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3 Avoidable Mistakes People Make In Retirement Planning
Updated: January 13, 2021 |
Taylor Kovar, CFP

Retirement Planning for Couples: 3 Traps to Avoid

Spoiler alert: you won’t be young forever. Some day you will retire.

Everyone. Now, what that looks like is up to you. Will you be knitting and porch sitting? Or starting your own side hustle and traveling the world? Either way – you want to enjoy it, and the happiness odds increase if you avoid these 3 mistakes people make in retirement planning.

People like to talk about money, money, money for retirement. But who is talking about the time you spend in retirement? For most couples, retirement is the first occasion husband and wife have had this much free time together since they were first married, which was probably two decades ago or more.

If you don’t avoid these mistakes, you might have all the money you need but you may not have a happy retirement.

But unlike your finances, where there aren’t many “quick fixes”, you can make some adjustments right now and change the future of your retirement. Just make sure you avoid these mistakes:

1. You expect your spouse to spend retirement exactly like you.

You dream about retirement. Both of you can’t wait for the opportunity to do what you want. Choose what you do with your days.

Have you shared your dream with your spouse? This may sound silly, but they can’t read your mind. You have to tell them what your hopes and dreams are for that time of life.

And, hey, dreaming is free so start now — no matter your age!

Discuss with your spouse your hopes for:

  • Hobbies
  • Downtime
  • Working: lots, some, or not at all
  • Starting a business or a side gig
  • Location
  • Travel

Most people will live more days in retirement than you probably think. Experts say if you live to be 65 years old you have a greater chance of living to 85 than you did of getting to 65

According to the AARP, 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 every single day, and this is expected to continue into the 2030s. This means that nearly seven baby boomers are turning 65 every minute.

You deserve a happy retirement, but don’t assume your spouse knows what hopes you have for that time of life. Entering that new season of life, together, with your eyes wide open, makes for an easier transition than getting there and discovering you don’t agree on how you will spend your time.

2. You expect your spouse to approach money the same as you OR differently than they have in the past.

People don’t usually change. If your spouse hates to spend money now OR they love to, that’s not likely to change.

Every individual, including you, has a Money Personality. A primary way you view money. In fact, we discovered you have a Primary and a Secondary Money Personality. They affect every decision you make with a dollar sign AND how you view your spouse’s use of money.

As financial advisors, we have had the opportunity to help couples understand their Money Personalities AND THEN improve their marriages and their money.

We found this information was such a game-changer that we worked with a statistical scientist to create an online assessment that everyone can take. For FREE. Everyone can benefit from discovering theirs.

Knowledge is power. – Francis Bacon

While Taylor is the Primary Spender in our relationship, we love to give gifts and spend money in different ways. That’s how God made us. So for me to think Taylor will want to STOP spending money just because we retire is silly. It just won’t happen. And it shouldn’t have to. That’s who he is.

But because we have an accurate assessment of our Primary Money Personalities that gives us the motivation to save now to be able to still spend in our retirement.

NOW our Secondary Money Personalities are another story. We couldn’t be more different. Taylor is a Secondary Risk Taker and I’m a Security Seeker. So we may agree on SPENDING but not necessarily on how.

Knowing our Money Personalities, it is better for us to discuss and make a plan about our future spontaneous travel now than both of us feeling irritated that retirement isn’t what we wanted it to be.

3. You assume your spouse wants to spend the same amount of time with your kids’ families as you do.

Mistakes couples make in retirement planning.

RonPorter / Pixabay

One of the final mistakes people make in retirement planning is assuming you know exactly how your spouse sees your role as grandparents.

Before we are lucky enough for our kids to get married and have kids of their own, we are discussing how much time we will spend with our children and their families.

We are still discussing this to see where we can land that we both agree on. AND THEN when their spouses’ are added to the mix we may have to reevaluate again. BUT at least we will clearly understand where our hearts are and where we are comfortable.

At this point, Taylor would be fine playing with grandkids every single day of his life. That’s not what Megan would choose. I don’t want to make the grandkids a part-time job. I can see us helping with date nights for them, but we are not a free babysitter that they call every day. So, we still have some dreaming and discussing to do on this subject. But we’ve got time.

Avoid some of the turmoil of that new stage of life by discussing your hopes prior. This may even include talking about how much money you’ll spend on those grandkids or even whether you’ll help adult kids with a home purchase or other big-ticket items.

Talk now to avoid stony silences in the future.

Dreaming is free. Do it often and together. Talk about your retirement. Even the newlyweds out there – talk about it now. Share your hopes and dreams. Honor who your spouse is and don’t expect them to change their DNA once they are done with their 8-to-5 season of life.

Invest in each other for a rich relationship and a very happy retirement.

Taylor and Megan Kovar

The Money Couple


Pick up a copy of our new book, The 5 Money Personalities: Speaking The Same Love & Money Language on our website!


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