Is your marriage ready for retirement?
Traditional retirement planning for couples is fatally flawed. At least that’s what Robert Laura reckons.
What he means by ‘traditional retirement planning’ is the four following assumptions couples often make when facing retirement:
- You still like and know each other and want to spend more time together
- That roles can or may change but there is no process, timeline or trigger point for that to happen
- That pension and investment income will be directed to areas of life each spouse feels is important
- That each spouse’s health, daily routine, and need for social interaction are similar and in-sync
The reality is that this may not be so. In fact, it probably isn’t so. Added to that is the possibility that preparing for retirement may have focused on finances with little thought for anything else.
Laura points out that more than 80 per cent of retirees in the US don’t have a written plan for the ‘everyday life aspects of retirement’ (and that’s probably echoed in Australia and New Zealand). The everyday includes such things as how much time they’ll spend together and apart. Where golf, travel, grandkids, and so on, fit.
In life and in retirement, the everyday happens . . . every day. It’s important to recognise its significance.
Couples need to talk. They need to discuss where the golf, travel, and so on fit in their lives, and so much more. And the relationship needs to be a focus because retirement is a major life transition that will bring new and unexpected stressors.
‘A perfectly happy pre-retirement marriage can be harshly disrupted by a simple lack of communication,’ warns Dorian Mintzer.
All retirees have probably considered questions such as: How much money will I need to retire? Where will I live? What will I do? Yet there’s another question that can be forgotten: How would my spouse answer these?
Why not ask to find out if you are in sync?
Mintzer says that the two most important topics to cover with your spouse are finances and health. That’s a good starting place. But don’t stop there.
Only by talking about it will you discover if your marriage is ready. And only by talking about it can you prepare your marriage for retirement.