Retirement Proofing Your Marriage
By Mikkie Mills
Retirement is something everyone looks forward to in life. Leaving that commute behind for a new phase in life can be incredibly satisfying. At the same time, making that transition gracefully requires a great deal of planning. one aspect of retirement that may get overlooked is marriage. Retirement can mean changing conditions for both spouses. One spouse may choose to retire early while another wants to continue working for as long as they can. Both partners might wish to downsize their existing large house for something smaller. One party might want to move to a warmer climate in a different state while other loves their current regional weather conditions. Every person needs to think about the specifics of their retirement long before it happens. Couples who are on the same page are those couples who will retire on a happy note with both parties in full agreement about each detail.
One of the first things you'll need to think about is your planned retirement location. Before you do anything else, talk to your spouse about the location you have in mind. If you've always dreamed a beach house but your spouse prefers the country life, it's best to hash this out before you're about to retire. Compromise by keeping a lovely house in the country and a pied-a-terre in the city.
Another thing to think about are any changing family roles. One parent may have been the main breadwinner while the other stayed home and cared for the kids. When the kids leave the nest, that person may have decided to go back to work. In doing so, they may have discovered they like earning money. One person may be ready to retire while the other isn't. It's best to speak about this several years before either party has decided to head into retirement.
Getting Your Finances in Order
Your retirement options will depend on many factors. One of the most important are your finances. Saving for retirement should ideally be started as soon as possible. This allows both members of the marriage to have the funds they need for the retirement they want. Each party to the marriage should understand exactly how much they can expect from social security. One person might opt to continue to work because they can earn more money that way. Another may have a physically demanding job and wish to retire as soon as they can as they are no longer up to it.
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Keeping Separate Interests
Over time, both partners may have built up very separate interests. One person might like to travel a lot while the other prefers to stay closer to home. The key to a successful retirement for many people is making sure both parties are fully prepared for retirement in every way. Each person should have the space they need to continue to pursue what is most important to them. If one party has always dreamed of volunteering their time to work with important causes, they should feel free to find that dream.
Keep the Romance Going
Keeping the romance going is another thing to think about as retirement nears. Couples should remember all the happy times they've had. Each couple should make special efforts to keep making wonderful memories. Now is the time to keep up at least one date night each week and make other special arrangements. Retirement means having more together. A loving couple should embrace that time and show each other how much they still care.
Understanding what is likely to change after retirement will lead to years of fabulous retirement together.