Married Couples’ Retirement Issues

Many times those couples who have enjoyed a long, happy marriage, find discord in their marriage once they retire.  Instead of enjoying their “golden years” these couples are experiencing serious marital problems that can actually threaten their marriage. 

According to a 2013 Fidelity Investment Couples Retirement Study, one of the reasons marital satisfaction drops and conflicts rise is because the married couple disagrees on how, when and where they will retire.  The survey discovered that:

  • Thirty-eight percent of couples disagree as to the lifestyle they expect to live once they retire
  • Thirty-six percent of couples do not agree on where they plan to live in retirement
  • One-third of couples approaching retirement don’t agree on whether they will continue working in retirement

When a couple retires, the dynamics of the marriage changes.  Instead of spending just a portion of the day together, the couple will now spend the majority of the day and night together.  The newly retired couple will need to not only work out how to spend time together, but also learn to give each other space, too.

Experts in the field have found that for some couples spending extended time together in retirement can bring out habits and characteristics in a spouse that are irritating and annoying.  These annoying traits were always there, but once a couple spends so much time together, they become more apparent and more aggravating.

When a couple retires, their life changes.  Many people view retirement as a loss of roles, income and productivity. A married couple needs to plan for retirement in more ways than financially.

When a couple retires, they initially find themselves in each others space as well as having too much time on their hands.  To successfully navigate retirement, the couple will need to grow both together and individually.  Looking for activities to do individually and as a couple, enrolling in a college course or volunteering will help keep a couple busy. 

Although it may take time to adjust to retirement, by keeping busy with new activities and by communicating openly and honestly with each other, a married couple can successfully navigate and enjoy this new phase in their lives.

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