Strategic Wealth Designers: Retirement planning for spousal benefits


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It’s one of those harder conversations that comes with retirement planning – what happens if my spouse dies? Even though it is tough to discuss, having a plan in place is crucial to your retirement planning. Fiduciary retirement planning advisor Thomas Reilly of Strategic Wealth Designers joined us on the newscast to discuss how you can be best prepared for this situation.

“You have to make sure that your money is going where you want it,” Reilly says. “Not only does this include having your will up to date, but also that your beneficiaries on any 401(k)s or IRAs are updated. It’s one of those things that is easy to put off but usually just takes a phone call or completing a quick form to change.”

Social Security pays a one-time benefit of $255 if the spouse was living with the deceased. As a widow or widower, you can receive partial or full spousal Social Security benefits. Those at full retirement age are eligible for 100% of the deceased worker’s benefit amount. If your own Social Security benefit is higher than that of your spouses, taking your own is logical.

“Make sure your documents are updated,” Reilly says. “Maybe you update these every few years or on an annual basis depending on your age and any big changes happening in your life, but this will save your spouse trouble and help give them peace of mind if everything is laid out. In doing so, you are having the tough conversations ahead of time and making the transition easier.”

A financial planner can help you plan for and handle changes after a spousal death. To see additional stories surrounding business and economic news for Denver area, visit and if you have a question for Thomas send an email to

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