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Spouse Retire At Same Or Different Time
Old 05-23-2005, 01:05 PM   #1
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Spouse Retire At Same Or Different Time

For the folks with working spouses. Is there an advantage to retiring about the same time or at different times? I could legally retire later this year. My wife expects to retire next year. It is possible that I will retire in the next two years depending on buy out offers at work and financial support issues for my younger son, still in high school, but it could be several years more. But I also think it is a good idea that my wife gets retired first. We get to adjust to a lower income and get to see what she will do with her free time.
Is there some advantage to retiring at the same time? A complete, "cold turkey" shift from work to retired life for both people?
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Re: Spouse Retire At Same Or Different Time
Old 05-23-2005, 01:25 PM   #2
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Re: Spouse Retire At Same Or Different Time

All things being equal, I think an offset retirement is a good idea. In the event you discover it just 'isnt for you', at least one of you is still pulling in a paycheck. You dont both have to go through a major social change at the same time while immediately spending far more time together than you ever have before. In other words, less concurrent couples change.

But if you get along great, love the idea of spending much more time together all the time, and are 100% sure immediate retirement is good stuff for both of you, no regrets or reconsideration necessary, then I dont think theres any difference.
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Re: Spouse Retire At Same Or Different Time
Old 05-23-2005, 01:35 PM   #3
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Re: Spouse Retire At Same Or Different Time

My wife retired six years ago (age 44) and it's worked out fine. You might find that in a situation like this you sometimes feel "Hey, I make all the money and she spends all the money." but that hasn't been a problem for us.
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Re: Spouse Retire At Same Or Different Time
Old 05-23-2005, 01:45 PM   #4
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Re: Spouse Retire At Same Or Different Time

My wife went to teaching half-time four years before she fully retired. I retired from the U.S. gov't two years before her full retirement and then worked two days a week as a contractor to my former agency. She retired fully last July and I retired fully last Sept. She is 57 and I am 58. The phased retirement worked out well for us. We had time to begin developing new interests that carried over into retirement and we got used to spending more time at home together gradually. It also gave us time to research where we wanted to move, get the house ready to sell and do some travelling.

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Old 05-23-2005, 02:50 PM   #5
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We've done it both ways.


My spouse "retired" the first time in early 2001 when I had about 15 months left. She basically sat in the recliner for six months, alternating with painting the house, until the occupational therapy overcame her burnout. It was no problem, and the quality of our cooking sure went up!

By the time I was retired she was working a week or two a month. Again it was no problem-- this time I was the one recovering from burnout, working on the house & yard, and improving the quality of our cuisine.

Now that her P/T work is tailing off we're both at home. Again, no problem. We usually work on one project together for an hour or two, do our own thing for a while, and find plenty of ways to spend quality time together.

It's probably different for everyone. I wouldn't stick with a miserable job just to give my spouse the time to work through her retirement transition. If my spouse was burned out from work, I also wouldn't expect a lot of sympathy for problems at home or for being "lonely". If the two of you enjoy each other's company then retiring together will work just as well as retiring separately. If you can't stand too much togetherness then you'll just have to spend your time at opposite ends of the house!

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Re: Spouse Retire At Same Or Different Time
Old 05-23-2005, 03:13 PM   #6
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Re: Spouse Retire At Same Or Different Time

Good question! I am pondering that same issue right now. My husband retires in mid-October. I am still undecided whether to leave my job at the same time or work a few months longer. I keep thinking an adjustment period is warranted. Will keep you posted on what I decide. My thought process seems to fluctuate in proportion to the work that keeps piling up on my desk. :
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Re: Spouse Retire At Same Or Different Time
Old 05-23-2005, 03:21 PM   #7
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Re: Spouse Retire At Same Or Different Time

My sweetheart retired 11 months ago when her agency had an early out (and mine didn't). Since I normally got up and left before she did anyway, it isn't like I'm having it rubbed in my face that she isn't going to work.

I figure it is a good idea to let one person leave first and have some time to mellow out, and not suddenly throw two people together 24/7 that have normally not seen each other during work hours five days a week.

But if you've got a window that is closing I'd say to jump out of it while you can.

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