What’s Your Retirement Vision?

Nov 3, 2018

Do you have a vision for how you will spend your retirement? If you have a spouse or significant other, does it match theirs?  Chances are it doesn’t, according to recent surveys. Having a conversation now to establish your retirement expectations will likely increase your chances of a smooth transition.

According to recent surveys by Fidelity Investments and the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies®, there is a good chance that your vision for retirement may not match the expectations of the one with whom you plan to spend that time. Unless resolved, this difference can greatly impact your financial security.  It is important that you agree on the anticipated retirement costs early so that you can save appropriately.

Below are a few of the issues that may create a disconnect between you and your retirement partner:

  • Lifestyle Issues.  This is a huge item, because your spending needs in retirement will determine how much you need to save.  Alarmingly, Fidelity found nearly 4 in 10 couples disagreed about their expected retirement lifestyle.  One person may be thinking of retiring to a simpler, lower-cost lifestyle while the other envisions continuing or even increasing current spending levels during retirement.

  • Where to Live.  According to the Fidelity survey, 36% of couples either don’t agree or don’t know where they plan to live during retirement. One may want to move to a warmer climate or closer to family while the other may like their current location. Needless to say, this is a potentially divisive issue. If no agreement can be reached (or by design) you may end up splitting your time between locations.  If so, be sure to factor into your retirement savings plan the cost of either buying or renting a home in a second location.

  • Travel Budget.  Many couples envision traveling more after retirement.  If this is your dream, then be sure to factor additional dollars into your retirement budget.  The Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies® found that while 60% of people dream of traveling in retirement, only about 20% have explicitly factored travel into their financial plans.

  • Work Income.  Will you continue to work in some capacity after you leave your current job and transition into retirement?  The Fidelity survey found significant discord between couples, with one-third not agreeing on whether they will continue to work or not.  Then, consider the Transamerica survey which indicates that only 29% of those working today plan to stop working altogether in retirement. This means there is an expectation by most workers of continuing some level of earned income. However, reality is much different.  Of those currently retired, 61% never worked in retirement. There are likely a variety of reasons, but this means that counting on earned income to meet retirement expenses may not be realistic.

Retirement Date

Your answers to the above may provide insight into the biggest question regarding “when” you will retire.  Obviously, the earlier you retire, the more time you have, but your money needs to last longer. How much retirement can you afford?  Coming to agreement with your spouse or significant other regarding your expenses in retirement will allow you to determine the financial resources that you need to accumulate before you take that step.  Projecting your potential savings and the growth of your investments will result in determining the age at which you can retire without fear of running out of money.  

Summary

For many of us, retirement is the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  We work hard during our careers in the hopes of having some time to relax and enjoy life. What no one wants is for retirement to cause friction between partners in what are supposed to be the golden years.  Simply assuming you know the other’s plans can be very dangerous.

The obvious solution is to sit down together and talk about what each expects from retirement. As is often the case, you may have to compromise. Importantly, you should not wait to have this conversation. The earlier you know exactly what retirement will look like, the longer you have to plan and save for it.  Following your conversation, reassess your savings and make adjustments accordingly to ensure you are able to meet your new retirement expectations!

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We have helped our clients answer these questions and more. If you want a clear understanding of your financial future, and need help making changes to reach your goals, schedule a consultation and we can get started.

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