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When it comes to planning for retirement, there are a lot of variables and moving pieces. But for most of us, we have it under wraps and have a good idea of what to expect. We can estimate what our general spending will be – housing costs, monthly groceries expenditures, our annual golf dues, etc. This gives us a solid idea of how much to save and what kind of income we’ll need to generate.

Moreover, most of us know the kinds of risks we’ll encounter during our golden years. We can plan for inflation eating into our purchasing power and we can determine just how much healthcare could cost us. (Hint, it’s a lot). We can even plan for long-term market declines and overall lower returns.

But one risk that most of us investors never really think about can have devastating effects on our portfolios, savings plans and income generation. And that’s having a spouse or partner die in the years leading up to or early on in retirement.

It’s a painful exercise and idea to think about. But it could save you nasty headaches during this period of heartache.

Check out our visual guide on long-term wealth accumulation here.

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