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How to convince your reluctant spouse to save for retirement

Jeanie Ahn
Senior Producer/Reporter

After a few decades with your spouse, you’d hope to be on the same page on most matters. But when it comes to retirement, it turns out that one in three couples disagree about what their next chapter will look like, according to a recent couples study from Fidelity Investments.

The reality is many partners don’t talk about what they want in retirement, so when the time comes, they’re often not on the same page, says Chris Hogan, a financial expert with Ramsey Solutions. And when plans do get made, they often reflect the desires of the spouse who leads the household finances.

“Don’t let the one who is savvy with numbers do all the work because both sides have a part in that dream. Don’t make it about economics. This is a heart issue now,” says Hogan. Couples who share a vision are more likely to plan and save to successfully reach their goals as a team. 

If you’re having a tough time convincing your spouse to save for retirement, Hogan says the best way to start is by asking your spouse out on a dream date: a date where you share one another’s dreams for the second chapter in your lives.

Where to live

Thirty-six percent of couples disagree about where they want to live in retirement, per Fidelity’s findings. As you sit down with your better half, Hogan suggests you jot down ideas on where you’d like to live, whether or not you want to downsize or move closer to family, and what type of lifestyle you’d like to lead. All of these decisions will factor into how much money you’ll need to save now. 

How often to travel

When looking forward to retirement, travel is one of the top activities to look forward to. However, only 20% of Americans have factored travel into their retirement savings plan, according to a study from the Transamerica Center.

Hogan says it can be fun to find ways to trim back a couple hundred dollars each month if you’re working together toward your dream vacation. He advises taking the next step by putting that money into an investment vehicle so that the money has the potential to grow into thousands of dollars several years down the road.

Your dream job in your second chapter

Your sunset years offer the opportunity to pursue the career you always wanted, but only if you financially prepare for it. And retirees are three times more likely than younger workers to be entrepreneurs - or “retire-preneurs”, according to a Merrill Lynch study published this year.

While dreaming about the future may sound like fun, some reluctant spouses may not be ready to open up about what they really want. “A lot of people have pushed their dreams down so low, they don’t even remember what they are. So it may take time to access those again,” says Hogan.

The key, says Hogan, is emphasizing the importance of maintaining an ongoing conversation and developing some questions and topics that you want to bring up for the next dream date.

Are you on the same page with your spouse when it comes to retirement? We want to hear from you: yfmoneymailbag@yahoo.com.