have differences, but having that discussion and seeing things from your spouse’s perspective can go a long way,” says Holeman.
Holeman shares his six steps to synchronizing with your spouse about retirement.
STEP 1: Set Goals First
Holeman says it’s important to know your own retirement goals.
“We found that a lot of people weren’t clear on what retirement meant to them, and there’s a whole range of things that can mean for a lot of people,” he says. “If you don’t have clear retirement goals for yourself, it will be difficult to express what you want to someone else. ”
STEP 2: set clear and specific goals
Holeman says people find retirement planning intimidating because it’s too broad a goal. Instead, he suggests spelling out exactly what you want and how you plan to spend your time.
“Instead of saying, ‘I want to save for retirement,’ say, ‘I want to retire at 60, I want to spend $ 80,000 a year, I want to be able to visit my grandchildren and go on vacation. . Holeman said. “It’s a much more concrete goal that you can define concrete steps to achieve. ”
“Having clear, well-defined goals really helps you internalize what you’re saving for,” he says.
STEP 3: Share your goals with your spouse
Once you know what you want, you can strike up the discussion with your spouse and see where your goals match up and where you may need to compromise, says Holeman.
“This whole retirement discussion with your spouse comes down to a lifestyle choice: where will you live, what types of activities will you do? These things determine how much you need to save, ”says Holeman.
Holeman recommends having the conversation early and often so that you can work on ironing out your differences long before you retire.
STEP 4: Implement a plan
Holeman says that once you’re aligned with how you’re going to spend your retirement and how much you need to save, it’s time to decide how to start planning.
“The amount you save is just one of the many levers you have,” says Holeman. “You can increase the amount you save today, you can retire later, you can work part-time. You can adjust all of these variables to compromise and make sure you’re on the right track. ”
STEP 5: Decide where you are compromising
If you’re struggling to find common ground or arguing over what you should do to save money, Holeman recommends discussing each of your priorities so you can decide where to compromise.
“Not everyone will agree on everything, so it’s best to be upfront about the things you really aren’t ready to compromise,” Holeman said. “Then you can devote your time, effort and money to other tasks. ”
That could mean adjusting expectations about where you’ll live and how long you’ll stay in the workforce, says Holeman.
STEP 6: Keep communication open until retirement and beyond
Holeman says it’s important to remember that financial discussions don’t end once you reach retirement.
“You still have a lot of financial decisions to consider, and you need to maintain that openness and transparency,” says Holeman. “Make sure talking about money isn’t a forbidden discussion in your home. ”
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