Ideally, the road to a secure retirement starts the day you and your spouse exchange wedding vows.
However, for most people, retirement is not at the top of the list when they embark on married life. With sound financial planning and good communication, you can look forward to your Golden Years together, secure in the knowledge that you taken appropriate steps to make your marriage ready for retirement.
Retirement: A Major Financial and Lifestyle Change
If you were to ask several people at random to describe what retirement means to them, you would get different answers from each one. The “traditional” picture of spending one’s retirement puttering around the house and working on hobbies is no longer the norm for today’s active seniors. People are living longer, healthier lives. Many people want, and expect, retirement to be a kind of “second act” where they will get to do things they didn’t have the time or money to do when they were younger.
For some people, that may mean stopping work entirely and moving from an employee collecting a salary to drawing an income from their investments. Other people, either from choice or necessity, continue working past the standard retirement age of 65. They may choose to start receiving their Canada Pension Plan benefits at age 60. If they choose this option, it will mean receiving a lower monthly benefit than if they had waited until age 65 to start receiving payments.
Starting a business is an option for some retirees. They want to stay active and have the time to devote to getting a new venture off the ground. For others in this age group, staying active involves volunteering their time for an organization that can benefit from their knowledge and experience.
It Pays to Have a Plan for Retirement
For many couples, retirement is a vague concept. During the years when they are focused on paying down a mortgage and raising a family, contributing to their RRSP may not be their top priority. Unless a couple has a clear idea of what they want their retirement to look like, they run the risk of getting to the point where one or both spouses will be about to leave the workforce and they will be looking at each other thinking, “Now what?”
To avoid that unfortunate circumstance, a couple should talk about their hopes and dreams for retirement. This is the starting point to making them a reality. Sitting down with a financial advisor early on can help to clarify the steps necessary to break them down into goals.
Over time, the goals for retirement may change. A good financial plan should have some flexibility in it to account for unexpected circumstances that may come up along the way.
Start to Get your Marriage Ready for Retirement Now
It’s never too early in your marriage to start talking about the retirement that you both want. A good way to discuss your goals is by asking some open-ended questions. Here are a few to help you get started:
- At what age would you ideally like to retire?
- How do you see yourself spending a typical day in retirement?
- Would you like to live in the same city or would you consider relocating?
- If you are interested in moving, how much would it cost to live somewhere else?
- Is downsizing to a smaller house or an apartment part of your plan?
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