Deanna Linstad, RPA, CPSP™, VP/Senior Retirement Plan Consultant
Deciding when to retire, especially if one spouse is older than the other, can be daunting. Here are 5 important questions to help you decide when the time is right for you or your spouse to retire:
How much have you saved?
When my husband, Kevin, wanted to retire early, the first thing we did was meet with one of Bell’s financial planners to find out if it was possible. Becky Walen, senior vice president and market development director, ran projections to show how long our savings would last. Since I’m 12 years younger, I didn’t want to feel stuck working indefinitely. We were pleasantly surprised with the results (and Becky got a bag of chocolates from Kevin).
When do you take Social Security?
In deciding when to begin Social Security, it is important to consider the value of potential benefits over your and your spouse’s lifetimes to truly optimize benefits. If you begin Social Security at age 62, you will receive about 75% of the benefit you could expect at full retirement age (FRA). From FRA to age 70, benefits increase by 8%, plus the cost of living adjustment (COLA). If you are able to delay until age 70, the impact of compounding delayed credits and COLA adjustments leads to a substantially higher benefit.
There are many scenarios and options. To ensure you make the best decision based on your goals, contact Bell Bank Wealth Management to help evaluate the best strategy for your situation.
- Will both spouses have the health insurance they need?
If the working spouse has a health insurance benefit, in addition to making sure that benefit can cover the retiring spouse, you’ll want to consider when the retiring spouse can go on Medicare (federal health insurance for people 65 or older), and whether they should.
For help deciding your best Medicare and health insurance options, contact our Bell Insurance team members at 701-237-6414 for a free consultation.
What will the retired spouse do with their time?
It can take some time for someone who recently retired to find their groove. Their time – and identity – may have been wrapped up in their career. Some people work part time, others volunteer and some focus on hobbies.
Remember, retirement isn’t only a financial decision. There are emotional phases of retirement, and dissatisfaction can follow the initial excitement or “honeymoon” phase. Make sure to take time to rediscover yourself as you build a new identity – and purpose – in retirement.
How do both spouses balance their expectations?
Communication is crucial to balancing expectations when transitioning into this new phase of life – especially if one spouse retires while the other continues to work. The retiring spouse may expect to be able to kick back and relax, while the working spouse assumes household responsibilities should fall to the spouse who no longer works. A retired spouse may also want the working spouse to join them in retirement sooner than their partner is ready. Additionally, budgets and spending styles may change, so it’s important to talk through your feelings and expectations.
When we realized we had saved and planned enough so Kevin could retire, it was a great feeling. He could decide when to retire and wasn’t forced to work. Experiencing this new phase in our life has reinforced in me the importance of my work as a retirement plan consultant and helping others work toward reaching their goals. By sacrificing a little bit today – and saving for the future – you can give yourself the freedom to choose when to retire.
For help deciding when to retire – and figuring out if you’re ready – contact Bell Bank Wealth Management at 800-709-5781 or 701-451-3000
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