Quick question: How long is the average length of retirement? None of us know for certain, but some are surprised to learn it’s almost 20 years. The U.S. Census Bureau says the average length of retirement is 18 years. But that’s just an average. An increasing number of Americans are living to age 100, which may make your length of retirement almost double the estimate.
We think that’s fantastic! Megan and I aren’t members of the “doom-and-gloom, save-all-your-money-for-retirement” club. We hope to beat the odds and live for a very long time, serving others and enjoying our marriage. Not to mention our plan to enjoy plenty of our money before our “golden” years.
The word “retiring” feels like you may as well be saying, “do nothing.” But we know that’s not what we are thinking, and not what you’re considering either. There is so much fun that awaits you when you’re ready to change things up.
But there is a time when your regular paycheck stops. A time when maybe you don’t want to work as much, so it’s good to make a plan.
We know a lot of you have your retirement finances tackled, but have you spent time planning the other side of retirement, too?
We recommend you start communicating about your relationship in retirement now. It seems many are failing to make that particular investment.
With the national rate of divorce on the decline (yay!), but the rate of divorce for those over 50 doubling (no!), we need to take steps to invest in our relationships and not just our retirement accounts.
5 Things To Discuss NOW For a Better THEN
1. Where are you going to live?
Lufkin, Texas will always be home, but Megan and I really want to travel somewhere every other month, then come back to Lufkin all the months in between. It’s our ultimate goal! That way, we’ll still have roots, but we’ll also be able to get deep into whatever culture we’re traveling to for a month or so at a time.
If one of you is perfectly happy where you are, but the other is quietly thinking of heading south, now is the time to discuss it. If you think you will for sure downsize, but he loves this house and has no plans to make a change, talk about it now. Will you move to a different state? A different country? Maybe even have two houses in two different climates?
Encourage your spouse to dream about where you will live in retirement. There are no wrong answers. It gives you time to readjust your plan. But if you don’t ask until later, it makes that dream more difficult.
2. How are you going to fill your time?
Long gone are the days when retirement looked like sitting in a rocking chair on the porch. In fact, the folks we coach in retirement seem almost busier than we are!
Think about it—you’ll have more free time than ever before. What do you want to do with that time?
Don’t assume. Ask. Talk about what your days will look like as you get older.
Brainstorm together, now. Dreaming is free.
3. Have you thought of planning something special for the first year you are retired?
I often refer to our first year of retirement as “The Year of Awesomeness.”
Again, that year, she and I want to live in 6 different places around the world. Places like London, NYC, the Alaskan outback, Rome, Philadelphia, Cancun.
Learning about the area, embracing the culture, sightseeing, gaining weight—oops, I mean, eating really good food! (Maybe we should add a gym to our list of living arrangements…)
Having a specific plan for that first year helps both of us (who hate to save money) get excited about saving for that great year.
Go big or not so big with your ideas, but wouldn’t it be fun to start making a plan for that first year?
Ask your spouse for their ideas. You might be surprised.
4. What are you excited about?
You know what they say about the glass – is it half empty or half full? We have the choice to think about retirement that way too.
Make an effort with your spouse to look at the half-full glass and dream about the fun things that await you, as you get older:
- Travel discounts
- Time to pursue hobbies
- Discounted educational classes
- Tax Deductions
- Larger retirement account limits
- More time to work out or relax
- Museums, theaters, and some restaurant discounts
- Time to treat yourself to a “big toy (or two)
It is your choice. You can toss the dread about retirement and start to look forward and dream.
5. What steps are you taking to afford it?
We apologize for finally bringing it up, but it is true the more money you put aside now the more money you have to enjoy in retirement. And we want your retirement to be a blast!
Money is definitely not everything, but it does buy you some freedom and flexibility.
There are good calculators to help you estimate how much you need. Investigate as a team to find your realistic number. And then work together to get there. Two rowers in a boat beat the solo rower every time.
You may need to make some adjustments. If you need to be making more money, now is the time to do it. Need to cut back on some expenses? Don’t wait. Do it now.
Everyone feels differently about retirement. Respect your spouse’s dreams and any fears they have.
Also, everyone feels about and approaches money differently. We call those approaches your Money Personalities. If you learn and respect your spouse’s Money Personalities now you will be light-years ahead when planning your happy future.
Take your Money Personality Assessment today as part of your plan for your awesomeness. Your future looks bright. Better buy some shades!
Taylor & Megan