Law & Daily Life - The FindLaw Life, Family and Workplace Law Blog

Pre-Retirement Checklist for Married Couples

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.

Pre-Retirement Checklist

As you begin planning for retirement, ask yourself and your spouse these questions:

  • What do you want to do?
  • Where do you want to live or travel to?
  • Who do you want to spend time with?
  • When do you want to start?
  • How in the world are you going to pay for it all?

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:

  • Does your employer provide a 401(k) or other retirement program or benefit? And have you been participating in it?
  • How much will you receive from social security?
  • Do you have savings or other passive income.
  • Is your money tied up in real property, investments, or collectible figurines?
  • Do you have room in your budget for fun activities, like travelling?

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.

Related Resources: