Money in the Middle

Sandwich Generation Talking About Money Up, Down and Across Generations

Best Financial Advice for Baby Boomer Couples? Talk

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While we wring our hands about the impact of the financial crisis on our finances the one thing we’re not doing is talking about money with our spouse.  A new study from Fidelity Investments says in the past two years couples have made little progress in how they approach any financial decisions:  day-to-day, long-term planning or retirement planning.

 Only 15% of the couple felt comfortable that both of them could assume responsibility for their joint finances if necessary. Looks like the boomers are no better than their parents about making sure each part of the couple can take over the finances.

No wonder we can’t talk about money with our aging parents. We can’t talk with our spouse about our own finances and retirement plans.

 What’s being left unsaid? 

  • Only 45% of couple make joint decision on day-to-day finances(budgeting, bill payment)
  • Only 38% jointly discuss investment decisions
  • 60% of couples don’t agree on their respective retirement ages
  • 44% don’t agree on whether they will work in retirement
  • 42% have different ideas regarding their expected lifestyle in retirement 

“We recognize that every couple’s situation is different, with many husbands and wives experiencing a job transition right now, others assessing whether they are able to retire, and some simply juggling the competing financial demands of raising a family,” said Kathleen A. Murphy, president Personal Investing, Fidelity Investments.   Each of these life events has clear financial implications that couples need to jointly discuss and then agree upon a plan of action.”

 So, if you are a baby boomer or near retirement and are not talking with your spouse about your money, vow today to change your ways.  

 Start with something easy –the family budget or simply sit down together and go through retirement savings statements together.  Work up to talking about goals around retirement finances and work.

 The Fidelity Research said couples reported confusion about what retirement products they owned – annuities, life insurance, IRAs – and over 44% disagreed on whether they should sell real estate to help fund retirement.

 Together, make a list of what investments you own, where your investment accounts are held.  Not only will it begin to give you a good picture of where you are together financially, but should something happen to one of you—even a major medical event– it is a true gift to the spouse and their family.

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Written by Laura Rossman

June 11, 2009 at 3:05 pm

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