When we approach retirement years, we start to conjure up ideas about what life will look like. Everyone has goals and fantasies about the years after work, when children are grown and out of the house, and time is free to spend however we wish. Still, money, lifestyle, and inevitable mishaps are things that every couple needs to address in a grounded manner. It’s important to go into retirement with a plan that both partners feel secure about. Haven’t had that talk yet? Here’s how to have a good conversation about sharing your senior years wisely.
Know What You Want
Our desires are sometimes rather elusive. We want to have a nice house, but what does nice even mean? We want to have an active life, but consisting of what activities? Sit down and think about how you’d like to design the next portion of your life. Why do you want these things? What do they fulfill? Look at money, too. What’s realistically achievable? How do you envision annual spending? Understanding what you want and why you want it means you’ll have a productive conversation with your spouse. By the same token, ask your spouse to spend some time thinking on it, as well. If both of you are informed, then you can have a productive conversation.
Be Clear on the Details
When you do sit down with one another, you should know and communicate the details of your goals. It isn’t enough to say I want to save money. You should say I want to have this much money to spend each year, and then explain why. If you do this, then your ideas are heard, your concerns are voiced, and you’ve established a base to work from.
Make a Plan For Both of You
No doubt your spouse has some different ideas for the future. That means the two of you should look at money and desires, and make some compromises. Maybe you need more money than you anticipated, which means working for another five years to ensure there’s enough cash. Or maybe you need to cut some dreams, or at least alter them to fit into what will be the reality. Both of you should be willing to make changes for the other person. Know what you can give up, and what you must have. It’ll make the process a lot less painful.
Next, make a plan. It should start today, and continue through retirement. As you build, check in to make sure both partners are happy with the entire plan. It doesn’t work if you both aren’t on board.
Continue to Communicate
Even after you’ve come up with a working, well-thought out plan, there will be bumps in the road. Or changes of heart. Maybe retirement looks a little different than you anticipated once you get there. Continue to talk about all this, and alter your plan as needed. The idea is to be happy and funded. So keep talking, and make changes along the way. Continue to communicate, and you’ll have a wonderful retirement.