Most couples learn early in their relationship why communication is so important. For example, raising children and deciding where to live are two compelling topics that require solid communication. A third one, finances, should also be considered one of the most crucial topics for couples to communicate about throughout life’s stages, such as first getting started, the working years, and of course, retirement.
For law enforcement couples, retirement may come much sooner than it does for civilian couples, which makes it vital to start discussing it early and often. For example, many LEOs are eligible for retirement after 20 or 25 years of service, and many retire by age 55.
If you have noticed that retirement is crossing your mind more than it used to, and even if it isn’t, you can’t go wrong by discussing a few essential topics, like income, long-term care options, and healthcare costs. Also important to discuss is whether your spouse is onboard with a beachfront retirement home!
At the core of any retirement plan is finances. As an LEO couple, you and your spouse should be discussing these five topics related to retirement finances sooner rather than later.
1. Retirement goals and plans:
First, each individual should honestly share their retirement dreams. The next step is obvious: Figure out how they align. Is location a sticking point? Are you and your spouse both interested in traveling? What about living near the grandchildren? Getting these lifestyle details out in the open is the first step to creating a plan that both of you are happy with and look forward to.
2. Savings and investments:
When discussing savings and investments as a couple, it’s important to have all the (correct) numbers on the table. Review your current savings plan, examine your investments, and see how they compare to the dreams and goals you outlined. If you need to adjust, do it immediately. For example, have you considered what might happen to your savings if you are injured on the job and need to take time off? Strategies like long-term care insurance purchased while young will save you money on premiums and protect your assets.
3. Retirement income:
Be sure to list all of your definite and potential sources of income once you both retire. Typically, Social Security benefits, pensions, and other investment income can be considered. What about other income?
Are you planning to run a small, home-based, or service-oriented business? Discuss all potential revenue streams, how much they will likely bring in, and see how the numbers match your living expenses with regard to the retirement goals and plans you’re considering.
4. Trust and estate planning:
It must be emphasized how important it is to discuss every detail of your estate. Are your assets, including homes, vacation properties, and belongings, protected? How would you like them to be distributed, and who will be in charge of settling your estate once you are both gone? Set up your will or trust, decide who your beneficiaries are, and take care of as many details as possible while you are alive so your kids aren’t burdened with things like the probate process after you are gone.
5. Health care:
Take a candid look at your health. Even the healthiest people need to figure out what the potential cost of healthcare may look like after they retire. All options, including Medicare, supplemental insurance, and long-term care insurance (LTC), should be on the table. Long-term care insurance is affordable through NPFBA. It was designed specifically for safety and non-safety law enforcement personnel and their spouses. In addition, it protects your future pension and assets.
Law enforcement is a stressful, physically challenging career, and the average retirement age is lower than in traditional occupations. Therefore, you cannot go wrong by discussing your retirement plans today and looking into NPFBA LTC plans that serve as a financial safety net now and for the future.