How Much Energy Should You and Your Spouse-to-Be Put into Retirement Planning?

Unless you’re independently wealthy – or you have really cool parents – you probably became very familiar with the concept of saving for the celebration surrounding your wedding vows. Marriage ceremonies are important – they’re worth every penny!

But saving for retirement is even more important, and the older you get, the more urgent and dire it becomes.

Make retirement cozy and fun by planning for your financial future.

Gloomy Retirement Statistics

According to recent statistics, there is a huge disparity between expectations and reality. More than half of people who are still working expect expenses to decrease when they retire. Sixty-five percent, however, see expenses go up when they pass their working years. Less than half of Americans retire when they had expected.

Prevent Regret By Acting Now

One of the greatest things about getting married is that you’ll have someone to grow old with and to join you throughout the evolution of your life. But where that evolution leads – and the amount of regret that’s waiting when you get there – is up to you.

In the article “Planning for Retirement: Top 4 Things Retirees Wish They Would Have Done Differently,” it becomes clear that many couples realize they should have been financially proactive only when it’s too late. Virtually all of the people interviewed wish they had planned better and started saving earlier. Other regrets include not getting professional help and not fully exploring their options.

IRAs and 401(k)s

Get help saving for retirement by dedicating some of your savings to an IRA (individual retirement account) or 401(k). These types of accounts are not funds. Think of them as baskets that all of your investments – stocks, bonds, mutual funds, whatever – are piled into. They are set up similarly, they serve similar functions and have similar benefits.

The main difference is that 401(k)s are provided as a perk through your employer. IRAs are set up by individuals who don’t have jobs that offer 401(k)s. Both allow the people who own them to contribute a certain amount of money each year. That money isn’t taxed and never will be as long as the rules are followed regarding when money can be withdrawn.

IRAs and 401(k)s help you save for retirement and avoid the burden of paying taxes at the same time.

Promising to plan for retirement should be required as part of the wedding vows. Your wedding is the day that your life together starts. But retirement is the day that your new life together starts – and you need to be prepared. People are living longer and longer every year. If you don’t have a 401(k) at work, open an IRA. Don’t wait until you’re past your earning years to make a plan – by then it will be too late.

Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer who covers retirement planning and personal finance.