We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.
~ Author Unknown
The Financial Post recently highlighted an interesting poll in which only half of the retired respondents said they shared the same vision of retirement as their partner. Whether you’re 20-something or 50-something, it seems like a good idea to think about what you picture for your retirement years. Obviously, the younger you are, the more likely that vision will change over time.
So hitting the finish line together and then asking “what now?” doesn’t seem like such a great idea. But I think you should definitely congratulate each other on making it that far together! Still, it makes sense to think about what you want out of retirement and periodically swap ideas with your partner. Then there’s the financial part. Can you afford to do the things you and your partner envision? What will it take to get you there?
Here are a few steps you can begin to take today to ensure smoother sailing later:
Set up a simple mock budget where you estimate your income from various sources (CPP, company pensions, RRIFs, TFSAs) and your expenses without kids at home, fewer groceries to buy, and hopefully, no debt.
- Will you keep your home or downsize?
- Do you want to travel?
- Do you intend to keep working at all?
- How much money will you need to achieve your vision?
- How will you fill your days?
- How much will your leisure activities cost? Walks in the park are free, but trips to Europe are not.
Evaluate the Information and Make a Plan
- Keep the lines of communication open. Make sure both partners are aware of the other’s goals and dreams.
- Respect your partner’s goals, even if they’re not the same as yours.
- Do the numbers add up? Will you have enough income to achieve both partners’ vision for retirement?
- What will you do if your vision is different than your partner’s? If you have follow the rules of engagement throughout your years together, this shouldn’t be too hard. Continue to apply them here. In all likelihood, if you’ve made it to retirement with your partner, you probably have at least some common goals. For areas where they don’t match up, you can negotiate based on your individual situation as a couple. Maybe one partner loves to go fishing and wants to buy a boat. The other partner may resent the expense, or just be happy that he/she doesn’t have to go on the fishing outings.
- Compromise is key. If one person’s goals are way more expensive, he/she may have to tone them down a bit to be fair.
Compatibility doesn’t always mean similarity, and in the end, it’s probably healthy for you to have things you enjoy with your partner as well as things you enjoy on your own or with a special group of friends.
Have you and your partner discussed your visions of retirement and their financial implications?