Retirement Mistakes That Couples Make

Are you and your spouse ready for retirement?

Even if you have saved an adequate amount in your nest-egg, there are additional issues that many couples overlook.

Here are 3 of the more common retirement mistakes:

– not being able to agree on where to live during their Golden Years;

– challenges regarding retiring at different ages; and

– difficulties in adjusting to spending so much time together

But here are three other, lesser-known retirement mistakes that couples make in retirement or while engaging in retirement planning:

1) Not being on the same page regarding helping relatives financially

We all want to help family members in need, but let’s face it: relatives can be a big drain financially — especially for people in retirement or easing into retirement.

The problem is especially acute for couples who don’t discuss and agree upon how much help they’ll give to family members and when that aid should end.

Sometimes the financial help is planned, such as when a couple plans to pay for a child or grandchild’s college education.

Even then, one party may want to foot the entire bill and the other spouse may want to give only a certain amount of money toward higher education expenses.

Not being on the same page can be worse for couples when their family members come seeking financial help out of the blue. If an adult child loses a job or goes through a divorce, for example, how much financial assistance should retired or nearly-retired parents provide?

If retired couples haven’t communicated about these issues and jointly decided on a course of action, it can be a nightmare, financially and emotionally for all involved.

2) Not having a “Plan B” to deal with forced or early retirement

Lots of people 50 and older think they’ll work at a certain job until a certain age, but those plans often go awry. Studies show that the risk of retiring earlier than expected is actually far greater than most people think.

Forced retirement occurs not just due to downsizing or job loss, but also because as many workers age they start dealing with unexpected health issues, disability or even heavy care-giving responsibilities.

For couples relying on two income streams to carrying them into retirement, the forced early retirement of one of the spouses can threaten their financial security. Ditto for those who want to re-enter the workforce after being retired, but can’t.

3) Growing apart during their “second act” 

Many people consider retirement (or at least life after age 50) to be their “second act” or a time of reinvention.

During this time, retirees or pre-retirees may explore personal interests or even professional goals (such as starting a business) that can lead them to drift apart from their mates and squeeze a couple’s finances too.

It goes without saying that economic well-being is important in retirement. But so is emotional happiness and personal satisfaction. Unfortunately, a lot of older couples are getting more dissatisfied with one another — as evidenced by the fact that divorce after age 50 is getting more common.

Divorce can sap a couple’s retirement assets due to big legal bills, and the process of splitting resources to accommodate two households instead of one.

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