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Don’t leave your spouse in the money lurch – Andrea Coombes’ Ways and Means – Mark

It’s not a topic couples generally want to think about, let alone talk about, but the fact is: Barring an unusual accident, one spouse will die before the other. That fact poses a big challenge for your retirement-income plans.

And it gets even more challenging: That surviving spouse could live many, many years longer.

Among 65-year-old couples, almost half of surviving spouses—48%—live a decade or more after their husband or wife dies, according to data from LIMRA, an insurance-industry research and trade group.

Fully 28% survive 15 years or more, and 14% live for 20 years or more after the first spouse dies. Just 3% die in the same year.

But, when asked about their retirement fears, only one-third of married couples said they consider the need to financially prepare for the surviving spouse “a major concern,” according to a 2012 survey by LIMRA of about 5,000 U.S. adults

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