Thursday, May 23, 2024

What Happens When Your Partner Retires Before You Do?

Many couples think they’ll retire at the same time. They’ve experienced many of life events together, and retirement is just another one. But for many couples, one partner will retire before the other. It’s not uncommon today to see this. In fact, it’s more common than most of us think. The key is to understand what’s important to each person.

Understand your retirement mindset

It’s not uncommon for couples to view retirement differently. Some people really look forward to retirement. They have a very positive and optimistic view of it. While others may not feel the same way and have a negative view of retirement.

It’s important to talk about money with your partner, and having differing views on retirement can hold couples back from talking about their plans, dreams or goals for retirement. It’s essential to understand each other’s mindset.

Discuss your planned retirement timing

There should be no surprises between couples when it comes to retirement planning. It’s perfectly fine to retire before, after or at the same time as your partner. It really depends on your own personal situation. Trying to retire at the same time may be unrealistic, particularly if there’s an age gap between you and your partner. Talking about your plans will help ensure your expectations align.

Can you afford to retire?

When you retire likely has a lot to do with retirement affordability and whether you have sufficient savings. According to Statistics Canada, 62 is the average age of retirement. However, there’s a growing trend in Canada to delay retirement. You may want to retire, but may need to work longer to afford your lifestyle. The Canada Pension Plan may not be enough to maintain your desired standard of living in retirement. You may need at least one partner to keep earning income.

How will you spend your time in retirement?

If you decide to retire before your partner, you need to consider how you’ll spend your time in retirement. If your partner continues to work, what will you do during the day? Do you have hobbies or activities to fill your time? Loneliness can easily creep into your life if you’re not engaging in things that create meaning or bring joy to your life. You may grow resentful, which could hurt your relationship. This is one reason why it’s important to talk about retirement with your partner long before it happens, beyond just the financial considerations.

Make a retirement plan together

Regardless of who retires first, it’s essential for couples take the time to make a retirement plan and talk through the practical considerations.

To get started, review your retirement savings and calculate how much you’ll need to retire using the Government of Canada’s retirement calculator.

For couples, creating a successful retirement has less to do with when you each retire and more to do with being aligned on your goals, dreams and vision.

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