News and Commentary

Staggered Retirement Requires Married Couples to Plan Carefully by Lee F. Hediger

Spouses saving for an eventual retirement during their working years often have different timelines for leaving the corporate world behind. While a difference in retirement dates essentially eliminates one income stream and helps couples ease slowly into their golden years, careful advance planning can go a long way to ensuring their financial goals stay on track. Following are three tips that soon-to-be retirees should consider.

Keep Saving

The spouse who is still working should continue to contribute to his or her retirement savings account, including a 401(k), for which participants over the age of 50 can contribute an additional $6,000 per year above the $19,000 maximum for 2019. In addition, a working spouse may contribute up to $6,000 to a non-working spouse’s IRA in 2019 (or $7,000 for those age 50 and older) when they file joint tax returns and meet other income requirements. However, there are tax deduction limitations based upon adjusted gross income and participation in workplace retirement plans.

Delay Social Security

The longer retirees wait to claim Social Security benefits, the larger the amount they will receive. When possible, non-working spouses should postpone collecting Social Security until they are 70 years old in order to receive the largest possible monthly benefits. However, this may not be financially viable for some couples and it may not make sense when either spouse has significant health issues. At a minimum, a retired spouse should try to wait until age 67 to receive 85 percent of his or her full Social Security benefit.

Plan and Stick to a Budget

Even when couples stagger their retirement years, it is important that they do not lose sight of their expenses. Despite the freedom that retirement brings, the activities and experiences for which retirees hope to spend those golden years are rarely free. Couples should instead project and estimate a budget that will allow them to enjoy retirement without living beyond their means and squandering their hard-earned savings.

About the Author: Lee F. Hediger is a co-founding director and chief compliance officer with Provenance Wealth Advisors, an Independent Registered Investment Advisor affiliated with Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors and Accountants, and a registered representative with Raymond James Financial Services. For more information, call (954) 712-8888 or email

Provenance Wealth Advisors, 515 E. Las Olas Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954) 712-8888.

Lee F. Hediger is a registered representative of and offers securities through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC.

Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse the opinions or services of Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors and Accountants. PWA is not a registered broker/dealer and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services. Investment Advisory Services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc., and Provenance Wealth Advisors.

This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. Any opinions are those of the advisors of PWA and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Please note, changes in tax laws may occur at any time and could have a substantial impact upon each person’s situation. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation.