For Mark Roberts’ Use: When you think of retirement, you probably think of finally leaving the workforce for some much-deserved rest and recreation. We all worry about retirement savings because at this point in life, regular paychecks cease and we must live off of whatever money we’ve managed to accumulate over our lives.

However, there is another group of people who also have to think about retirement: stay-at-home spouses. Since these people don’t have a traditional paycheck, they rely upon their spouses to include them in retirement plans.

Social Security recognizes this need; spouses who did not earn income outside the home are eligible for a “spousal benefit”at retirement age. However, this check is not nearly sufficient to cover living expenses, as it amounts to about 50 percent of the working spouse’s benefit check.

In general, IRA rules establish that only those who earn wages can contribute to an account. However, stay-at-home spouses can establish a “spousal IRA”, though the rules are dependent upon the earnings of the working spouse. There are certain income limits that determine whether spousal IRA contributions are deductible. Within certain income guidelines, the money may also be directed to a Roth IRA.

When one spouse works and the other stays home, financial accounts can become one-sided over time. Luckily, there are many other ways for the working spouse to ensure the stay-at-home spouse has a retirement fund., such as giving cash, stocks, or bonds. Consultation with a financial advisor can help couples determine the best way to protect both parties and provide for retirement.