Have you or your significant other decided to plan for retirement yet? Far too often, couples go through life without paying attention towards their ever-approaching retirement age and are unprepared when that day arrives. That’s why laying the foundation for retirement is so important early on. Even if an IRA or Roth IRA savings account was opened or a 401(k) pension plan was already in place its still best to discuss and explore other ways of pooling sources together to maximize your retirement plan.
For couples looking to begin planning for retirement, some minimal steps that couples should take in order to prepare for retirement are: gathering, discussing, calculating, adjusting, and consulting.
Gather it up:
Since retirement is the time when a couple moves from having a steady income into the household to a life on a more fixed-income, it is important to know what you have. The first step any couple should take in retirement planning is to gather all of those up. This includes property owned, bank accounts, and retirement accounts.
In addition to making sure there are up to date records of all assets and liabilities, each member of a couple should think about numerous (often difficult) things. These include when to retire, what retirement will look like, what to leave behind to loved ones, long-term health care, and what end of life care should look like.
Discuss it with your significant other:
Meet with your significant other and talk about what you both want your retirement to look like. Together, you should create a plan based on the questions both of you previously thought about separately.
Run the numbers:
Once you’ve talked, it’s time to see what it will take to achieve your goals. This can be accomplished through online calculators (a comprehensive calculator is available through the AARP here) or by seeking professional guidance from a financial advisor.
Adjust your finances if necessary:
If you find yourself short of your goals for where you want to be in retirement, some financial changes will likely be in order. A great way to increase the amount you’re saving for retirement is to maximize your yearly contribution in your employer-sponsored retirement savings program, if one is available. Another great way to save for your retirement is to begin maximizing contributions to an IRA that is held by you and your spouse. Both of these strategies allow you to not only save more but take advantage of some tax benefits as you save as well.
Consult the experts:
Once your plan for what your retirement should look like is agreed upon, it’s time to go consult some experts to get the plan laid down clearly. Seek out qualified financial planners, attorneys, and accountants to help bring the plan to fruition. Often, too many couples discuss but never put anything in motion and it gets them nowhere.
If you’ve achieved all of the steps, celebrate with your significant other. You have accomplished something that few do before retirement is knocking on their door. By planning early, a lot of stress is avoided and you have an idea of what the future will look like.