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Married? Get into Retirement Planning Before Losing a Spouse

Kiplinger.com offered advice for married women who may need to do some retirement planning, mentioning this “sobering reality” – “Most widows feel unprepared to make key financial decisions in their live-alone years.” While it isn’t pleasant to think about death, married people do have to consider they may need to continue without a spouse: not simply emotionally but financially as well. “Thus, it’s extremely important for women to empower themselves with the tools they’ll need to take ownership of their financial future.”

If your spouse is in charge of finances, you need to make sure that you know where financial records are kept and that you have contact information for investment accounts. Even if one person continues to manage the finances, the other spouse still needs to be able to locate important documents.

You need to know what kind of income will be available to you in retirement. Having an idea of how much you may be able to rely on can help you plan better. You may decide that you need to find ways to increase that amount or you may feel satisfied. Either way, it is better to know beforehand than to find out when you are older and dealing with the changes that come with losing a spouse.  Kiplinger’s advises that you “don’t just focus on annual total amounts, but also develop a schedule of allotments — the increments you plan to take out from different sources, such as a non-qualified plan or tax-deferred plans.”

And while there is certainly a lot you can do on your own to prepare for retirement, it is also a good idea to get some expert help. A Fee-Only financial planner can help you strategize ways to make the most of the resources you have and add investments that will ensure you can be comfortable as you age.