Have you and your spouse discussed your retirement plans? In the 2017 study, Age Wave/ Merrill Lynch, “Finances in Retirement: New Challenges, New Solutions” showed that only 16 percent of pre-retirees older than 50 feel prepared for a 20-year retirement.
Personally, I found that to be a truly sobering statistic. As a Certified Financial Planner™ I’ve seen the importance and difference working with a professional to develop and follow a financial plan can make. Also, I know there is a significant need in our country to help individuals plan their finances and retirements. However, I was shocked to see a number less than 20 percent!
This got me thinking, “could this number be lower for married couples?”. I believe it’s possible. One of the first questions all planners and professionals will ask when meeting a new client or prospect is, “Are you married” or “Do you have a partner”. Part of the reason we ask this is to get to know the individual and their situation. If a client is married or has a domestic partnership we need to know because that will play a major role in the planning process.
Often, I have sat down with individuals to begin planning and after asking if they were married or had a domestic partner the answer has been, “Yes. But, they don’t want to be involved or they won’t understand.” This response has always bothered me and I try to tactfully impress upon the client three major reasons to plan together.
1. If you are married it’s a partnership! Meaning, your actions impact them and their actions impact you. Finances and saving for a secure retirement certainly fall under the umbrella of actions that will have a huge impact in the life of you both. If for no other reason, this one should be enough to include the partner/ spouse in the conversation.
2. I am well aware some couples choose to keep their finances separate. That’s great. If it works for you I’m not going to insist you change it. However, there is another important reason to include your partner in your retirement planning conversations. It’s the respectful thing to do. I have often seen situations where one of the partners is left out of the conversation. Either completely left out by not being in the room and part of the planning process or in the room and given no input. A key component for any relationship is communication. If one partner doesn’t have any input (at least a discussion about their values and priorities), how well understood and heard could they feel?
3. While some partners truly are uninterested and may not want to attend every meeting it is vital to the survival of the overall plan that they are at least somewhat involved in the planning process and some of the ongoing review meetings. Life happens. The good, the bad, the planned for, and the unforeseen. The unforeseen can happen anytime to any of us. This is why partners should be included in at the very least some level of planning. They need to know who to contact and where assets are held in the event of an unforeseen event happening to their spouse who typically cares for the finances. What if this unforeseen event leaves the spouse either permanently disabled to the extent that they are no longer able to take care of the finances or worse the event of death. Such cases happen and can make an already stressful situation even more stressful for the surviving spouse.
For these reasons, planning with your partner or spouse becomes very important. With only 16 percent of the pre-retirement population reporting that they feel prepared for retirement, the first question should be, “Have you begun planning?”. If so, when did you last review that plans to see if it still fit your situation or how well you were moving towards/ away from your goals?
The second question for you to ask should be, “To what degree has your spouse been involved and included in the planning process?” If they not, it’s time to review your plan with them or to create a plan that reflects both you’re your goals and priorities.
Remember, a good financial planner will help to open communication between you both to identify these goals asking questions to facilitate discussion and they will help to create a retirement plan that is reflective of you both and will work to ensure that you both are informed and educated about your plan. Also, should you ever face an unforeseen accident or emergency, your planner can help to guide you or your spouse as needed to work through the financial situation and needs.
If you don’t have a trusted advisor, you’re unsure or have questions about your investments/ financial life, and are located in California or Alabama, Castle Wealth Advisors, LLC would be happy to discuss your situation and offer guidance. You may schedule a complimentary initial conference call to discuss your particular situation and receive a personalized plan pricing quote. Check us out at Castle Wealth Advisors, LLC to learn more about services we offer for retirement planning or to understanding the difference in working with a Certified Financial Planner™.
This information is general in nature and may be subject to change. Financial professionals and other representatives are not authorized to give legal, tax or accounting advice. Applicable laws and regulations are complex and subject to change. Any tax statements in this material are not intended to suggest the avoidance of U.S. federal, state or local tax penalties. For advice concerning your individual circumstances, consult a professional attorney, tax advisor or accountant.
Securities offered through NMS Capital Advisors, LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory products and services offered through Castle Wealth Advisors, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor. NMS Capital Advisors, LLC and Castle Wealth Advisors, LLC are unaffiliated entities.