Will your retirement dreams conflict?

FCW's Friday Financials column looks at how couples can clarify their vision of retirement and consider the financial needs

Take a husband and wife who each have had highly successful careers, mix them together in a joint retirement stretching out for many years, and you have...trouble?

Highly successful career people have enough individual challenges when facing retirement. For many, the problem often is not whether they have enough money for retirement. Rather, they struggle with the loss of identity associated with work, the slower pace of retirement, and the challenge of filling retirement hours with something that provides the emotional rewards they received at work.

Multiply those challenges by two, and conflicts can arise.

One of the first steps is for each of you to clarify your vision of retirement. Separately, write them down on paper and compare notes.

When does each of you want to retire? It's common among career-oriented people for one to want to work longer than the other one. Does one want to travel a lot while the other wants to stay home? Do both of you need a home office? How do you envision spending a typical day in retirement? Does that day include working part time or doing volunteer work? Do you each have different visions of where you want to retire?

When visions clearly conflict, discuss compromises and ways each may accommodate the other. For couples used to holding positions of command at work, clashes over how to spend their retirement years together can result in unpleasant turf wars. Be prepared to seek outside help, perhaps with a financial planner or even a family therapist.

Once you thoroughly explore your visions of retirement and come to some consensus about what will work and what won't — only then do you look at the financial implications. Financial restraints may require you to modify your visions of retirement. A great deal of travel may strain even a comfortable retirement budget. Or, for example, if each of you wants a home office, it may require building an addition, renting an outside office or even moving to a new home.

Another key to a successful transition into retirement is to be attuned to the stress your partner may be feeling from retirement. For couples who can't wait to get to retirement, this may seem like a silly issue: What stress in retirement? Yet for people used to working in high-powered, emotionally and intellectually stimulating jobs, retirement can be stressful because of the lack of those psychological rewards. Even people who haven't led stimulating careers may find that they miss work more than they realized they would. Boredom can be stressful.

For high-powered career people, it is especially important to consider a transition into retirement. Several options are available here. Your current employer may allow a phased retirement involving decreasing work hours (though this might reduce benefits in a defined-benefit plan), or you can find new part-time work. Consider consulting or teaching. Retired small-business owners often find it rewarding to advise new business owners. You might even run your own business as long as it remains only a part-time commitment. Such transitions enable you and your partner to "practice" various retirement scenarios in preparation for the time you both leave the workforce permanently.

Another way to smooth out retirement is for each of you to maintain separate accounts, or retirement "slush" funds. This is especially important if both of you have different interests and pursuits during retirement. You'll need to carefully budget those slush funds. Start with a household budget that meets your basic living expenses along with an emergency cushion. Determine if your retirement accounts and other sources of retirement income will meet those basic needs, and pinpoint potential problem areas, such as lack of long-term care insurance. Then calculate whether you can withdraw additional funds from your nest egg for your separate retirement accounts without jeopardizing your core budget.

As these ideas suggest, the key to a successful, compatible retirement is planning — preferably well before retirement begins. Working these issues out in advance with a certified financial planner will go a long way to ensuring that both of you will find retirement as rewarding as your working years.

Zall, Bureaucratus columnist and a retired federal employee, is a freelance writer based in Silver Spring, Md. He specializes in taxes, investing, business and government workplace issues. He is a certified internal auditor and a registered investment adviser. He can be reached at miltzall@starpower.net.

NEXT STORY: Are debit cards key to e-gov?

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.