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Attention couples: Are your retirement visions aligned?

July 9, 2019
Michael Mechler CFP® CBEC®
Michael Mechler CFP® CBEC®

You might have a picture in your mind of the perfect retirement: when you’ll retire, where you’ll live and how you’ll spend your new leisure time. But if your spouse doesn’t share the same vision, your golden years could quickly tarnish.

Are your retirement visions aligned?


Individuals generally think of retirement planning in terms of whether they have enough money in their account to sustain retirement expenses, but they often don't consider that their spouse may have a completely different expectation of retirement. 


Communicating your visions with each other (the sooner the better) is just as important as setting up your finances. The questions below can help you open a dialogue and set the stage for a happily-ever-after retirement with your loved one.


When do you want to retire?

Share your ideal retirement age and consider whether you both would like to retire at the same time. Our Wealth Manager online platform and your financial advisor can help you determine if your chosen retirement age is adequate for you to achieve your goals.


Spouses should prioritize their goals — such as retirement age, annual expenses, travel, home improvements and so forth — to make compromising easier when needed. This helps to determine the appropriate solution to help you achieve your goals, whether that might mean working longer or spending less, for instance.


What are your retirement expectations and goals?

When you picture retirement, what does every day look like? Will you go to the gym, take a part-time job or do charity work? Maybe you want to travel, spend more time on hobbies, or with friends and family. Do you want a quiet, low-stress lifestyle or to stay active? Do you hope to relocate, downsize or simply stay put? Having those expectations planned out will make the transition easier.


What are your retirement concerns?

Addressing your concerns can help provide confidence in your planning and relieve stress. For instance,  if you worry about the possibility of an extended care need due to family medical history, you might want to consider products that help protect your portfolio against those expenses, such as long-term care insurance. Similarly, if you fear running out of money or the financial impact of one spouse passing away sooner than expected, you might adjust your investment strategy and planned retirement budget accordingly.


How will you manage your money?

Next, discuss your financial goals. For instance, do you want to fund a grandchild’s college education, leave a legacy to family or a favorite organization? Do you want to spend money on travel and hobbies, or do you want to spend sparingly?


Also consider how your financial picture will change in retirement. Which expenses might decrease (like mortgage payments) and which might increase (like healthcare costs)? What income streams will you have and how do you anticipate managing withdrawals?


Then reassess your risk tolerance levels and investing styles. Aim for your spouse’s investments to complement yours so your portfolios work together and put you on track to meet both your retirement goals. 


Compromise and review

As you progress through these questions, bear in mind that spouses often have different answers — and you don’t always have to agree. Compromise can be golden and simply understanding each other’s vision, so neither of you is unpleasantly surprised, is the most important point.


Realize that your answers may change over time, so this isn’t a one-time conversation. Commit to revisiting these topics on a regular basis. If you’d like objective, third-party help navigating these sometimes difficult conversations, let us know. Hancock Whitney Wealth Manager has digital tools — available for use in the comfort of your home or in person with an advisor — that can help facilitate the discussion and build your customized financial plan to reach your shared retirement dreams. Sit down with an advisor and get a complimentary financial plan today. 


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The information, views, opinions, and positions expressed by the author(s), presenter(s) and/or presented in the article are those of the author or individual who made the statement and do not necessarily reflect the policies, views, opinions, and positions of Hancock Whitney Bank or Hancock Whitney Investment Services, Inc. Hancock Whitney Bank and Hancock Whitney Investment Services, Inc. make no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information presented. This information is general in nature and is provided for educational purposes only. Information provided and statements made should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal, or tax advice. Hancock Whitney Bank and Hancock Whitney Investment Services, Inc. encourage you to consult a professional for advice applicable to your specific situation.


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