Five things to discuss with your spouse before you retire

You may have a vision for your retirement, but does your spouse share that vision?

A recent study by Fidelity Investments found that many couples are not in accord about retirement. For example, one-third of couples approaching retirement disagree about or don’t know where they are going to live after they retire, and 62 percent don’t agree on their expected retirement ages.

Here are some important things to discuss with your spouse as you get ready to retire:

1. When to stop working. Many factors go into a decision about when to retire, including job enjoyment and financial needs. But you’ll also want to plan how to maximize your Social Security benefits. There are a number of different strategies for when each spouse should file for various types of benefits, and couples who do it wrong can leave a lot of money on the table.

2. Finances. Both spouses need to understand their financial situation. The Fidelity survey found that very often, one spouse is much less involved in planning retirement finances than the other, and might not be ready to manage financial affairs should the need arise.

3. Lifestyle. Do you want to travel? Volunteer? Or relax on a beach somewhere? It’s important to have a conversation about your hopes and dreams for retirement. You can start by creating individual wish lists and then comparing them.

4. Health care. Make sure you and your spouse have adequate health care coverage, either from Medicare or an employer-based plan. You’ll also need to understand the rules regarding Medicare coverage and when to sign up for it.

5. Long-term care. Unfortunately, one or both spouses will likely need some type of long-term care at some point. There are things you can do to make it easier on yourself if the need arises. Talk to your elder law attorney about putting a plan together – doing it early will save lots of headaches and expense later.

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