The Couples Retirement Conundrum: More than a Number

Planning your retirement takes some work. While most focus on the money equation. Which is important because without the money you can’t fund your lifestyle in retirement.

Retirement is a BIG life transition. It comes with surprises, unexpected detours and disappointments.

As a consequence, if unprepared it can put a strain on marriages.

The non-financial side of retirement is just as important, if not more important to getting the most out of your twilight years.

As the saying goes “absence makes the heart grow fonder”.

What happens when you go from time apart (working) to being in the same space 24/7? There are adjustments which need to be made.

In Mitch Anothony’s book, “The New Retirementality”, after a conversation with a women sums up the couples conundrum nicely:

“I’ve got twice the husband, half the space-and he’s getting bigger”.

Over many years we’ve seen the challenge couples face. The transition from one being home more than the other. All of a sudden those routines and space changes.

Perhaps one wants to travel, while the other doesn’t…

It’s important, if you are a couple, you’re on the same page.

As you transition from your primary focus of raising and supporting children to finding enjoyment as a couple as you transition into your retirement years.

Are you on the same page as your partner on what an ideal retirement is?

In other words, do you share the same vision as your partner?

Retirement can be considered an experiment. After all, you haven’t retired before.

As you grapple with time, relationships and activity, don’t be surprised if it takes a number of go’s to get the balance right.

I’m not going to go all Dr Phil here, but it’s important. If you’re not in sync, this can potentially have a financial impact on your retirement.

For instance, one wants to travel overseas, the other doesn’t.

I’ve got clients where the husband travelled extensively for work and doesn’t want to travel overseas anymore. While the partner hasn’t and has plans to travel with girlfriends. But it works and they’ve planned for that.

One wants to enjoy more free time, the other wants to continue work.

And if you can’t get on the same page and divorce is on the cards. Well, we all know how that ends…the financial impact can be devastating.

So, let’s get you planning…

Retirement perspectives to help you make the most of your retirement years

#1 Planning a successful retirement lifestyle takes planning and “work”

It’s not a transition you can “wing”, thinking it’ll work itself out. It’s not a great way to plan. You’ve got a potential 30 plus year time frame to plan for.

Retirement planning takes a lot of effort.

This is where Life Centred Planners are in the perfect position to help facilitate these conversations.

Three questions to get you started:

#1 Do you have enough? Enough for what?

#2 Have you had enough?

#3 Will you have enough to do?

Most financial professionals focus on the “enough” equation. While important, many don’t ask the most important question, “enough for what?”.

What about the emotional and economic impact of work?

Maybe you want to escape the daily grind of the 9 to 5 and look for something different, less stressful. But still engaging.

I’ve had many conversations with high level managers who still want to continue working. But not in the high stress roles they were in.

Some look forward to part-time work with Bunnings in the gardening section…gardening for the council and setting up their own consultancy are just a few we’ve seen.

Understanding how this might play out and the financial impact is all part of planning a successful retirement.

Being on the same page as your partner will ensure a smoother transition into retirement.

#2 Your partner may not share the same retirement vision

We’ve seen not all couples want to do the same thing.

After travelling extensively around the world for work, we had one spouse who didn’t want that anymore while the other wanted to travel overseas.

One wanted to do local travel and the other overseas.

One wants to continue working while the other doesn’t.

Understanding what each other wants out of retirement can help you plan accordingly so you have enough money to enjoy both individual and mutual pursuits.

#3 Retirement is an experiment in activity, relationship, and time.

Your retirement may take a number of resets as you find your groove. What works for you and what doesn’t.

The path you initially set down may not lead anywhere, and you may then choose to follow another path. This is okay and normal.

The fact is you may not get your first go at retirement right. Your plan needs to be agile enough to allow for the ebbs and flow of retirement.

It’s imperative you have discussions on how these non-financial decisions might impact your financial arrangements.

It’s important to have these discussions sooner, rather than later.

No longer are you jumping off a cliff, but The New Retirementality is an experiment in finding that balance that works for both partners.

Here are a couple of conversation starters:

  • Leisure (i.e., “How much do you want to travel, locally and overseas, business or economy class?)
  • Connection (i.e., “How much time do you want to spend with family and friends?)
  • Personal Renewal (i.e., “What physical/mental/spiritual well-being activities do you want to engage in?)
  • Work (i.e., What role will work if any have going forward?”)

All critical conversations that must be had prior to looking at the financial equation of your retirement.

Without the “what are you going to do with your time in retirement?”. It’s difficult to plan with any sense of purpose.

It’s the picture of your retirement puzzle to assist in placing all your retirement puzzle pieces in their right place.

What’s your ideal retirement look like?

You can download your worksheet here.

We’ve broken your retirement lifestyle into four categories:

  • Vocation
  • Vacation
  • Recreation
  • Relationships

This worksheet is designed to leave no stone unturned. Designed to help you think about how you are going to spend your time in retirement.

The goal is to have each member of the couple fill them out and compare with each other. It’s a great conversation starter!

Your Retirementality Profile

You can download your worksheet 1 here and worksheet 2 here.

While for some retirement will become “everyday’s a Saturday”. This can cause friction in a couple if there’s conflicting agenda’s.

A great tool to help you plan ahead. To help you be on the same page with your partner about what your ideal retirement vision is.

So you are better prepared for retirement.

Your retirement success depends on asking the right questions

By answering the right questions about what you want to achieve in retirement. Being on the same page as your spouse. All these answers will have economic impacts which need to be planned for.

After all you need to have the financial resources to make those decisions become a reality.

Not only can a Life Centred Planner help you figure this out, but can help you answer how much do your need for the rest of your life.

How much money is enough for the rest of your life?

60 minutes to plan your next 30 years!

If you’re like most, you’re trying to work out if you’re on track and will be okay in retirement.

This is exactly what our complimentary “Retirement Breakthrough Sessions” are designed for.

To help you identify the lifestyle you want, how to achieve it and most importantly how do you maintain it in retirement.

Retirement planning involves many moving parts. We make it simple for you.

Schedule your complimentary “Retirement Breakthrough Session” here.

Live your best life in retirement!

Glenn Doherty – CFP – Life Centred Planner | Retirement Planning made simple for over 55 white collar professionals

We conduct virtual client meetings!

Schedule a Retirement Success Session

In your session we'll help you identify the retirement lifestyle you want, show you how to achieve and maintain it.

Identifying risks and opportunities so you create a road map to confidently keep you on course to live the life you want.

Schedule here

Advice Disclaimer: Any reference in this publication to the provision of advice refers to advice of a generic nature, and should not be taken as product or investment recommendations. Before any action is taken based on the information provided, independent financial advice from a licensed financial adviser should be sought. Financial Freedom Project Pty Ltd ATF GA & DC Doherty Family Trust Trading as Jigsaw Private Wealth is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Exelsuper Advice Pty Ltd. The information contained in this publication is of a factual nature only and is not intended to constitute financial product advice. Information is current as at date of publication. This is an online information blog. It does not imply an offering of securities.

Money Psychology Retirement Retirement Planning