Many of us spend our working lives dreaming about retirement. Picturing the long vacations, golf trips, time spent with grandchildren, or enjoying a hobby often brings joy to us as we eagerly anticipate this next step in our lives. However, a recent retirement study conducted by Fidelity Investments reported that one in three couples have very different visions of their expected lifestyles in retirement. As a result, the divorce rate among adults ages fifty and older has doubled since the 1990s, while the divorce rate among couples 65 years and older has tripled, according to a Pew Research Center report. If your marriage is showing more signs of stress because of retirement-related issues, you are not alone. Here are some helpful tips that can encourage you to take a closer look at the impact retirement is having on your marriage and provide you the guidance you need, should you decide to pursue a divorce.
1. Be Clear With Each Other About Your Visions for Retirement
Even after years of marriage, your spouse cannot read your mind. Be open with your partner about the expectations you have when you both retire. Do you plan to go on several trips? Will you be gardening every day? How much time do you want to spend with your grandchildren? Making sure you and your spouse are on the same page about what you both want out of retirement will help you navigate potential conflicts down the road.
2. Discuss How Your Identities Will Change
This is especially important if you and your partner plan to retire at different times. When this happens, you will independently transition from your role as a breadwinner to that of a retiree at different times, which may make it difficult to understand how the other person feels. Leaving your professional self behind to become more of a homemaker to support the spouse who is still working can be a challenging transition. As long as you are open and honest with each other about your expectations and what you need from each other, the potential for strife can be minimized.
3. Develop a Financial Budget Together
While employed, it is easy for one person to step up as the primary financial contributor. In retirement, however, your finances will likely be more limited, so it is important to take some time together to look over your finances together and create a comfortable budget. When both partners are able to understand their financial goals, it is easier for them to support each other as they adjust to a new standard of living.
4. Spend Some Time Apart
When both spouses retire, there can be an unexpected adjustment period when they are faced with the reality of having so much time together. Therefore, it is critical for each person to take some time to pursue their own interests and carve out opportunities for some self-reflection. Sometimes, couples find it is helpful to designate separate areas in the home where each person can find refuge when they need some time alone. Spending time apart allows each person to develop their hobbies and creative pursuits, which tends to strengthen the marital bonds once the couple reunites over a shared meal.
5. Designate Quality Time Together
While it is critical that each person spends some time exploring their individual passions, it is equally important for the couple to spend quality time together. When both people are home together most of the time, it can be easy to forget to nurture the marriage by mindfully conversing and connecting with each other. Schedule regular romantic dates, such as a meal at a café, and walk through a park, or simply conversing over coffee in the morning.
When it Simply Doesn’t Work Out
Sometimes, even after all the work you have done, divorce is still the best option for you. John L. Davis PLLC is here to talk you through all aspects of divorce, including how retirement will impact your divorce. We consider divorce cases from a holistic perspective, integrating business law, real estate law, and family law in our approach. Contact our friendly Vancouver office today at (360) 597-4740 to speak with an understanding and trusted divorce attorney.