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Are you and your spouse on the same page about retirement?

Retirement is one of the most important financial goals for many married couples. It’s something you may dream about and work hard to reach. But, even if you feel like you are on track in terms of meeting your financial objectives, there is an equally important factor to consider — are you both on the same page about your vision and plans for retirement?

For example, what if your ideal experience in retirement is to travel, but your spouse is looking to stay local to be near family. Have conversations in advance of retirement to make sure you and your spouse are on the same page.

Planning is critical

The years leading up to retirement are an important time to compare their ideas and see if there are any obvious conflicts. Among the different topics to address:

• When you plan to retire — if one spouse wants to work longer than the other, that may be fine if the spouse who retires earlier can pursue other activities in the interim. But if your plans are dependent on being together, you’ll want to come to an agreement on when your actual retirement together will begin.

• Where you plan to live — this is a critical issue that requires a mutual understanding. Will you stay in your current home or geographic location? Do you plan to spend winters in a warmer climate? What are your thoughts on living abroad? Make sure you have a plan that works for both of you.

• Your vision of a retirement lifestyle — what will keep you occupied in retirement? Are there activities that you will both enjoy, or are you fine with pursuing aspects of retirement independently? The more you define this in advance, the better prepared you’ll be.

Try to find middle ground

Don’t be alarmed if you and your spouse don’t have the exact same idea of how retirement should work for you. It isn’t unusual. What’s important is finding ways to come to an agreement. That may mean each side has to give a little to make it work.

Flexibility is also key. Once the reality of retirement sets in, either person’s viewpoint might change and that could affect your decisions. Be prepared for the potential that a medical event could alter your plans, as this is more likely to be a factor as you grow older. Your financial circumstances are also always a consideration. Have a discussion with your financial advisor about your retirement plans and try to have an agreed-upon strategy in place before you wrap up your working years.

Randy Groff, ChFC, CLU, CRPC, is a financial adviser with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., in Marshall.

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