A 2014 American Psychological Association survey showed that responsibility for financial decision-making often isn’t shared. And that’s not good, particularly when it comes to retirement planning, says Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, author of Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom and founder of the financial education blog AskTheMoneyCoach.com. “It’s very dangerous for either spouse to abdicate involvement in retirement planning,” she says. “It plays too big a role in your future lifestyle as a couple for both parties not to be involved and informed.”
Part of the challenge is that conversations about retirement touch on so many sensitive facets of life—saving, investing, lifestyle and mortality—that getting started can feel overwhelming. Richard Scarpelli, Head of Financial Planning at UBS Financial Services Inc., suggests breaking the process down into these five steps.
- Planning together is essential for a happy retirement.
- Share your retirement dreams with each other to get started.
- Discuss your timing, keeping in mind Social Security benefits timing, and easing the transition by staggering your retirements.
- Be sure to have long-term care plans in place.
- Discuss and align your savings and investing styles, bringing in your Financial Advisor to help you assess your strategy.
- Review where your financial and legal records are, so you both have access to essential documents.