How to: Start a conversation about retirement plans

Updated: Feb 20

Talking about your retirement plans can be a difficult topic for some. There are many scenarios you have to go through and it is often related to the emotional topic of the end of life. However, conversations about retirement plans are important, especially with your closest family members. Here are some tips to guide you in your conversation about retirement plans.

Before you talk to anyone about your retirement plans, you have to be sure of what you wish your retirement will look like. There are many pathways to retirement, including partial retirement as well as full retirement. Knowing when you intend to retire and what kind of retirement is the first step to a productive conversation. Mapping out your future also allows you to gauge potential obstacles you might face during retirement. These include lifestyle changes and financial security.

These are some potential topics of discussion during your retirement planning conversation.

  1. Health Talking about the potential physical or emotional support you will need during retirement or your current physical and mental status is important during your retirement planning stage. It is natural for pre-retirees to experience uncertainty of their next phase of life. Making adequate preparations and having conversations to facilitate this will help in your retirement transition process.

  2. Retirement lifestyle Have a discussion of your retirement schedule and lifestyle. Talk about the activities you want to do and commitments you plan to take up. If you have a spouse, it is also important for them to know what kind of lifestyle you expect during retirement. For example, travelling together might be a good idea to you but not them. An additional person hanging out in the house can be a big change for other members of the household, giving them an idea of how you are going to spend your time is also helpful for their adjustment to your retirement.

  3. Financials For some Singaporeans, part of their retirement income comes from their children. Having a conversation about your financial plans is helpful to establish expectations and abilities to provide in retirement. Talking to your partner is also necessary if they are planning to retire at the same time as you or are depending on your income to sustain your lifestyles.

  4. Expectations of care-giving Many retirees are at the age where they might have an elderly family member or other dependents they might have to take care of. Having a discussion with your spouse or children on how care-giving responsibilities will affect your time in retirement as well as retirement finances is important. Care-giving can affect potential retirement travel plans as well as when you choose to retire. Often, care-giving responsibilities can see retirement being brought forward.

Retirement is a big step into your next phase in life and it often involves many people like your spouse, children and sometimes friends. Talking about your retirement plans can be overwhelming for everybody involved. There are many facets of retirement to go through and it might be easier to discuss your retirement plans in parts rather than have a long drawn out conversation.

Talking about your retirement plans is more than just a way to let other people know about your plans. Feedback from your conversations can also tell you how realistic your plans are which can help in preparing for a smoother retirement transition.

Retirement can be a stressful phase in your life and there might be obstacles you have to face. Talking about financials or lifestyle changes can also be tricky if your plans are affecting other people around you and you might require multiple conversations about your retirement plans. Ending the conversation positively is a way to keep the conversation going.

Source: Forbes, NewRetirement, Age Wave, USA Today