For Better or Worse…

For Better or Worse…

While many people view retirement as a time to relax and not have to worry about getting up every morning to go to work, it is also a period of change and adjustment. If you’re married some of the biggest changes will occur within the context of the relationship with your spouse. In fact, some couples have been drifting away for years prior to retirement, but they ignored it due to being distracted by their careers or raising their kids. For many of these couples, suddenly spending a lot of time with their spouse may be something that they aren’t prepared for. Here are some tips that will help you and your spouse to work through this period of change and better enjoy your remaining years together.

Share Your Retirement Vision- It is very important to discuss how you plan on spending your retirement with your spouse in order to ensure that you are both on the same page. If you have plans on traveling in mind, while your spouse wants to stay home and relax and you don’t discuss this, this can just lead to a bunch of unnecessary confusion and frustration.

Discuss how much time you will spend together- You should discuss with your partner how much time you would like to spend together during retirement and also how much alone time you will need to enjoy your own individual pursuits. Just because your spouse doesn’t want to spend 24 hours a day with you doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t love you. You have to accept the fact that your spouse may want some space to themselves.

Discuss changes in your role- This is especially important in marriages where one partner is the stay at home parent, and the other partner goes to work every day. The worker may feel like he or she has earned the right to live work free during retirement without considering that the homemaker will effectively never retire. It is important for couples to discuss what their roles need to be during retirement so that one partner isn’t doing significantly more work around the house than the other.

Create a new budget and monitor your finances together- It is important to create a new budget with your spouse during retirement in order to adjust your spending habits accordingly. Prior to retirement, you were most likely enjoying a regular income from your jobs while being accustomed to a high standard of living without much focus on spending. Now you have to transition into a life where you will have limited income and might not be able to spend as much depending on your savings. Talk with your spouse so that you’re both aware of your financial situation as well as any boundaries when it comes to spending.

Pursue your own interests and maintain your own friendships- It is important that you and your spouse do not intrude in each other’s social group. You should each have your own friends that you spend time with. It is also important for each of you to pursue your own interest in order create some space and keep busy during retirement.

Treat yourselves to a date night- When you first enter retirement, you’re probably going to notice rather quickly how much more time you are spending with your spouse. Don not take this time for granted. At least once a month, plan a night out to share an activity that you both enjoy.

Retirement can be a stressful time when many aspects of your life change at once. With open communication and awareness of the changes that are taking place, you and your spouse can work together to create a lifestyle that you both enjoy and that meets both of your emotional needs.

Did you find this information useful? Let us know in the comments. If you have any other finance questions, you can turn to our Retirement Forum. 

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