If you’ve never talked about retirement with your spouse, you’re not alone. But it’s a crucial conversation if you want your retirement dreams to become reality.
Thirty-six percent of couples say they haven’t even thought about a retirement plan, and 47% of couples disagree about how much money they’ll need in retirement, according to a Fidelity Investments survey of 1,051 couples in 2015.
“People are more comfortable talking about sex than money,” says John Schwartz, author of “This Is the Year I Put My Financial Life in Order” and a reporter who covers climate change for The New York Times. “It’s so emotionally fraught that it’s a topic a lot of people just avoid.”
How to begin
The million-dollar question that undergirds all other retirement questions is: Are your savings on track to support your desired future lifestyle? Working together to determine this, perhaps using a retirement calculator, can help start the conversation.
Thinking about retirement can be tough for some people. They might associate it with getting old, or a relative’s gloomy nursing home experience. If that’s true for your spouse, plan your conversations carefully.
Don’t bring up retirement when either of you is stressed or tired, says Syble Solomon, financial behavior specialist and creator of Money Habitudes, an online game for figuring out your attitude toward money.