As a married couple, you have spent your lives building hopes and dreams together. You have worked tirelessly to raise a family and live your lives in accordance with your goals, values, and priorities. You have worked hard for yourselves, each other, and the community you live in.
Each phase of your marriage has encountered changes and challenges which have helped you grow stronger, together. Another phase that signifies a big transition for spouses is retirement. Retirement marks a new season in life and a new season in your marriage.
Preparing for this season takes time, strategy, planning, and grace to get right. Creating a retirement plan that will honor both of you is a tall order, but one that can be accomplished with the right professional help and by starting with the right conversations.
Today, we would like to bring you a post that delves into the big questions that you and your spouse should talk about as you navigate your retirement plan. Remember, these conversations are merely starting points and their answers may change as you move in and through retirement.
Financial conversations are ongoing. Establishing a foundation of trust, transparency, and honesty will help you both find the meaning and fulfillment you desire in your golden years. We are going to tackle 4 unique aspects of retirement planning today. Let’s start the conversation.
1. What kind of retirement do you both want?
We love talking about the big questions here at Step by Step because they get you thinking in a broad context. It is important to understand the type of retirement that both of you want because the answers might surprise you. Maybe you are interested in pursuing an encore career or pursuing part-time work in your current field and your spouse doesn’t want to do that at all.
Taking the time to talk about what you both want and how you envision retirement will help you create a plan that makes sense for both of you. As you navigate this big conversation, it will lead to many subsequent factors like
Where you both want to live
How you want to spend your time
In what ways you will remain active both physically and mentally
How you will find meaning and fulfillment
How you can enhance not only your own lives but the lives of your family and community at large
Your dream retirement may be to stay in the house you raised your family in, remaining in your home town, and dedicating time to family, philanthropy, volunteering, and passion projects. No matter what, be sure that you talk with your spouse about what your dream retirement looks like and how your visions can complement each other.
2. What financial decisions will help you both reach your ideal retirement?
Now that you have a general idea of the type of retirement you as a couple is looking for, you will need to determine how you will be able to support those dreams.
The first step will be to take a look at your existing savings plan.
Have you created a concrete savings goal?
Are you on track for your savings goal? If not, what adjustments can you make to get you back to where you need to be? If you are, how can you maintain motivation and inspiration to keep moving in that direction?
Are you regularly contributing to your existing retirement accounts? (401k, IRA, etc.)
Have you considered your investment strategy? Is it still serving your needs or does it need an adjustment?
Have you factored in healthcare costs into your equation?
Finances are such an important piece of your retirement plan and as you near retirement, taking another look at where you are and where you need to go can help you refine your plan. Working with a financial advisor who knows you, your family, and your retirement goals can help you create a customized plan to help you reach the retirement lifestyle you want.
Lifestyle and financial goals work in tandem to help you build a retirement plan that works.
As you near retirement, it is also important to start thinking about a retirement budget. Saving money is very important, but how you use that money is just as important. Take the time now to draft a retirement budget.
What will your fixed expenses be?
What expenses will fluctuate?
How can you create a spending plan that gives you the freedom and flexibility to live your life the way you want?
3. How will you maintain your charitable efforts through retirement?
Charitable giving has been an important part of your life together. Planning for how you want to optimize and maximize your charitable giving in retirement will help you put a workable plan in place.
One excellent avenue to consider is a donor-advised fund (DAF). You can think of a DAF as a charitable investment account. You are able to set up the account and donate money whenever you want throughout the year and select which charities or organizations you would like the funds to support through a third-party manager.
DAFs are a great way to establish an active practice of giving and provides you the opportunity to involve your family and loved ones in the process as well. By using a DAF in retirement, you will be able to include charitable giving as part of your regular retirement spending plan. This infuses charitable giving into how you structure your financial life.
Another important strategy for retirees to give to charity is through a qualified charitable distribution (QCD). This strategy allows you to donate money directly from a Traditional IRA to a qualified charity. Donating through a QCD is another excellent way to build giving into your financial plan. Since a QCD is donating assets, new retirees won’t have to sacrifice immediate cash needs in order to donate the way they want.
These vehicles also allow you to Include your kids and grandkids in this process and passing down your charitable inclinations to them. You can use your charitable efforts as a medium to help you establish your legacy.
We are passionate about giving through your retirement and are happy to help you create the right giving strategy for you and your family.
4. How will you continue to establish and live your legacy?
Legacy planning is so important and one that doesn’t have a start or stop time. Your legacy is embodied each and every day you live your goals, values, and priorities.
It is teaching your grandkids the value of giving back, it is spending quality time with the ones you love, it is doing the things that bring joy and fulfillment to not only yourself but also others. Your legacy starts today.
How will you continue to build that through retirement? Perhaps you will want to dig deep into philanthropy and volunteering. With the extra time you have, perhaps you will use your time and talents to serve your church and community in a more active way.
The most important thing is that you use the gifts that you have to better serve the community. If you are a gifted speaker, perhaps you organize a presentation series or if you are savvy with finances, maybe you sit on the financial board of your church. No matter what, your legacy isn’t just about what is left behind, rather what you build each and every day.
Retirement planning is a detailed process that takes proper time and attention to get right. At the end of the day, your retirement plan starts with building dreams with your spouse and getting the right plans in place to turn those dreams into a reality.
Here at Step by Step, we seek to empower couples to create a retirement plan centered on meaning, fulfillment, giving, and enrichment and would love to help you find that. Schedule a call with us today to find out more.