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more couples disagree over their retirement plans
Old 06-11-2009, 09:46 AM   #1
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more couples disagree over their retirement plans

honey-we-need-talk: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance

I am seeing this myself. Anyone else?
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Old 06-11-2009, 09:58 AM   #2
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From the article:

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Couples' expected retirement age has increased by a year, on average, since the 2007 survey, with husbands expecting to retire at age 64, up from 63 two years ago, and wives expecting to retire at age 63, up from 62.
One thing this doesn't answer is when husbands expect their wife to retire, and when wives expect their husbands to retire. That would answer a question: Are many partners assuming their spouse will w*rk longer than they do? There can be good reasons for this (higher income keeps working and getting health insurance, other spouse does all the housework and errands), and there can be purely selfish reasons for this (I'm sick of working and someone needs to earn a paycheck).
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Old 06-11-2009, 10:08 AM   #3
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Hoooboy...this is gonna be an excellent thread.

Real experience - I was the leader of the pack in this department in marriage to LH and still am in pending marriage to dh2b. I think it was mainly because I used to listen to fellow engineers talk about investments on w*rk breaks. I also took the intiative to educate myself about investing and retirement. I tend to focus strongly on new information and this area was no exception.
I have mentioned this before...and will repeat it. There can never enough retirement and estate planning involved for a couple. Life happens.
If you are not on the same page, find a happy medium. It is perfectly OK for one partner to lead, but the "follower" has to be completely up to speed, and have it all written down.
BTW, if anybody wants to ask me any detailed questions about what to do ahead of time (in case the unspeakable happens), I will not be offended and more than happy to share knowledge.
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Old 06-11-2009, 10:09 AM   #4
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What an interesting and relevant topic!

It is just plain HARD to coordinate plans for something as incredibly complex and financially challenging as early retirement. I am sure that many or most of us are having these problems.

Frank and I have skirted the issues somewhat, in that our finances are completely separate. However, we will both be "investing" in the move to Missouri so that part has to be coordinated. Luckily, we are pretty much in complete agreement about the move although I am very specific to the point of tunnel vision about which neighborhoods I want to live in. He is perhaps less specific. But we can work this out since there are a plethora of houses for sale in our future ER location. Other than that, we have no disagreements at all about the move, that I know of.

Sometimes I worry that he will not be able to afford to retire at all, and I have to remind myself that that is his worry and not mine. I find myself wanting to nag him about LBYM, when really it is not my business since he is not spending MY money anyway! So nagging is not appropriate and I try not to do it. Our investing philosophies are completely different, so actually it is interesting to see what he does and how it comes out. He did better than I did, in 2008.

I am 61 and when I retire, that's it. Done, finished, no more work period. Jobs in my occupation that pay well are very rare. He is only 54, makes more than me, and can always take an engineering contract job if he needs more $$$, so his perpective on these things is a little more easygoing than mine. Plus, he will be getting a lot more SS than I will be getting. Otherwise I don't know much about his plan. He is mathematically quite literate, naturally, and he is pretty sure that he will be able to retire at some point so I try to have faith in his plan.
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Old 06-11-2009, 10:13 AM   #5
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If you are not on the same page, find a happy medium. It is perfectly OK for one partner to lead, but the "follower" has to be completely up to speed, and have it all written down.
And the follower has to trust the decision-making of the leader and accept it.

I'm clearly the leader here, partially because I'm a control freak about financial planning and partially because my wife has no interest in it and she trusts me. (Makes a perfect symbiosis, really, as long as the leader knows what he/she is doing.)

And in reality, I don't know when we'll retire or even if we'll retire at the same time. It depends on a number of factors and we're young enough (43 and 41) that a lot can change over the next few years in our financial situation and how much we like/hate our j*bs. Ideally my wife will like her new job, stick it out for 20 years and retire with the pension at 60. But things aren't always ideal so it's not something we're planning on having -- yet.

All we can keep doing is building our nest egg for now. In a few years, I think things will be more clear.
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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 06-11-2009, 10:42 AM   #6
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My late husband and I kept our finances seperate . It had good parts and bad parts . The good part was it eliminated any stress about finances . The bad part is you miss a certain intimacy that comes from sharing your finances . Let's face it intimacy comes with trust and if you can trust someone with your money the relationship is stronger . He retired before I did since he was older and since he died I never got the answer to the question " Was my retirement my problem to finance " ? If the answer had been yes I would have been crushed since isn't that what commitment is helping each other with our goals ?
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Old 06-11-2009, 10:52 AM   #7
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My late husband and I kept our finances seperate . It had good parts and bad parts . The good part was it eliminated any stress about finances . The bad part is you miss a certain intimacy that comes from sharing your finances . Let's face it intimacy comes with trust and if you can trust someone with your money the relationship is stronger . He retired before I did since he was older and since he died I never got the answer to the question " Was my retirement my problem to finance " ? If the answer had been yes I would have been crushed since isn't that what commitment is helping each other with our goals ?
What about your present SO that I think you mentioned lives with you in your house? Is he retired yet? Do you have any disagreements on how to handle your retirement finances or other retirement issues? I assume from your statement above that as far as finances go, everything is pooled with him, at this point. Inquiring minds want to know.
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Old 06-11-2009, 11:21 AM   #8
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DW and I will pull the shoot on the exact same day. The Day she turns 55, we will jump into the ER pool together. We don't think it would be fair for one of us to be retired and the the other going to the grind. Our retirment goals are planned together and we cant wait for her 55 th birthday. Why 55 you ask? Because my wife will qualify for free medical coverage from her company until Medicare takes over. Also by then, our nest egg will be significant (unless the dollar becomes worthless, then we are screwed).
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Old 06-11-2009, 11:24 AM   #9
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My late husband and I kept our finances seperate . It had good parts and bad parts . The good part was it eliminated any stress about finances . The bad part is you miss a certain intimacy that comes from sharing your finances . Let's face it intimacy comes with trust and if you can trust someone with your money the relationship is stronger .
While this also works for me, I wouldn't go so far as claim it in a blanket statement. One of the interesting things about life is that we all have different wants. That can make it difficult to find someone compatible, but on the flip side, it makes it more special when you find that someone.

I wouldn't say that everyone needs shared finances to build trust and intimacy in each other. Trust can be built in many other ways, too, and can be just as deep as long as it isn't subsequently betrayed.
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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 06-11-2009, 11:27 AM   #10
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I think that having separate finances is very important if you aren't married, for obvious reasons. My opinion is a bit cloudier on married couples, but I will say that we keep ours together, and that is what I counsel young couples to do.


As for older folks getting married later in life (or not getting married as the case may be)--I'd be safer to say whatever works, should be done. I think that W2R's system is an excellent one, and certainly makes sense to me! Seems like she and her SO are a great fit from what she's posted here.

DH and I will retire years apart, mostly because he is 8 yrs older than me. I won't really expect him to learn to cook, learn not to dry my clothes to death, figure out where the grocery store and toilet brush are, etc, but I hope that he will be happier, healthier and a lot of fun when he puts down the work mantle in just a few short years.
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Old 06-11-2009, 11:34 AM   #11
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DW and I will pull the shoot on the exact same day. The Day she turns 55, we will jump into the ER pool together. We don't think it would be fair for one of us to be retired and the the other going to the grind.
There are a lot of definitions of "fair." Retiring at the same time might not be "fair" if one of you worked many more years than the other (especially if no kidlets were in the picture).

I don't *plan* to retire earlier than my wife, but it would be hardly "unfair" if I did given how many years I accommodated her so she could stay home and/or go to school while I kept on the grind at Megacorp, plus the fact that she's nearly 3 years younger. I don't intend to play that card or "keep score" that way, but if -- IF -- I did retire (say) 5 years earlier, it would hardly be unfair to her in our present situation. And that may or may not happen depending on many things outside of our control in the years to come.
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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 06-11-2009, 11:39 AM   #12
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Daydreamer, like Ziggy, I don't consider it unfair in the least that DH will retire well ahead of me, and as you say, "pull the chute" earlier.
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Old 06-11-2009, 11:43 AM   #13
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I think that having separate finances is very important if you aren't married, for obvious reasons. My opinion is a bit cloudier on married couples, but I will say that we keep ours together, and that is what I counsel young couples to do.
If I had a dollar for every disagreement avoided because LH and I kept some "mad money" in a separate account for those "because I want to" things...
He was an avid sailing buff. I enjoyed it, but not as intensely. 3 years before he passed, he talked me into going for a HE loan to buy a used 34' sailboat. I was totally against the HE loan idea, but I compromised and said OK as long as he made the loan payments so I could continue heavy duty investing in the wake of the tech bubble burst. All in joint accounts.
I also shared in the rest of the costs. So we found the happy medium. We bought the boat together using our house as collateral.
I am so glad I agreed because he got to fulfill a life's dream.
I'm also glad because fate later decided I really needed that portfolio built at that earlier time.

Sometimes it w*rks...each case is as different as the people involved.
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Old 06-11-2009, 11:46 AM   #14
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I absolutely agree that unmarried couples are smart to keep their finances separate but I do not agree that unmarried committed couples have no responsibility for the other partner . My So and I have our finances separate but we do not feel that if one person can not afford something that is strictly their problem . I have a problem with that concept but to each his own .
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Old 06-11-2009, 03:13 PM   #15
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Ah, variety, the spice of life, Moe! I think if they live together, there is some responsibility as you say. That would only make sense. But if there is no cohabitation (or as we still love to say in the South--livin' in sin) then I'd say each takes care of his/her own and shares as the parties see fit.

I'm very grateful to freebird for sharing her story as well, that is so sweet about the sailboat. I know that getting our sailboat and planning the trip we took on it in 2003 was one of the biggest highlights of my DH's life. Though I am fortunate to still have him around, I know that the dream deferred is not always the best.

Thanks much freebird, for your wisdom borne of tough experience.
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Old 06-11-2009, 03:20 PM   #16
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DW and I agree completely agree on the retirement plan. We split duties. I'm in charge of making and investing the money and she is in charge of spending the money. I think we are both experts in our areas of concentration.

90% kidding here, of course.
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Old 06-11-2009, 05:07 PM   #17
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90% kidding here, of course.
Maybe. Maybe not.
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Old 06-12-2009, 09:03 AM   #18
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No issues here, other than she wants to retire before me because she's older.

I'm 47, she's 51. Current plan is for her to retire at 56, me at 53 (In other words, she retires one year before me). She'll spend that year "getting ready" for me to be retired...things like getting all "pent up" house work done by contractors, re-quoting insurance policies, planning our 2 month retirement vacation, getting our wills updated, and so on.

We've both worked 50 hour weeks our entire career, so she says she'll also cook me dinner each night...a luxury I've never experienced as an adult.

When it comes to the financial planning though, we are on the same page. I work in Corporate Finance, so I know the ropes. Once a year we sit down for 4 hours and go through every detail. Balances, accounts, diversification, changes I plan to make, paycheck deductions for savings plans, last year's market returns, etc. She hates this but realizes it's necessary in case anything happens to me.

Now all we need is a major rally over the next 2 years in the S&P. . We're about 80% in stocks now and want to slowly move that down to 50% by the time we stop wor*ing.

I told her that when I reached the time I was ready to retire, I may come to her and say "honey, I've decided to work one more year, and use the entire year's income to buy that sports car I always wanted". She rolled her eyes.

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Old 06-13-2009, 09:41 AM   #19
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Dave, that is pretty close to home, actually. I told DH that if he wanted to work another year past 50 and save all of his take-home to buy a boat, that would be fine with me. Otherwise he'll be getting the boat I think he needs, which will be smaller, older, cheaper and in more need of repair.

Basically our story is if he works past 50, he gets to decide what to buy with the money.
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Old 06-13-2009, 09:55 AM   #20
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I absolutely agree that unmarried couples are smart to keep their finances separate but I do not agree that unmarried committed couples have no responsibility for the other partner . My So and I have our finances separate but we do not feel that if one person can not afford something that is strictly their problem . I have a problem with that concept but to each his own .
The good news is that there are many areas (health benefits, retirement beneficiary designations for "insurable interest" parties, Self +1 policies, trusts) where it is possible to take care of a SO or life partner in the absence of legal marriage.
NOLO has an excellent book covering such situations. "Living Together - A Legal Guide for Unmarried Couples", authors Warner, Ihara, & Hertz. It is one of my most used references.
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