How Can I Talk About Retirement with My Spouse?

How Can I Talk About Retirement with My Spouse?

May 10, 2018

Multiple studies show that many couples aren’t on the same page with their retirement vision. A Fidelity Investments study found that 47% of couples disagree about how much money they need to maintain their current lifestyle in retirement, 50% disagree on their exact retirement age, 33% disagree about how comfortable their retirement lifestyle will be, 40% disagree about their expected retirement lifestyle, and 36% either don’t agree or don’t know where they plan to live during retirement.1

These disconnections can cause significant problems down the road and negatively impact your retirement and financial plans. It’s important for you and your spouse to talk about retirement, starting with a few simple steps.

Review Your Current Financial Position

Often, we get so caught up in the here and now that we forget to review our financial position and needs with our spouse. On a regular basis, plan to sit down with your spouse and talk about your retirement planning progress.

One easy place to start is to use an online retirement calculator, which can give you an approximate idea of where you currently are based on your age, income, current savings, how much you’re saving for retirement, and when you want to retire. While you shouldn’t base your entire retirement savings plan on these calculations, they can help you see if your savings align with your goals.

Share Your Finance and Wellness Goals

It’s important that you and your spouse agree on two big areas of lifestyle decisions: finances and wellness. Have a conversation with your spouse about:

  • The timing of your retirement: When will you retire? Will one or both of you fully retire and not work? How will you retire on your timeline?
  • Changing roles: Now that your career no longer defines you, how will you find fulfillment?
  • Time spent together and apart: How will you find a healthy balance for both of you?
  • Family: How much time will you dedicate to friends and family?
  • Living situation: Where will you live? How much space do you need? Do you want to be in the center of the city or away from the crowds? What resources do you want nearby?
  • Health: How will you maintain your health? What resources do you need easy access to?
  • Lifestyle expectations: Will you maintain your career lifestyle or live on a tighter budget? How will you allocate expenses? Can you afford travel and hobbies? How will you handle potential financial stress? How can you avoid financial stress and worries?

Share Responsibility

It’s important for both partners in a relationship to share the responsibility for retirement planning and investment decisions. For one, as you likely share finances, you both should understand where your money is going and how it’s being used for your future. Additionally, it’s easier to work together toward your goals if both of you are actively involved in setting them and working toward them.

This also means that both of you should have a say in your retirement and investment goals, including when you want to retire, what your lifestyle should include, and how much risk you’re willing to take with your portfolio. This is another reason why working with an advisor can be helpful, as he or she can help you establish financial strategies that encompass both of your needs.

Enlist the Help of an Objective Third-Party

Sometimes the best way to start the conversation is to work with an objective third-party, such as a financial advisor. A financial advisor can work with you and your spouse together to review your financial landscape, identify any gaps in your coverage, assist you in establishing short and long-term goals, help you stay on track, and provide professional and knowledgeable advice.

As a financial advisor, I enjoy working closely with couples and helping them establish healthy financial habits and pursue their retirement goals. If you have questions about your retirement goals or more ways to communicate about your future retirement, I’d be happy to help. Call my office at (949) 221-8105 x 2128, or email me at

About Mike Loo

Mike Loo is an independent financial advisor with more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. His mission is to make a meaningful impact on the lives of clients and the people they care most about, help them make educated decisions with their money, and build a strong financial foundation for both themselves and their next generation.  Mike is committed to meeting a high standard of excellence, taking the time to listen to clients’ needs, and designing strategies that aim to help clients save money and reduce debt. He seeks to fit a client’s investments into their life and educate them so they’ll understand their investments. To learn more about how Mike may be able to help, connect with him on LinkedIn, call his office at (949) 221-8105 x 2128, or email him at

Mike Loo is a registered representative for LPL Financial. Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SPIC.  Investment advice offered through Trilogy Capital Inc., a registered investment advisor. Trilogy Capital Inc. and Trilogy Financial are not affiliated with LPL Financial.


1 “2015 Couples Retirement Study Fact Sheet.” Fidelity Investments. 2015.