Should spouses retire at different times?

Retirement is something most couples look forward to for many years.

And while it can be the beginning of your so-called “third age”, it also brings with it challenges you may not anticipate in advance.

Retiring from work is a huge adjustment; in most cases, you are learning to live on a more modest budget and must think about what brings meaning to your life now that your career has ended.

Spouses who retire at the same time face both challenges and opportunities.

There’s the opportunity to create a new way of living as a unit, but it also means facing the burden of acting as a support system to the other in the midst of a lot of change.

Initially this can be a difficult period – many retirees suffer from low self-esteem as they adapt to their new reality.

Stats also show that divorce after the age of 50 increased 109% between 1990 and 2015. Couples who stayed in a partnership to raise children or who largely led separate lives often discover in retirement that they are uninterested or unable to stay married to their spouse.

Even happy couples report their spouse drives them crazy when they’re newly retired by simple virtue of the fact that they’re always around.

One solution to minimise the impact is to stagger retirement – it means you can slowly adjust to changes in your financial situation while one spouse is still earning and gives each person a chance to rediscover their sense of self individually, set new boundaries and find a new routine.

On the other hand, retiring together means you can decide how to navigate these big changes as a unit, the same way you would with moving house, raising children and changing jobs.

What do you think? Should spouses retire at different times? Share your experiences in the comments below! 


Should spouses retire at different times?

240 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Yes No

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19th Aug 2018
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I voted yes, for the simple reason that my husband and I retired at different times, for different reasons. He was first, nine years ago, taking early retirement for the banking and finance industry. He’d had enough of the ‘sell sell sell’ culture. I was in a good and enjoyable job at the time and continue to work. He basically took over the whole domestic side of our partnership and was happy to do so as I continued to work full time. It worked really well. I was then made redundant, theee years into his retirement, and after a three month break, followed by a couple of short term temporary roles, I took up a new full time job, which I also really enjoyed, for the following four years. I really had no intention of retiring before my state pension kicked in, which incidentally had been moved back by the government when they moved the state pension entitlement age. However, due to so called restructuring and rationalisation where I worked, I decided to pack it all in and retire. At my age then, I believe I would have really struggled to find a decent worthwhile job given the employment climate.That was a year and a half ago. We survive, just, on small private pensions, as we both wait for our state pensions to apply. Twelve months for him, another three years for me. I was very much the newby retiree at home compared to my husband and it was very much a case of me fitting into my husband’s routines initially. However, gradually we have together developed a good way of everyday life and living. We have many shared interests and also our own hobbies and activities. We are never bored or fed up. Obviously there are things that he is best at doing and things than I am best doing, so we just work out what’s best and try and support each other accordingly. It may sound all ticketyboo, and for the most part is it, but you have to work at it if you want it to succeed. Our retirement life together is working out just fine. Financially, we have to be careful and hope things improve on that front when we ‘eventually’ get our state pensions. Unless, that is, the government decide to move the pension goal posts yet again. Who knows what’s around the corner.
17th Aug 2018
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I don’t think it can be a yes or no answer, it depends on each couples circumstances.
10th Aug 2018
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It is up to the individual person. I retired early due to health reasons and my husband had just started partial retirement. He hope to retire fully in the next 2 years. We are lucky enough to have good works pensions and paid into private pension schemes so can afford to do this and not have to wait until we are state pension age.
18th Jul 2018
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As a single person, I had no choice, but It was my choice. I had a good pension and a lump sum when I left. I settled into a routine which included a good social life. At 70 I sold my house and moved into a retirement property. Now my interests are on the technical side. At times I do get lonely but these centres do cater for women more than men. The ratio is about 8-1. I keep to myself to avoid the unpleasantness with so many older people.
17th Jul 2018
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No one should retire unless they have sufficient money to do so.
16th Jul 2018
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I wish we could retire. The old age pension would not look after my cat and dog so work on we must. My wife is not happy but working is a necessity. We will somehow retire in about 5 years maybe by selling our house and moving down to a mobile home or suchlike.
16th Jul 2018
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I would love to retire at the same age as my wife but we do need to keep working even if its only part time currently we need the money. Many of our friends still do work even if only in part time jobs etc. So many people have a such a lot of experience in this age group. We used to have a plumber Andy who is probably in his late 60s now but had 50 odd years of experience. Why let all that huge knowledge to waste. It would be easier to both retire at the same time if you get on as with many the couples the kids have left home and I suspect people may get lonely if they were just at home by themselves for many hours.
13th Jul 2018
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Your adventure should begin together and adjustments made together. Thanks to the government, I am retiring after my husband and I hate every moment of having to go to work until I am 66 when I should have had my pension at 60!!!
14th Jul 2018
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I am confused here , what has retirement got to with the state pension age?
13th Jul 2018
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My wife decided to defer her pension for a year to pay for some home improvements. I took on cooking and house work and it worked fine. I pity any man in this situation who had never learned to cook.
After 47 years, we are pretty good with this marriage lark and the lessons learned in compromise have stood us in good stead in retirement.
There can be no ''right'' answer as it will differ greatly between partners. I can only suggest that talking about it a lot, making plans that appeal to both partners and be prepared to change and compromise if it does not work.
13th Jul 2018
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We plan to retire together in around 2 years and also move away from the area we have lived in all our lives. I see this as a new adventure. Explore a new area (we do know the area we are moving to), meet new people and take up new hobbies. I am encouraging my husband to start to think about what he would like to do both with me and separately when we retire so that we can have our own time too.
13th Jul 2018
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My husband and I used to run a business together meaning that we were together 24/7. I must admit that along with the pressures and time constraints I found this stifling, I am a creative person and not having any time made me feel numb. We retired two years ago due to my husbands ill health, he is 5 years younger than me and I was ready to retire a long time ago. I do find that it is very suffocating being together all the time especially as my husband is nowunable to take part in the sports he enjoyed in the past, he is struggling to find other easier interests.

I would have loved to have had at least a couple of years on my own before my husband retired so that I could find myself again. I think it would have been far more healthy for both of us.

However, I will find myself again and will do my best to help my husband to adjust to his retirement.

I will embrace my 'third age'.
12th Jul 2018
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