Retire separately, plan together

Although many of us envision a life where we retire as couples, often one person may stop working earlier than the other. In fact, studies show that simultaneous retirement occurs with fewer than one in five couples.

What will retiring at different times mean for you and your spouse? The key is communication and planning for both the financial and emotional aspects of retirement.

Some issues to consider:

Some retirees have a difficult time determining their post-work identity. The visibility and self-esteem you get from work can be difficult to replace when you retire, especially if your spouse is still working. If the transition is difficult, consider volunteering.

Talk about how the retiring spouse might feel about the other partner being the main breadwinner, and how the retirement of one spouse might affect the other’s plans for retirement. For example, if one person retires the other might want to work longer so group benefits will continue.

Discuss how your time will be spent together and apart. For example, the spouse who is still working may have some expectations of the retired spouse that don't align with how the retiree wants to spend his or her time. Will the retired spouse help with more of the household chores? When you have time together, what types of activities will make you both happy?

It’s important for a new retiree to have a routine, regular social contact  and clear expectations about responsibilities. As your spouse goes off to work each day, how will you spend your time?

The information contained in this article was obtained from sources believed to be reliable; however, we cannot guarantee that it is accurate or complete. This article is provided as a general source of information and should not be considered personal advice.

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