It’s said that the only thing certain in life are death and taxes. While the reality of taxes is with us almost daily, one tends to put off the idea of death and, therefore, not plan for it properly. It’s very likely that, if you are married entering retirement, one spouse will die before the other. Financial planning with spouses is important to your client’s well being and their long-term financial health and often times, those looking toward retirement are failing to plan for the death of a spouse.

It’s an uncomfortable conversation to have, but one that will benefit your clients immensely in the future. On average, a woman will live longer than a man and is statistically more likely to be left alone, however, death is often indiscriminate of gender. Certain things apply depending on which spouse dies first, but a plan should be in place regardless of which spouse passes first.

Income Changes

When a spouse dies, income streams can be curtailed or even eliminated depending on the terms of the policy or payout. Social Security, for instance, is generally eliminated after someone dies (however a higher payout to the widow(er) is usually implemented). Try to identify these policies with your clients so they know what income will and won’t be around if someone were to pass.

Living Expenses

Plan for an increase in living expenses. Certain things certainly may decrease after a spouse dies, but certain aspects of home maintenance or even basic errands may have to be hired out to get them done in a timely and effective manner. Some costs are agnostic to the number of people they are servicing such as heating a house. Work with your clients to see where costs could be reduced in the event of a passing spouse.

Start the Conversation

Most importantly, you need to have this conversation with your clients so that they are aware of how it will affect their post-retirement wealth and planning. It may be a difficult topic to discuss, but everyone, including yourself, will be happy that you did should that day arrive sooner than expected.

Using HALO by Genivity can help you get the conversation started with your clients. Starting today is critical to the success of your own practice, so schedule a free consultation with Genivity today.