“I take you to be my lawfully wedded spouse, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.”

These aren’t just sweet words designed to bring a tear to your parents’ eyes on your wedding day, these words mean something—they mean that you intend to take care of your spouse all of your (or their) life. This includes retirement, and it even includes the months or years following your death.

You might think that caring for your spouse during retirement isn’t any different than caring for your spouse the rest of the time, but that isn’t necessarily true. In many ways retirement requires us to look at familiar things with new eyes. So how can you go about the familiar job of loving and caring for your spouse during a new and unfamiliar time? U.S. News and World Report has some suggestions in this article entitled 5 Ways to Protect a Surviving Spouse in Retirement.

When you choose to retire your financial resources suddenly become finite. You may still have an income in the form of a pension, social security, or withdrawals from savings accounts; but you can no longer count on regular pay raises or bonuses. According to author Mark Patterson, the key to protecting your surviving spouse (or even yourself!) during retirement is with maximization, preservation and planning. People often say they want to enjoy their retirement and spend their last penny on the day they die; but not at the expense of their spouse’s livelihood should he or she live 5, 10, or even 15 years after the first spouse is gone.

The good news is that you can enjoy your retirement and protect your surviving spouse. All it takes is a little bit of forethought and a lot of planning. The forethought you have to do yourself, but we can help you with the planning. Call our office and let us help you show your spouse once again how much they mean to you.