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How Couples Choose When to Retire
Old 04-11-2012, 11:59 AM   #1
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How Couples Choose When to Retire

Apologies if this has already been posted; didn't see it:

How Couples Decide When to Retire - WSJ.com

(my emphasis added)

Quote:
The odds are your spouse won't feel the same way you do about when to retire. A recent study by Fidelity Investments found that well over half of couples—62%—disagree on the timing of their respective retirements.

...

The talks about when to retire seem much more sensitive and difficult than the question of where to retire (which I recently examined in an article in these pages, "He Says Maine, She Says Florida"). The question of when involves focusing on money, age differences, job satisfaction and gender roles—often all at the same time. Not to mention marital happiness and the prospect of more time together.
I would include health considerations to the above -- whether you are healthy enough to keep working, whether or not you could afford non-employer health insurance if you were not healthy, et cetera.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 04-11-2012, 12:01 PM   #2
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I enjoyed that series in the WSJ, too. And thought it was interesting that some of the couples had different ideas about retirement. I guess it is a good thing that my DH and I would race for the door like some kind of 3 Stooges skit if given the chance!
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:05 PM   #3
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Good article, DW and I disagree.

I retired last Jun at 57 with DW's (age 55) encouragement. She told me she planned to keep working. But I assumed after a few months with me at home and her at work, she'd change her mind. After more than 9 months she hasn't, that's what I get for not taking her at her word even after 32 years together.

She still likes her job, though she's had some medical issues and I think she feels an obligation to provide (employer) health care for us. I got several quotes for health insurance before I retired and it was available, but most of them said when DW had gone 5 years or more without any serious medical issues, the rates would be lower. I think that has really affected her POV.

Yesterday she said her CEO boss had announced his plan to retire summer 2014 (lengthy succession plan required). She told me she was thinking she'd just retire when he does. That coincides nicely with her 5 year health care premium threshold.

Life is full of surprises. Maybe I'll go back to work when she retires just for fun...
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:08 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Sarah in SC View Post
I guess it is a good thing that my DH and I would race for the door like some kind of 3 Stooges skit if given the chance!
Right now I think that will be us, too, though time will tell how much she comes to enjoy her new ministry career. In any event, even if she didn't want to retire when I did, I'd be willing to follow her as long as I still could.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 04-11-2012, 12:24 PM   #5
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This is an important topic, and one that can cause a lot of confusion and dissention. They say talk about everything, but talking and communicating are two completely different things. I talked to DW for years, 10 or more about my desire to ER and my plans, hopes, thoughts, etc. When I got the chance to FIRE by taking a buyout she was taken off guard, but said "go for it". She was already not working due to the family business she worked in getting sold. So when I FIREd I was ready for my dream life. But after a year or two she was getting cranky and unhappy. When I asked her why she said she wasn't ready to be retired. I said "but, but ,but, we talked about this!". She said I talked about it, but she pretty much tuned me out because she didn't really believe it would ever happen.

Luckily, now that we've been FIREd for 6 years she's gotten more used to it. We love where we've moved to, and she's gotten so used to the slower pace of life here that she hates going back to the city (where DD and DGD live) too. She's found a passion that she is working on turning into a career. That's fine with me. FIRE, kept man, it all fits into my future plans.
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:26 PM   #6
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Wow, interesting article, Ziggy29. I had no idea that so many couples had difficulty agreeing on when to retire.

In our case, I had my retirement date planned for a long time ahead of time, so he knew when that would be. For about a year before I retired, his program was winding down and laying off everyone, in stages. He waited until he was laid off about 3 months after me and chose to retire at that time. That worked out really well for us.
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:26 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by harley View Post
They say talk about everything, but talking and communicating are two completely different things.
Well put. "Talking" doesn't necessarily imply mutual listening. Communicating does.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 04-11-2012, 12:28 PM   #8
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Yes, many couples do not see eye to eye when it comes to retirement. I think in a way it is similar to the discussion on college tuition, when the parents and child find they are thinking different things. By then it's too late to avoid hard feelings and resentment.

Retirement is a goal that needs to be shared by both partners, and it needs to be talked about early and often. Early retirement more so, and even that does not assure it will happen, but it will help.
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:43 PM   #9
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My SO is a repeat retiree .He retired when I did but got bored and went back to work then he retired again and got bored and returned to work . This has happened several times and it really does not affect our relationship . We still travel together and spend a lot of time together . Currently he is working from home so he is very flexible . IMO as long as both individuals are happy with their choices and the other partner respects their choices the partnership will flourish.
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:46 PM   #10
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For about a year before I retired, his program was winding down and laying off everyone, in stages. He waited until he was laid off about 3 months after me and chose to retire at that time. That worked out really well for us.
Yeah, my "dream outcome" is to be laid off and given a nice severance package right as I was gearing up to pack it in anyway...
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

RIP to Reemy, my avatar dog (2003 - 9/16/2017)
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:58 PM   #11
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Earlier, my wife said we'd not work a day past the day I retire. Well, she decided to help pay for graduate school for the kids. I told her I didn't sign up for that (I'll help with what I can, but I won't work for them to go to school). So now, she'll be working a minimum of 2 years after I retire. I've been working on her and other friends that what they are doing is working so the kids don't have to. At some point that has to stop. So I'm putting my foot down and retiring on schedule, even though she and some of her friends are hinting I should work as long as she does. Currently, 2/3 of her pay check goes to paying student loans. I'm guessing 100% will go to loans by the time I retire.
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:03 PM   #12
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Currently, 2/3 of her pay check goes to paying student loans. I'm guessing 100% will go to loans by the time I retire.
Boy, howdy...that is something that I could never do, especially for someone else to go to school. I sure hope you can talk some sense into her and that you hold firm on your own plans. Yikes!
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:05 PM   #13
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Guess we were lucky. Never even gave it a thought that we needed to agree on "when". I retired when I could; she worked two more years because she wanted to. No conflict; no issue. That's good (as is our marriage).
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:15 PM   #14
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Read this on Saturday and thought the DW might enjoy it so passed it along. She returned the paper saying "this was really interesting". So, I replied asking her what part she found interesting, thinking we may need to discuss some things, but she says she found the whole thing interesting and was just stroking me

I found it really interesting
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:25 PM   #15
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I was long retired before my wife and children met me, so it was never an issue. In the first grade, (when asked by the teacher what his parents do) He simply replies, Mom works in the hospital and Dad makes money on the computer!
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:30 PM   #16
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During the planning stages, DW and I seemed to be on the same page regarding retirement dates.

But a number of circumstances have changed that significantly. First, we reached FI years ahead of schedule. For me, the decision to retire was fairly simple. I was bored at my job and, when my contract ended, I decided not to look for another one. DW, though, was actually at a pretty exciting point in her career and retiring at that point was out of the question. A couple years later, she is still not ready. In a few weeks, we will be moving across country so that she can pursue a fantastic job opportunity. By the look of things, she has no intention to retire anytime soon.
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:47 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggy29
Yeah, my "dream outcome" is to be laid off and given a nice severance package right as I was gearing up to pack it in anyway...
I think he might have worked longer, had that been an option. I am so glad he didn't, because it was becoming hard on his health. He is still looking for work every week, and would rather have a bigger nestegg, but since this sort of fell in his lap we are living for today and enjoying it immensely. So far, so good.
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Old 04-11-2012, 02:00 PM   #18
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In hindsight, DH should probably have retired earlier (on disability) as work affected his health negatively for the last year or so that he worked. I continued w*rking until we were unquestionably FI and was surprised how readily he agreed that I should RE earlier than our original plan (I was going to w*rk until at least this fall when I hit 55). Of course, my j*b stress made life around here pretty miserable for him I suspect - it wasn't until I retired that I realized how unpleasant I must have been to be around. So it all worked out well for us.
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Old 04-11-2012, 02:16 PM   #19
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Fortunately for us we both wanted to retire as soon as we were financially able to. Neither of us liked working enough to want to prolong the experience.
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Old 04-11-2012, 02:32 PM   #20
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I was wondering why I hadn't seen anyone here post on that article, I figured I missed the posting!

I found the article very interesting and was amazed at the high percentages of couples who disagreed on timing of retirement or who hadn't really discussed it.

My wife and I are totally on the same page, but we discuss these issues a lot and that is likely why. 2 years 9 months for her and 2 years 6 months for me! On our respective 55th birthdays. The timing is more on her side than mine as she will have the number of years AND age to retire and get a partial pension. We are just too close to walk away from that steady cash even though I personally feel like we are FI now.

I read articles like that and it makes me appreciate my wife even more!
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