Mitch McClean, May 4 2023

Couples Retirement Planning: Tips for Building a Strong Financial Foundation Together


Retirement planning is an important topic for individuals and couples alike. However, when it comes to planning for retirement, couples face unique challenges and considerations. Not only do they need to plan for their own individual retirement needs, but they must also plan for the needs of their partner and consider how they will navigate retirement together.

In this article, we will explore the importance of couples retirement planning and provide tips for building a strong financial foundation together. By following these tips, couples can develop a retirement plan that meets their individual needs and ensures a financially secure future for both partners.

Assess Your Retirement Goals and Needs

The first step in couples retirement planning is to assess your retirement goals and needs. This involves considering when you want to retire, how much money you need for retirement, and your retirement lifestyle goals.

Determine when you want to retire

One of the first things couples need to decide when planning for retirement is when they want to retire. This decision will impact the amount of time couples have to save for retirement and the amount of money they will need to have saved by retirement.

When considering retirement age, couples should also consider factors such as their health, retirement benefits, and personal goals. For example, if one partner has health concerns or a physically demanding job, they may need to retire earlier than originally planned.

Identify how much money you need for retirement

Another important consideration in couples retirement planning is how much money they will need for retirement. This involves estimating retirement expenses and determining how much retirement income they will need to cover those expenses.

Couples should consider both their basic living expenses and any additional retirement expenses, such as travel or hobbies. They should also consider factors such as inflation and potential healthcare costs.

Consider retirement lifestyle goals

In addition to basic living expenses, couples should also consider their retirement lifestyle goals. This includes things like travel, hobbies, and other activities they would like to pursue in retirement.

By considering these factors, couples can develop a more accurate estimate of how much they will need to save for retirement and what their retirement lifestyle may look like.

Review Your Current Financial Situation

Once couples have assessed their retirement goals and needs, the next step is to review their current financial situation. This involves assessing their current income, expenses, debt, retirement savings, and potential income sources in retirement.

Assess your current income, expenses, and debt

To develop a retirement plan, couples must first have a clear understanding of their current financial situation. This includes assessing their current income, expenses, and debt.

Couples should review their current household income, including any retirement benefits or pensions. They should also review their current expenses, including both essential and non-essential expenses. By identifying areas where they can reduce expenses, couples can free up more money to save for retirement.

Additionally, couples should review their current debt load. This includes both consumer debt and any outstanding loans, such as a mortgage. Paying down debt before retirement can help reduce expenses and free up more money for retirement savings.

Review your retirement savings and investment accounts

In addition to assessing their current income and expenses, couples should also review their retirement savings and investment accounts. This includes any RRSP and TFSA accounts, as well as any other investment accounts they may have.

Couples should assess how much they have saved for retirement and whether they are on track to meet their retirement goals. If they are not on track, they may need to adjust their savings plan or consider working longer to save more money.

Seek Professional Advice

While it is possible to handle retirement planning on your own, working with professionals can help ensure that you are making the best decisions for your financial future as a couple.

Consider consulting with a financial advisor who specializes in retirement planning. A qualified advisor can help you create a comprehensive plan that takes into account your unique financial situation, goals, and risk tolerance. They can also provide guidance on investment strategies and ways to minimize taxes in retirement.

In addition, it may be beneficial to work with a tax professional or estate planning attorney. These professionals can help you navigate complex tax laws and ensure that your assets are protected and distributed according to your wishes.

Continuously Monitor and Adjust Your Plan

Once you have created a retirement plan, it is important to review and update it regularly. Your financial situation and goals may change over time, and your retirement plan should be adjusted accordingly.

Revisit your retirement plan at least once a year to ensure that you are on track to meet your goals. Consider making adjustments if your income or expenses change, if you experience a major life event such as a job loss or divorce, or if you simply want to reassess your retirement strategy.

It is important to stay committed to your retirement plan as a couple. Continuously monitoring and adjusting your plan can help ensure that you are on track to achieve your financial goals in retirement.


Couples retirement planning can be a complex and daunting process, but it is essential for building a strong financial foundation together. By working as a team, communicating openly, and seeking professional guidance, you can create a retirement plan that meets your unique needs and goals.

Assessing your retirement goals and needs, reviewing your current financial situation, and developing a comprehensive retirement plan are key steps to building a strong financial foundation. In addition, communicating and collaborating with your partner, seeking professional advice, and continuously monitoring and adjusting your plan can help ensure your financial security in retirement.

Take action now to start building your retirement plan as a couple. By following these tips and taking a proactive approach to your financial future, you can enjoy a fulfilling and secure retirement together.

Couples Retirement Planning, FAQ

How do I know how much money I need for retirement?

To determine how much money you need for retirement, you should consider factors such as your expected retirement lifestyle, estimated living expenses, and potential income sources such as pensions and social security. A financial advisor can also help you assess your retirement needs and develop a personalized retirement plan.

What are some common sources of retirement income?

Some common sources of retirement income include social security, pensions, RRSP and TFSA, and other investment accounts. It's important to consider all potential sources of income when developing your retirement plan.

How can I ensure that my retirement plan is tax-efficient?

A financial advisor or tax professional can help you determine the most tax-efficient ways to save for retirement and withdraw funds in retirement. Strategies such as contributing to a RRSP or using tax-loss harvesting can also help minimize your tax burden.

What happens if my partner and I have different retirement goals?

It's important to communicate openly and work together to find a compromise that meets both of your needs. A financial advisor can also help you assess your individual retirement goals and find ways to align them with your shared goals.

Can I make changes to my retirement plan after I retire?

Yes, you can make changes to your retirement plan after you retire. However, it's important to work with a financial advisor or retirement planning expert to ensure that any changes align with your retirement goals and that you don't incur unnecessary tax penalties or fees.

What should I do if my retirement savings are not enough to meet my needs?

If your retirement savings are not enough to meet your needs, you may need to consider other options such as working longer, reducing expenses, or seeking additional sources of income such as part-time work or rental income. A financial advisor can also help you assess your options and develop a plan to improve your retirement savings.

Written by

Mitch McClean

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