Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Communication Before Retirement

If your married you know that some days despite your best intentions you just forget to mention something to your spouse once in a while. Typically in my case, it is a fairly minor issue. My wife found me an interesting article while I was gone along those lines. It was about how well couples communicate about their retirement plans or their lack there of.

In a survey done with over 500 married couples with at least one spouse just about ready to retire they were both asked the same questions and it was found each spouse often had different ideas about some fairly basic issues around retirement (For your reference the average age of those surveyed was 53 to 54 and they on average were married for24 years).

For example, more than 1/3 of those couples did not know when the other wanted to retire. They also found more than 2/5 of couples give different answers on weather one spouse will continue to work in retirement. Also more than 1/3 expected a different standard of living in retirement.

In my mind this is just shameful. If your married you have to discuss your retirement dreams with your spouse. I know I do discuss it with mine, but she is still skeptical if we can retire by my 45th birthday. That's fine. As long as she know what I would like to do in a general sense and understands the standard of living that we are going to have in retirement.

A good example of this communication was my wife let me know not to long ago that she wanted to travel more in retirement. I was fine with this, but I wanted to know how much traveling she wanted to do. So after discussion we came up with the idea of the travel slush fund. She would earn a bit more with her daycare and we would put the money away and it would be our slush fund for travel. Overall it will be enough to give us some great trips, at the same time there is a finite amount set aside, so I know it won't mess up the rest of my retirement calculations.

So if you haven't yet. I suggest you sit down with your spouse and talk about your retirement dreams. You might find out a few surprising facts.


Mr. Cheap said...

I think people avoid these conversations because they're really hard to have.

My girlfriend and I have quite different expectations for lifestyle before and after retirement. Every time we try to talk about it, we usually end up deciding not to talk about it anymore, or to leave it alone for a while and talk about it later.

Tough stuff...

FourPillars said...

CD, I think this can apply to a couple's current finances as well. Even though things might be going ok now, sometimes a new house, child etc can change things so that a couple that previously were perfectly in sync, might be thrown a bit out of kilter.


Canadian Dream said...


It is is a hard conversation to have then likely you need to have it. When it comes to money a couple must be able to see the other's point of view and come to some agreement about issues.


Good point. I'm fairly lucky my wife trusts my ideas, but still questions me once in a while. It keeps me from making mistakes.