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6 Smart Retirement Planning Tips for Couples

There is a lot of financial planning to do when you’re a couple. Building a home together, paying bills, putting together a vacation fund, saving for college for the kids ... it’s simply a part of our everyday lives. And then, of course, there’s retirement. 

“It’s a lot of fun to dream and think about what retirement will look like for you and your partner.” says Kristine Tilton, Executive Director of Waterstone at Wellesley. “Many of us dream of taking a once-in-a-lifetime trip, or spending long afternoons on the beach or doing any number of things we’ve put off for years. In order to make those dreams happen, though, you need to match your future planning with your financial planning.”

It’s easy to push retirement planning to the side, she says, because there’s so much else that has to happen in our day to day lives. But she urges couples to not let that happen. “Working together towards a common goal is the best way to ensure your golden years are the best time of your lives,” says Kristine. “It won’t happen on its own, so it’s up to you and your partner to understand each other’s needs, goals and expectations.”

Although it may be hard work at first, Kristine says that it’s never too late for couples to take steps towards retirement planning. “Every little bit is better than nothing,” she says. 

She should know. She’s seen many retired couples reap the benefits of smart retirement planning when they’ve come to live at Waterstone at Wellesley. “At Waterstone at Wellesley, we understand that retirement is the time for couples to enjoy life and fulfill the dreams they’ve been working towards, so we make it our mission to deliver a rewarding, carefree and enjoyable retirement lifestyle,” she says. “Nothing makes us happier than helping a couple who’ve done their smart retirement planning to live their golden years in the way they want and deserve.”

6 Tips for Smart Retirement Planning As a Couple

Hammer out your long-term goals.

Do you and your spouse know what a perfect retirement looks like – for each of you? Before you make any long-term plans, sit down together and talk about what an ideal retirement means to you. One of you may dream about traveling for 10 months out of the year, while the other may prefer to remain at home and write the next American novel. Understanding what each of you want out of retirement will allow you to reach common goals and move forward to a shared ideal of what your future lifestyle will look like.

Save for retirement together. 

You may have his-and-hers retirement accounts, but for your actual retirement, it should be looked at as “your” money – not yours-and-mine. If both or one of you is still working, are you setting aside enough pre-tax income in your 401(K)? If your spouse doesn’t work, have you considered putting together a spousal IRA or another form of investment? The best way to make decisions about how to fund your retirement is to take your goals (which you’ve already discussed), look at your assets and determine how you can use them as sources of income for the years ahead. (Hint: meeting with a financial planner may be a good idea.)

Be strategic about claiming Social Security. 

Should you both take Social Security at age 62? Wait until age 70? Should one of you draw first while the other waits? Spouses have an opportunity to maximize their income from Social Security by timing their claims. What’s best for you and your spouse will depend on your situation, age and other factors. Again, one of the best things you can do is sit down with a financial planner to discuss retirement planning, with Social Security being one leg of your retirement funding. 

Think about the type of lifestyle you want. 

The rule of thumb when it comes to planning for a comfortable retirement is to be able to replace 80% of your current income. However, some couples will be able to live on much less than that, while others may be considering ramping up their lifestyle spending in retirement. You and your spouse should discuss what the right lifestyle looks like for you (sell your home and downsize? Move to an independent living community? Buy an RV and travel the country?). Knowing what your desired lifestyle should be will help you manage your spending thoughtfully in retirement. 

Don’t retire at the same time. 

If you and your spouse both work and are about the same age, the idea of retiring at the same time sounds like a lot of fun. However, retiring from the workforce can be a lot more difficult than people realize. There are many adjustments – mentally, emotionally and financially – that someone needs to make after they retire. When both spouses retire at the same time, there are two people going through that transitional period, which can add up to a lot of adjustments and a lot of changes that can be hard for two people to handle together. However, if spouses stagger retirement, each partner will be able to better define their daily hobbies, hopes, social life and routines on their own – and can help the other spouse when it’s time for them to retire.

Stay in shape.

This may seem like a strange tip to put in an article about retirement planning. However, staying in shape is one of the best gifts you and your spouse can give to each other in retirement. Getting enough exercise, eating right and visiting the doctor regularly will help you keep your health in peak condition – cutting down on your healthcare costs and needs, and allowing you to remain as active and independent as possible in your golden years. Having sufficient energy and good health will give you and your spouse the tools you need to enjoy your retirement to the fullest. 

For more information about our distinctive independent lifestyle, please contact us at 781.235.1614.

Beautiful Riverfront Community

Located on the banks of the Charles River, Waterstone is Wellesley’s only senior living community, offering premier independent and assisted living. But that’s only the first of many differences that sets Waterstone above and beyond other communities.

Celebrating Dynamic Living

Here our residents live independently in their own private, spacious apartments – but without any of the worries or concerns of homeownership or living alone. All meals are expertly prepared. There aren’t any chores to be concerned with. No home maintenance or repairs to worry about. Just opportunities around every corner and time to spend as they choose – in the company of new friends.

Our vibrant community encourages residents to engage in a variety of recreational, cultural and social programs and activities. Enjoy a fitness class. Swim in the sunny indoor pool. Take a stroll on a walking path. Partake in a favorite hobby or pastime. Discover a new interest. With Waterstone at Wellesley, there’s a world of opportunity waiting right outside our residents’ doors. 

Confidence of Care

The hallmark of Waterstone assisted living is the peace of mind we provide both our residents and their families. Knowing that care and support is available right on site instills a sense of confidence and calm one can’t find living alone. 

For prospective residents or their families interested in residing at Waterstone at Wellesley, please contact us at 781.235.1614.