As a CFP®, I help couples with retirement planning. Before calculating if they’ve saved enough money, I ask them what they want to do in retirement.

Most couples haven’t really addressed what they would do when work is no longer a factor. They each may have their own perspective, such as spending more time with grandchildren or traveling.

But, they have not shared their ideas or found out from their spouse what they envision. Many assume their spouse would want the same retirement lifestyle.

Why is retirement lifestyle important?

Retirement lifestyle is important because it defines how you will live in retirement.

Each person has a different vision of how they want to spend their retirement years. Some may want to downsize and travel internationally.

Others may want to live near family and become more involved with their grandchildren’s activities.

It’s necessary to understand their lifestyle expectations in order to calculate how much they will spend in retirement.

Once I understand their spending, then I can calculate how much they need to save … or if they’ve saved enough to live the lifestyle they envision.

If you and your spouse are at least ten years from retirement, begin the conversation about your retirement lifestyle.

Here are some questions to help you begin:

What are your thoughts about downsizing when we retire?

Is there another city you’d like to live in when we’re no longer working? Maybe closer to family, the beach, or the golf course?

Where would you like to travel in retirement?

What activities/hobbies will you pursue during retirement (golf, art, gardening, etc.)?

Describe your ideal day in retirement.

What are your expectations for taking care of aging family members?

It’s easy for some couples to engage in these conversations. But for others, it’s hard to find time during their hectic schedules.

The further away you are from retirement, the easier it is to postpone this conversation. However, if you wait too long, you’ll have less time to work through differences.

(Update to original post from September 25, 2017)


Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA®, RICP®, is a Managing Director at Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include developing  comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, and retirement plans. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.’”