Couples face many challenging questions over their lifetime together, especially when it comes figuring out how to time major life events. Is now the time to get married? Are we ready to have kids? When should we retire? We all know some life changing events happen without a plan, but when it does come down to asking the question of timing, agreeing on an answer can be a big challenge for couples.
An article from the Wall Street Journal includes interesting findings relating to the retirement age debate and discusses some of the issues couples face when deciding when to retirement.
He Wants to Retire…but She Doesn’t
How couples negotiate one of the toughest parts of retirement: deciding when to start
April 9, 2012
By Kathleen A. Hughes
When faced with the question of when to retire, couples are more likely to disagree than to agree. “The odds are your spouse won’t feel the same way you do about when to retire. A recent study by Fidelity Investments found that well over half of couples—62%—disagree on the timing of their respective retirements.” Here are some other interesting results from the survey:
- “73% of couples disagreed on whether or not they have completed a detailed retirement income plan.”
- “47% don’t agree on whether they will continue to work in retirement.”
- “33% don’t agree on lifestyle expectations.”
The following image shared in the article includes questions to ask when planning the right time to retire and common situations couples making this decision face.
Many personal beliefs towards retirement play into the debate. Some people believe retirement will help them escape the daily stress of the workplace and lead to better health and a more enjoyable life. Other worry retirement leads to a lack of purpose and productivity, followed by a general decline of lifestyle. This is a belief shared by Deborah Ewing, a 55-year-old attorney who plans to work as long as possible, “I think when people retire they slow way down and become less productive, less interesting, less healthy, less financially robust…” Working together by sharing individual view and goals to create a shared image of what retirement will look like is an important step. Keeping an eye on the future is important. Dorian Mintzer, an experienced therapist, who points out the importance of placing “focus on what they want to retire to as opposed to what they are retiring from.”
While helping couples find a common road among diverging personal views of retirement might not be your area of expertise, financial planners undoubtedly can help answer financial questions that are a critical part of the retirement age debate. Given “73% of couples disagreed on whether or not they have completed a detailed retirement income plan,” it’s obvious couples are not only on different pages when it comes to personal issues of retirement, but also financial issues. Having a solid plan for retirement can help clients make an informed decision about when to retire. A clear view of the impact different retirement ages can make on their overall financial health and determining if a desired retirement age can provide for an enjoyable lifestyle in retirement will help provide a solid base for the clients from which they can build the retirement age decision.