Did you know you can sell all or part of a life insurance policy, even term insurance?
(4 minute read)
It’s no secret that retirement has a direct and often negative effect on a marriage. After a couple has spent decades apart during the 9-5 hours, when one or both people retire, this can reveal new issues or cause old ones to resurface. In fact, Pew Research Center’s analysis of US Census data found divorce rates among seniors have doubled over the last 25 years. This trend of “grey divorce” may have people over age 50 concerned about how retirement and your relationship will cohabitate. Here’s the data you need to know, and some tips to weather the transition.
What to Do When One Spouse Retires?
When one spouse retires in a two-career relationship, this means the relationship enters a new in-between phase. Income has not reduced to the full retirement budget for the couple, but the retired individual still has their new budget of time. Here are some “survival tips” for when one partner retires before the other:
o Keep a Similar Schedule: Though one spouse now has lots more leisure time, going to bed and getting up at the same time will still preserve a rhythm in your relationship. Some retired spouses find part-time jobs or volunteer opportunities that start or end around the same time as the other’s job. This not only helps preserve a sense of normalcy, but the involvement outside the house can help the retired partner avoid depression that can accompany retirement.
o Renegotiate Household Duties: One serious issue that arises when one party retires first is the necessity to renegotiate household duties. Even if you have never done laundry or mopped a floor in your life, now may be the time to learn so your spouse can feel supported during this transition. This can ensure both spouses’ expectations are met.
o Discuss Change in Income: After building your marriage, you have likely experienced lean times and times of plenty. But retirement typically represents the need for major adjustments in lifestyle and spending as a fixed amount needs to last you an unknown amount of time. No matter how long you’ve been married, don’t assume you know what your partner thinks about this. This conversation will allow you to set shared expectations and goals even with a new budget. Money is a factor in 22% of divorces regardless of age.
o Start a New Adventure: If you happen to be the spouse who has retired, you may exhaust your still-working spouse if the relationship with them becomes the defining element of your life. Whether it’s volunteering, connecting with your own friend group, or just doing things during the day on your own, make sure this is a new beginning.
What to Do When Both Spouses Retire?
Whether you both retire around the same time or one spends years at home before the other, once both people are retired, a marriage will go through another shift in balance. All experts and psychologists agree this will feel uncomfortable, maybe even like you are meeting someone totally new as you see each other all day. Here are some tips for retiring together in your marriage.
o Spend Time Together: Many couples think the solution to the awkwardness is to spend time apart. This might feel better, but ultimately your lack of connection is because work and daily life have interrupted your relationship for years. Spend time together simply talking and listening to overcome these feelings.
o Try to Retire Together: While not every couple will be able to, research has shown that retiring around the same time means this decision has less effect on the marriage. Not only do both partners get emotional support in the same transition, you also both set new boundaries and schedules at the same time.
o Self-Educate About Benefits: A recent study of over 1,800 Americans found that 33% report neither they nor their partner are saving for retirement. While couples may have discussed goals, now that retirement time has come, it’s essential to understand your savings, Social Security, and how they match up to income needs.
o Postpone Major Decisions: When both spouses are going through the retirement transition at once, it’s good to postpone decisions like selling a house, moving, or big investments. This helps ensure change happens at a manageable rate for mental health and that both partners feel comfortable with all decisions.
Ultimately, retirement is one of the largest tests a romantic commitment like marriage will face in a lifetime. As decades of career life and hectic scheduling come to a sudden slow or stop, each individual requires patience, love, and support. Do your best to understand what your husband or wife is going through to create a healthy path forward when a dead-end is threatening. Respect them with the same empathy you want for yourself.
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