According to a study that was referenced in a WSJ article, only 39% of people surveyed had ever discussed retirement with their significant other. Think about that. 61% of people have therefore never discussed retirement as a part of their relationship.
How is this possible?
Well, apparently it’s very possible – because it’s the norm! For whatever reason, people don’t want to talk about retirement issues with their spouse. As I think about it, I wonder if it’s because they’re:
- Too busy trying to get by, instead of thinking about the future
- Afraid to face reality, and want to procrastinate worrying about retirement
- Simply not knowing any better, and don’t given retirement a second thought
- Nervous about discussing money with their spouse, for fear of causing a fight
- Believing that money is a taboo subject that shouldn’t be discussed
Or, there could be any number of other reasons for not discussing money.
If the reason money isn’t discussed is because of the latter two, it’s clear that there needs to be a better approach in the relationship. To me, that means being able to communicate about money!
There are plenty of good times to discuss money. Such as:
- When Dating. Nobody wants to make money mistakes when dating, and it’s good to be genuine with money in this situation. Transparency is good.
- While Engaged. Marriage is a partnership, with its own legal consequences. If you’re going to be joined together in matrimony you’ll be joined financially as well in many respects. Let’s not kid ourselves, money is important in life – and you should go into marriage with eyes wide open with respect to money.
- When Married. Once married, you’re sharing income and expenses. If you’re a saver and your significant other is a big time spender, you’ll be impacted! It’s essential to communicate regularly.
Ultimately, while money isn’t the most important thing in life, it’s obviously not inconsequential either! Thus, like with anything else in life or in relationships, it’s important to communicate. Speak up, and work toward having your partner be comfortable doing the same. Doing so seems to be a critical part of working toward and planning for a successful retirement. I think those of us with an interest in personal finance can agree that retirement is an important thing, right?
My Questions for You
Does it surprise you that only 39% of people have discussed retirement with their spouse?
Why do you think this figure is so low?
How and when do you think people should approach retirement discussions?