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The Conversation You Need to Have With Your Spouse About Retirement

You've invested and saved for retirement all your working life and you think you have your retirement all figured out...but does your spouse share that same dream? According to a study last year from Hearts & Wallets, a retirement trends research firm, nearly two-thirds of couples do not agree on when they will retire and a third don't agree on where they will live in retirement.

So perhaps you have some talking to do. To help you avoid conflict, here are some tips for talking to your spouse about a retirement plan:

Prioritize desires. Each of you should make a list of what you want from your retirement and prioritize that list.

Set aside time to talk. Ease into the conversation by setting aside some time to talk specifically about your goals for retirement and what you would do to fill your days.

Talk about concerns. If there is a large age difference between spouses, the younger spouse may just be hitting his or her career stride when the older spouse is ready to retire. One of you may have adult children or grandchildren you want to live near, while the other one wants to travel or live overseas. You need to take a collaborative approach to each concern and try to avoid criticizing.

Talk about money. You both need to have a full understanding of your financial resources for retirement before firm plans are made. You might want to sit down with your estate planning attorney and your financial planner to go over your plan and talk about things like maximizing your Social Security benefits and other retirement planning strategies.

Focus on the why. If your spouse is adamant about buying a mountain home while you want to be on the beach, find out the reason why. Focusing on the "why" rather than the "what" can help you get to a compromise more quickly.

Find middle ground. If you are having difficulty agreeing on specifics, then find the middle ground. There will probably be some things on which you both can agree, i.e., that you want to live an hour from your grandchildren.

The Flanigan Law Group provides estate planning, administration and litigation legal services. For more information on retirement planning, contact our Irvine law firm at 949-450-0041.

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