My husband and I are thinking about money long-term (sort of): retirement in less than ten years. I’ve been researching money and marriage tips, and found these helpful tips for couples considering retirement on our bank’s website (thank you, RBC! Hopefully this article will help me pay the mortgage).
I’m also editing and rewriting my previous “money management and marriage” blog posts, and thought I’d combine something old and something new. So, in this article you get five money and retirement tips from the bank, and five old money and marriage tips from my archives. All ten tips will help you cope with the fear of running out of money.
How do you and your husband start talking about retirement? Of course you want to ensure that it’s a healthy, productive conversation about money (not a big fight about where to retire!). Naturally you want to keep an open mind and support and respect each other’s opinions.
The bank has a great idea (as all banks do, don’t they? That’s how come they’re so rick). This financial writer — who is anonymous — advises retiring couples to follow the classic 5 “W”s – who, what, where, when and why.
5 Money Tips for Retiring Couples
Here’s how you can use the 5 W’s to start your retirement conversation, and avoid surprises the day after you leave work.
1. Who will retire first?
It’s a good idea to start with “who.” As in, who will retire first? While you might have been thinking that you will both be retiring at the same time, this might not be practical for a few reasons. If one of you is older than the other, it might be better for that person to retire ahead of time. At the same time, if one of you has a flexible work arrangement, you might be able to enjoy some of the benefits of retirement while maintaining a paycheck. Or, if you just want some extra cash to finance retirement, staggering your retirement may make good sense (financial and otherwise).
Now is the time to start dealing with money problems in your marriage.
2. What will you do when you retire?
You might want to travel, while your husband really just wants to stay put after a career of business trips. That’s not something you want to discover after you’ve both retired, as it has some pretty hefty lifestyle and budget implications. Have the conversation now to plan how you’ll fill your time. And if you’re not aligned at the moment, talk through your goals and priorities and figure out how you might be able to accomplish what’s most important to each of you.
Keep in mind, there are many hours in the day to fill. And while you might have some bigger picture retirement goals, you might not have considered what your day-to-day life will be like. It’s a good idea to discuss your daily retirement routine as well as your greater ambitions (such as travel, a business, a move) well before you bring your box of desk contents home.
3. Where will you live?
A huge money question for retiring couples: will you stay in your current home? Will you downsize? Are you interested in moving closer to family or closer to the sun? Is a second home something you want to explore, so you can split your time between the two? Now is the time to talk about where you plan to live in your retirement, and do the math to make sure you can achieve your vision.
If you’re moving, read Deciding Where to Live in a New Stage of Life.
4. When will you and your husband retire?
When will you retire? If you’re hoping to have enough money, you need to start making concrete plans. You may have one target date in mind, while your husband has another. Having a sense of when you will retire will help to kick-start your planning. At the same time, make sure you have a plan B should retirement come sooner than you expect. According to an Angus Reid survey 48% of respondents retired earlier than expected due to circumstances out of their control. Make sure you and your husband can be financially flexible and ready for the unexpected.
5. Why are you answering these questions about money and retirement?
Why are you answering all of these questions the way you are? Have you put a great deal of thought into your retirement at this point, or are these just off-the-top-of-your-head responses? Think about why you want to do certain things in retirement, and carefully assess if this is really what you want to do. Remember, you don’t have to live your grandparents’ retirement – the world is open to you and you have so many options for how you live the next 30 years or more.
Planning your retirement will require a number of conversations – with your spouse, your financial advisor, your family and your employer. Staying ahead of the game by ironing out as many details as early as possible will help you create a smooth transition into retirement. And when you and your husband are on the same page right from the start, you’ll be in a great position to make the most of the exciting years ahead.
Can you and your husband answer these questions together without fighting? If not, read How to Solve Money Problems in Your Marriage.
5 Money Tips for Married Couples Not Retiring Yet
Marriage and money can live happily ever after! These money tips for married couples start with a financial roller coaster and end with respect for different money personalities.”
“Money, says the proverb, makes money. When you have got a little, it is often easy to get more. The great difficulty is to get that little.” ~ Adam Smith.
True, but not helpful.
Changing how you think about money (your money beliefs) can help you solve your financial problems. These financial tips aren’t about money management, household budgets, or achieving financial goals in marriage – they’re about creating a better relationship with money and with your spouse.
1. It’s best to prepare for the worst
Even if you and your husband are both savers who never disagree about how much to spend on a gift or groceries, you’ll probably face financial difficulties sooner or later. Dealing with money issues in marriage is normal, and certainly doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with your relationship! The key is to ride the ups and downs of debt, income, and household bills without losing sight of the big picture (how to achieve your financial goals).
2. Learn about your money beliefs
Do you think you don’t make enough money, or you’re “bad” with money? Do you believe your husband spends money carelessly, or doesn’t understand how to take care of the household finances? Negative money beliefs in marriage will stop you from getting more money and keep you stuck in old financial habits. This limits your ability to manage your wealth (much less create a household budget!). One of the best financial tips for married couples is to learn about each other’s money personalities – which often stem from your childhoods.
3. Put your money personalities to work
Are you naturally good at balancing the checkbook, and your husband good at shopping for bargains? My husband is the financial investor in our family, and I’m the penny pincher who makes sure we get an annual vacation in an exotic location. Right after learning about each other’s money personalities, it’s important for married couples to work with their strengths. For example, some partners love to take care of the household budget, while others are more comfortable making investments. To successfully combine money and marriage, focus on what comes naturally to both of you.
4. Pick two or three “money mentors”
Ignore the money and marriage horror stories of bankruptcy, home foreclosures, and getting taken to the cleaners. Instead, focus on creating a financially harmonious marriage. A great tip is to pick a “money mentor couple” or two (married couples who have succeeded financially, even if that “just” means saving $10,000 for a car or down payment on a house). Spend time with them. Pick a money mentor couple you can rub shoulders with in person, and a money mentor couple you can learn from online, on TV, or on the radio (such as The Money Couple).
5. Visualize your ideal marriage and money life
If spending and debt are a challenge in your marriage, you need to find practical financial tips to get your money back on track. But the less practical, more esoteric habit of visualization can work wonders! Visualize a happy marriage and money life (and what that means is different for every married couple). You could visualize saving $25 a week or feeling more in control of your finances. If you’re struggling with debt, talk to someone you trust – who is good with money – about money management.
If money is keeping you stuck in an unhappy or even abusive marriage — and you can’t wait for retirement! — read How to Leave Your Husband When You Have No Money.
Is your relationship in trouble? Get 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage from relationship coach Mort Fertel. It's free and helpful, no strings attached.
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