Expert Advice with Sam Saggers 02/10/2016
So you’ve had a chat with your financial advisor and worked out what you’ll need to do to prepare for retirement.
But, have you given some thought to both you and your partner’s expectations of what your day to day life will be like once you’ve retired?
Retirement requires a different mindset than the one you’ve got right now. Instead of simply building and saving you’ll be spending some of your nest egg.
While that may be disconcerting, it’s been the plan all along, right? You save and invest for a time and then begin to live life on your terms...take back your time.
Realise, however, that your personal money attitudes - those beliefs and habits which have shaped your life thus far - won’t change once you retire.
Are your expectations realistic?
The expectations you have of what life will be like in retirement can put a great deal of stress on your relationship if you fail to address them from the outset.
For example, would you rather be improving your swing every afternoon but your partner would rather you spend time with them? Or perhaps you and your partner have different ideas about how to spend your discretionary income.
Whatever conflict surrounding your time and money that you might face now, realise that if it’s not dealt with it will only be more keenly felt after retirement.
Traditional retirement planning
Traditional forms of retirement planning make assumptions that might not be true and fail to recognise that circumstances - and people - change over time.
It assumes that:
•You and your partner are still friends and want to spend more time with each other.
•That all forms of income will be spent on areas that both agree are important.
•That each person’s health, need to socialise and daily routine are the same.
While this may be true for some, what if you’ve worked hard and sacrificed all of your life for retirement only to discover that you and your partner are miles apart?
What if you believed that once you had more time on your hands or a certain amount of money in the bank that everything will be better...but it’s not?
It’s devastating when reality hits you and you’re left with the fact that your dream retirement is just that...a dream.
This is why it’s crucial to address these issues now rather than later.
Realistic retirement planning
Effective retirement planning should take into account different priorities between a couple in terms of:
• What to do every day
• How much to spend and on what
Your planning efforts need to focus on what it will take for each of you to live “well” rather than simply what it will take for you to become “wealthy”.
Issues to consider when planning your retirement
In addition to thinking about your daily schedule and how you’ll spend your money, it’s important to talk about the emotional side of retirement.
Certain fears, realistic or not, like dying homeless, running out of money and/or having to go back to work can strain any relationship. Often these fears can lead us to make decisions that might not be understood by our spouse or which may lead them to feeling hurt or resentful.
When you address these fears with your spouse - who may have fears of their own about your relationship, the kids or identity type of fears - you can put a plan in action to resolve them together.
Perspective is so very important. Realise that:
• More important than running out of money is your health and your relationships with friends and family.
• Overcoming, not succumbing to problems that will arise, is the mark of a successful retirement.
• Your retirement savings are meant to support the both of you, both as a couple and as individuals.
You’re individuals, not clones of each other
Remember why you and your spouse fell in love. Each of you have a unique perspective on life and you each have certain things that bring you satisfaction.
When you spend time doing those things you love to do you bring joy back to the relationship.
Don’t let yourself become resentful if your partner doesn’t want to have lunch with you every day or if they want to spend some time alone or with their friends.
It’s important, however, to strike a balance. Don’t be selfish with your time and/or money. When each of you give a little to the other you’ll enjoy retirement so much more.
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