financial harmonyRetirement is something to look forward to. However, according to a 2016 survey from The Employee Benefit Research Institute reported by Time Money, just 69 percent of workers cite that their partners have saved up for retirement. Furthermore, only 35 percent of couples report that they are actively engaged in retirement planning with their spouse. It’s not always easy to talk about money, or retirement, but there are a few key points that both you and your spouse should agree on when it comes to your financials.

Security

Keeping your finances secure is easy to agree on. This should be a top priority for both you and your spouse. Shockingly, one in four people have experienced identity theft. Not only can identity thieves steal your social security number and commit crimes in your name, these criminals can access your investments including your 401(k), transferring, withdrawing or totally draining your investment accounts, and identity thieves can even open new accounts or add their names to your bank account, in some cases completely taking over your account leaving you with limited options. However, there is a way to combat these criminals. Identify theft protection services can keep you protected by keeping watch, scanning for threats to your identity and, if your identity is stolen, working to fix it by providing experts and lawyers to help solve the case.

Financial Independence

Financial independence can be described as the ability to make decisions based on what makes you happy rather than what makes you money. Obtaining financial independence doesn’t have to seem out of reach. Early retirement is attainable, if you plan for it. Financial independence can be achieved in your 50s or your 70s, it’s a non-traditional way of looking at retirement. Matt Becker, writing for the Simple Dollar, writes “You don’t need to grit your teeth through a job you hate just so you can eventually quit decades down the line. Instead, you can get creative and use your money to do the things that excite you, both now and in the future.”

Avoid Financial Infidelity

Unfortunately, having conversations about finances is a pain point for many couples. In some cases, married couples just don’t talk about money. This is a bad idea and opens up the door to financial infidelity. According to a poll conducted by The National Endowment for Financial Education one-third of adults in a relationship with combined finances admit to financial deception, which includes anything from hiding purchases, lying about financial matters, hiding outstanding debts or concealing income from their spouse. While it may be difficult to address, be sure to look for the warning signs, some of which include vanishing bank statements, dwindling bank account balances, calls from debt collectors, purchases that cannot be accounted for, unexplained spikes in expenses, withdrawal and stress. Be prepared to put it all on the table, whether you’re feeling guilty about your own financial infidelity or if you suspect it from your partner. Suggest a meeting and bring everything from bank and credit card statements to pay stubs, tax returns and credit reports. During this time discuss potential solutions, and also triggers and work toward a middle ground agreement that you both can be happy with.

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