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5 questions couples should ask before they retire

June 12, 2023

Five questions couples should ask before they retire:


Retirement is a significant milestone for every couple. The days of making college tuition and mortgage payments are hopefully over. It's now time to throttle back and enjoy the good life. But before you give notice at work, ask each other these essential questions.


  1. What are your retirement goals? Some spouses want to see the world, while others want to purchase a mountain cabin to escape it all. Maybe you want to live in a condo, but your spouse wants to spend her time gardening. Take time to discuss your non-negotiables with each other. It's wise to sort these out in the open before you end up in an argument when you should be celebrating.
  2. Will we run out of money? Every wise retiree fears this outcome and should run reasonable projections based on their savings, investments, income sources, and monthly spending. Be sure to look at several scenarios together and that you both are comfortable with the possible outcomes when including inflation and taxes.
  3. Do we live near our adult children or have them visit us? If you have children, you can appreciate that your best-laid plans may go out the window as soon as grandkids arrive. If your grandkids are in Connecticut and you plan to live full-time down south, you may need to increase your travel budget, move back or buy a second home here. All three of these choices require some forward thinking.
  4. What is our retirement income strategy? Everyone has a different retirement income situation and plan. Be sure yours is tax-smart! Before retiring, review all your options to minimize taxes and maximize income. For example, you may want to optimize your Social Security income. Delaying benefits until age 70 can provide more income and may reduce taxes before benefits begin. Also, be sure to pay special attention to the withdrawal order of your investments. Sometimes, you will want to take income from your savings first and your IRA account second. Other times, this order will reverse or be a combination of both. The withdrawal order can substantially affect your financial security, so get help in this area.
  5. What is our legacy? How do you wish to be remembered? This goal may require a time commitment, financial commitment, or both. If you want to leave an endowment to support the arts, you may need to stay in the workforce longer to build up the necessary funds to make a difference while balancing your goal of leaving your children a good inheritance.

These are five essential questions to ask each other before retirement, but you should add more as part of your financial planning. Talk time to talk and make proper plans a priority. In the words of Dwight D Eisenhower, "Plans are nothing; planning is everything."

This article was originally published in the New Haven Register 4/22/23

Eric Tashlein is a Certified Financial Planner Professional™ and financial advisor with Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc. He can be reached at 800-878-7152. Offices: OES Wealth Partners, 71 Bradley Road Suite 4-A, Madison, CT 06443 & 30 Old King Hwy S, Darien, CT 06820. The information provided is for educational purposes only and doesn't intend to make an offer or solicitation to sell or purchase any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and are not guaranteed. Be sure to consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. Past performance is not indicative of future performance." Advisory Services offered through Investment Advisor Representatives of Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc, and OES Wealth Partners are not affiliated."