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!
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