You can picture exactly what your first day of retirement will look like. You'll pack your bags, start up your new RV, and with your spouse head out on a two year tour of the great national parks.
Unfortunately, your spouse doesn't share your vision.
Not only does he or she dislike long road trips, they don't think you can afford an RV in the first place. And besides, they don't want to have to leave their rewarding career just because it happens to be the day you can retire.
You might think the above scenario can't happen to you. But unless you've had an in-depth discussion about the exact details of your retirement transition, you could be heading for some potential unneeded conflict.
A Strain On Marriage
Being able to live off your investments is a dream-come-true that can only be realized after years of careful financial planning and discipline. Yet, when that day finally comes, it can be stressful on your closest relationship. Any major life change can be challenging to a marriage, but one that involves bedrock issues like finances, living arrangements, and lifestyle can be especially contentious.
Couples who simply assume that they're thinking the same things about these issues, but haven't had a complete conversation about it, will most likely have very different ideas about what their retirement should look like.
We'd Rather Not Talk About Money
One reason is that finances are not a comfortable topic for most people. According to Colin Walsh, CEO of Varo Money, talking about money is culturally shameful. "Everybody needs it, and controls it so much," he says, "but nobody talks about it."1
Backing this up is a survey of 3,000 adults conducted by investing app Acorns, which found that 68% of people would rather talk about their weight than money.
It's no wonder that a retirement study by Fidelity Investments found that 1 in 3 couples are not in agreement when asked to describe their expected lifestyle in retirement.2
Michelle Singletary, a financial columnist for The Washington Post, wrote an article titled "Can Retirement Ruin Your Marriage?" Her short answer is, it can if you're not on the same page.3
One idea Singletary asks her readers to consider is staggering their retirement dates. Not only will this allow both spouses greater flexibility when transitioning out of the working world, but it can have financial benefits as well.
Your trusted financial advisor is the ideal person to talk to together as a couple. Not only can you benefit from their acquired wisdom in helping people in similar situations, but being a third party with your best interest in mind, they can help you and your spouse hear each other clearly and come to agreement on the major issues surrounding retirement.
Having your expectations out in the open can help ease both your minds and ensure that your transition into retirement is free of conflict.
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