We all have our retirement dreams. Some couples dream about retiring early, rich, and in a tropical location, while others just want an RV and a ticket to ride. When couples start planning for retirement, the big question is always whether their goal is actually achievable? This isn't just a financial question, but also a question of pragmatism.
After you have settled on the basic idea, you need to figure out the who, what, when, where, and most importantly, the how.
As you begin planning for retirement, ask yourself and your spouse these questions:
The more realistic you are at this stage of the planning, the higher the likelihood that you will actually reach your goals. Don't be afraid to make a few different plans to see which one is the best.
Measure Twice, Always Measure Twice
To actually devise your plan, you will need to know what all your monthly and annual expenses are going to be during retirement. This includes rent or mortgage payments, electrical and gas bills, car payments, car/home/renters insurance, as well as Medicare or other health insurance/prescription costs. Then, you need to figure out how those expenses are going to get paid:
If you don't know how to answer these questions, don't hesitate to seek out a professional financial planner. In fact, if you're even thinking about planning for retirement, go see a financial planner so you can confirm what's on your retirement checklist.
Prepare for the Unknown and the Unfortunate
With the way aging works, your plan, no matter how many times you measured, can get completely derailed with one single accident. A slip and fall at 30 is not the same at 70. Having a retirement plan that makes sure you can be flexible in case of unforeseen circumstances is essential.
For married couples, make sure you know what happens when one spouse passes. If the primary bread-winner spouse dies first, you should know what happens to the employer-provided retirement. Make sure surviving spouse is not left with nothing. And while you're planning for retirement, get your will done and complete an advanced directive in case of medical emergencies.