A husband and wife sit together on couch, laughing and smiling

Talk the Talk

Nov 17, 2020
Empower Insights

How speaking with your spouse can help you fall in love with retirement

If you’re in a committed relationship, you may think you know everything there is to know about your partner.

Sure, remembering the small things like your spouse’s favorite movie, song and food may all be keys to a successful “happily ever after.” Don’t forget the unique quirks that make you both laugh, click and tick.1

But what about their wishes for retirement?

As Empower insight shows, catching up as a couple on a consistent basis is a healthy habit that can pay off in the long run.2In fact, adults who maintain an open dialogue about their retirement income goals are better prepared for their savings journey than individuals who rarely chat about their long-term plans.So, while money may be far from a lovey-dovey matter, it’s still important to engage in frequent conversations with your significant other to ensure the two of you remain on the same page.3,4

Here are a few fun ways to help lighten the mood so you both feel “head over heels” about your financial approach:

SET A DATE FOR DATE NIGHT

From building your budget to building your resume to building your family, you may not have the energy every day to examine your savings state with your soulmate. After all, trying to find some “me” time around the house to recharge your own batteries can be a challenge depending on your lifestyle.5

However, even if you typically struggle to juggle a laundry list of personal priorities in your regular routine, scheduling an evening out — or in — with your loved one is a simple step you can take to express the hopes, hurdles and hobbies that could be on the horizon. Look at your calendars together; agree to a weekly, monthly or quarterly itinerary; and bring any and all pertinent topics to the table.

As an appetizer, share a recent penny-pinching victory you celebrated, like saying “no” to those designer jeans at the mall or bypassing your local coffee shop on the way to the office, in an effort to conserve cash.6 From there, advance your heart-to-heart talk to the meat of the message and review your:

  • Credit card charges.
  • Utility bills.
  • Bank statements.
  • Outstanding loans.
  • Household expenses.

Then, sprinkle on the final touches.  

Are you both enrolled in a retirement plan? If so, clarify the standard items, such as your current contribution rate, investment mix and beneficiary designation. Once you’re finished, summarize when you want to hang it up, where you want to live and what activities you want to enjoy when you’re older. 

Animated husband and wife place over-sized coins into a jar

PLAY TO WIN

Game on.

To spice up your communication, another way to pursue your passions together is to engage in a friendly competition.

As previously mentioned, the head-to-head exercise starts with gathering some basic supplies — a pack of index cards, a marker and a sandglass timer — and tackling some common retirement-related subjects in a Taboo-like format.7 If you’re looking to meet your match, simply follow these rules to begin:

  • Come up with five to 10 questions on retirement. 
  • Write each question on the front side of an index card.
  • Include each response on the back.
  • Flip over the sandglass timer before asking a question.
  • See if your partner can guess what you answered.

Now it’s your turn! Switch roles and identify how many you can get correct. Afterward, compare your replies, describe your differences and assess your similarities. You can also keep the contest fresh by exploring a variety of themes when it comes to your savings strategy, like understanding Social Security.8

DRAW OUT A PICTURE-PERFECT VISION

Not a professional artist yet?

Not a problem.

If you’re perhaps itching to join a painting class with your spouse when you’re retired, here’s your chance to get a head start. To add a creative spin to your scheduled savings sessions, organize a spirited tournament of do-it-yourself “Retirement Pictionary” and trace a bright portrait of your next adventure.

Materials:

  • Large sheets of poster board
  • Pens
  • Easel or a stand
  • Ideas!

Sketch an outline of your retirement dream car (have your partner solve the make and model), a famous landmark in the city you desire to visit (Eiffel Tower in Paris) or a piano to show a potential new interest. Call your friends, too. Invite them over to extend the discussion and spark your own imagination. 

Start saving for your future today with an Empower Investment Account

1 The Washington Post, Christina Breda Antoniades, “The secret to a long-lasting marriage,” February 2016.

2 Empower Retirement, “Healthy savings habits: Simple exercises for strengthening your financial future,” October 2020.

3 Empower Institute, “Scoring the Progress of Retirement Savers 2020,” September 2020.

4 NerdWallet, Maryalene LaPonsie, “How to Talk — Not Fight — About Money With Your Spouse,” October 2017.

5 Fox News, Addison Sadlier, “‘Me time’ : Americans aren't getting enough, and they're taking it wherever they can find it, study says,” April 2019.

6 Empower Institute, “The Road to Retirement Success: Strategies to decode human nature and improve employee savings,” August 2018.

7 Empower Retirement, “Let’s talk retirement,” May 2020.

8 Social Security Administration benefits planner, ssa.gov/planners/retire/delayret.html, 2020.

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