One of the most awkward topics of conversation in a relationship is money. It’s daunting, but once you learn how to talk about money, you’ll find different parts of your post-retirement life opening up.

Today, Margaret talks about important things that you need to discuss with your partner regarding money. Joining her are financial expert and TV personality Pam Krueger and financial advisor Beth Greulich.

Transitioning from Spending to Saving

Why do people struggle with spending in retirement?

Everyone takes time to adjust to the new lifestyle. Money is no longer coming in. Instead, it continues to flow out and at a really fast pace.

Especially for couples, money could be a rather sensitive issue. The answer: communication.

Couples should learn how to talk about money and start discussing it early – way before either of them retires. To make the transition smoother for both parties, they need to agree on these three things.

Spending and Lifestyle

Some people may feel guilt and reluctance when spending money that they saved for years.

You and your partner need to plan how you want to spend your money within the time you expect to live. Come up with a budget and determine how much extra money you have every year.

This method helps take away the guilt over spending money because you know you’re staying within a certain budget.

Once you know how much extra money you have, you can start talking about your desired lifestyle.

It’s a tricky conversation, especially if you and your partner are polar opposites.

What you can do is frame the discussion in a tangible context. Make it about money instead of lifestyle and start by asking, “How do you see us spending this money?”

This way, both of you gain control of your money and your lifestyle.

Timing

Most people may not realize or fully understand this, but timing is an important aspect of retirement, especially since you cannot undo it.

Social security payments grow by 8% every year. We aim to make the payments as large as possible, so retiring later can make a whole lot of difference.

People who retire at age 62 would get $1,450 a month, while people who retire at 67 get $2,100 a month. Beth recommends that people retire at age 70, which gets you $2,800 every month – almost double what you would get if you retired at 62.

What-Ifs

When planning how to spend money, consider all possible situations and be prepared.

Discuss what-ifs: What if one of you needs to go into assisted living later on? What if you need to move houses?

Remember that it’s never too early to talk about these things.

As Pam says, “The conversation just feels awkward because we separate money from life. Life is money, money is life. Let’s get used to it.”

Do you have other tips on how to talk about money matters with a partner? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

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