Investing, in general, involves risk. Some of the risks most often discussed are market risk, inflation risk and reinvestment risk. These risks, and others, are present both before and after retirement. However, one under-discussed risk in retirement income planning is the death of a spouse.

The death of a spouse can have a substantial impact on the surviving spouse’s retirement lifestyle. In many cases, it results in a decrease in income for the surviving spouse. Careful planning can help lessen the impact of an untimely death.

Three things to consider:

Determining when to start taking Social Security benefits is an important retirement decision, and the ramifications of that decision can stretch beyond the beneficiary’s lifetime.

For those entitled to pension benefits, choosing the correct type of pension distribution is key to protecting your spouse after you’re gone.

When one spouse dies, the other’s needs and goals inevitably change, and that can include the goals for their investment accounts.

The loss of a spouse is a difficult and trying time. Proper retirement income planning can help alleviate some of the financial stress the surviving spouse may face. Both partners in the marriage should be educated on the options available and decide which options best fit their situation. Also, a candid discussion about the objective of the investment assets is essential in helping the surviving spouse make appropriate decisions.

Securities and investment advisory services offered through Geneos Wealth Management, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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