Communicating well with your loved ones is a sure way to live a happy retirement. Here’s how to explain retirement planning to them.
Step-By-Step Guide on How to Talk about a Happy Retirement With the Family
You Need to Discuss Retirement With Your Family
Everyone dreams of a happy retirement, but if you truly want to achieve that, you need to involve your family.
Last week, I was catching up on one of my favorite shows, This Is Us. During the opening scene, the main characters had a tough conversation about retirement, and it sounded all too familiar. I’ve experienced similar discussions among families countless times throughout my career.
The scene went like this – Everyone was sitting at the table for dinner. The mother of the family, Carol, was serving a family favorite: chicken curry with extra scotch bonnet peppers.
I was in awe of how good the meal looked. I wished I could’ve been at the table with them!
But then, Carol’s daughter said something that completely changed the energy at the kitchen table. She said, “Mom, I think it’s time you thought about retiring.”
As I’m sure you can guess, Carol was not happy to hear her daughter say that. However, this is certainly an important conversation that needs to be had for anyone approaching retirement age.
That’s why today, I want to discuss the five critical steps you can use to initiate a constructive conversation with your family about your retirement wishes.
Step 1: Pick a Time—The Sooner the Better
Having “the talk” about retirement with your loved ones isn’t always easy. You might even remember having a similar tough conversation with your parents when they reached retirement age.
Money is still a taboo topic in many households. But you owe it to your family to talk about this next chapter in your life, especially when it influences retirement happiness.
And the sooner you have this conversation, the better.
Your retirement choices can have a severe impact on your children, especially if you’re supporting them financially. In my experience, most families don’t talk about money until it’s already a problem.
I’ve seen people who never experienced serious financial burdens come to me for help because someone in the family retired, and they weren’t prepared for a change in their income or cash flow.
You need to give notice in advance so your family isn’t suddenly strapped for cash when you retire. These can include the following:
- Building an emergency fund, so there’s something that can help tide the family over during the first few months you are no longer working
- Opening a retirement account and/or adding to your retirement savings
- Diversifying your asset or investment portfolio
- Planning how to spend your retirement income so you can still have fun and find time to relax without adding a financial burden on the family
What is an emergency fund? It is a savings account that’s usually worth 6 months of expenses or income. It is ideal for sudden, large, unforeseen expenditures.
Step 2: Invite All the Right People
When it comes to talking about a happy retirement with the family, you want your conversation to be clear right from the beginning. And it’s important to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Be sure to have any member of your family who may be affected by your retirement included in your talk. If possible, I think it’s worth having a trusted financial professional present as well.
Money and aging are very sensitive topics. They’re best discussed in a peaceful, rational, face-to-face conversation.
A financial planner can help make sure your family has a successful discussion about your retirement. They can help guide your conversation, keep topics on track, and diffuse any tension that may come up.
A good planner may also be able to offer you specific and unbiased financial advice. While a friend can be an excellent morale booster, it’s the true financial planner who can help guarantee retirement happiness.
Step 3: Organize the Necessary Documents
Over the years, I’m sure you’ve racked up plenty of paperwork. And your family should know where to access important documents in case they need to on your behalf.
Should they reach out to your boss or coworker for files stored in the office? It’s smart to have all of your paperwork in one place for easy access.
At the drop of a dime, your family might need bank account information, wills, insurance policies, or any number of other documents. Many people don’t have this information readily available for others when they need it.
I recommend having an organized file for your family from the beginning, so nobody’s caught off-guard. Besides, having all these documents organized will probably save you a few headaches along the way.
Step 4: Prepare for Questions
Your retirement is a big change for both you and your family. And most people have more questions about retirement than they do answers.
I’ve devoted my entire career to helping people navigate through these types of questions. The most frequent questions people ask their parents when they announce their retirement are:
- What are your plans for retirement, or do you know what to do after retirement?
- Are you confident you’re on track to retire when you want to?
- What sources of retirement income do you have in place?
- What do you want to have happen if you can’t maintain the household by yourself?
The goal here is to make sure your family has all of the information they need to prepare for your transition into retirement. They want to know that you have a plan in place and how they can help you if this plan needs adjusting later on.
And the best way you can put their minds at ease is to prepare answers for any questions they might have about your retirement plan.
Step 5: Keep the Conversation Going
Remember, when you want a happy retirement, this shouldn’t be a one-time conversation. Nobody’s expecting you to cover everything during your first discussion about retirement with your family.
And as difficult as it can be in the beginning, approaching these conversations with the utmost love, concern, and respect helps things get easier over time.
Circumstances can change quickly, and the more comfortable everyone is, the better everyone communicates and reacts proactively.
I want to encourage you to be the one to initiate the talk within your family. Don’t wait for your kids to blindside you by asking about your retirement like they did to Carol.
The better-prepared everyone is, the more likely you and your family can prepare for a rich retirement.
At the end of the day, considering your work ethic and dedication, you deserve to be at your happiest come retirement time.
To do so, maintain a positive attitude in the home, and involve your family in your decision-making process.
What do you think are the secrets to a good retirement? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
- 7 Things To Know About Social Security Benefits For Divorced Spouses
- The Secret To Social Security Success | Social Security Strategies
- Drowning in Debt? This All-Too-Common “Roadblock” Could Ruin Your Retirement