Should you retire together?
Before you and your spouse make the leap into retirement, consider some pros and cons.
As retirement approaches, deciding whether to retire with your spouse isn't always easy—and the correct answer varies from couple to couple. Barbara Delaney, principal of StoneStreet Equity in Pearl River, New York, recommends considering these pros and cons before you retire together:
A pro for retiring together.
Retiring together provides plenty of time for enjoying each other's company, and traveling while you're both on the go. During the first 10 to 12 years of retirement, most retirees are "still healthy and vibrant, able to get up and move around, which is great for traveling," Delaney says. "Once you hit your 80s there's generally a significant slowdown in mobility."
A con for retiring together.
More time together can be great, but suddenly spending all day, every day together may be too much for some couples to handle. Plus, Delaney says, some people struggle with an abrupt jump from a full-time job to full-time leisure. "I see a lot of people who say they wish they had done it gradually," Delaney says.
A pro for a staggered retirement.
Having one spouse retire first gives him or her time to get used to a different lifestyle while the other continues to work and save for retirement. "It provides time to get a better handle on your income and assets," Delaney says. Staggered retirement also can be beneficial if the working spouse has an employer that covers health care costs. Plus, Delaney says, "If you're in good health, you can increase your Social Security benefits by putting off retirement up to age 70."
» Learn more about Social Security benefits, including an explanation of spousal benefits and special provisions.
A con for a staggered retirement.
If one spouse retires and the other doesn't, the retired spouse may be frustrated with the working spouse's inflexible schedule or inability to travel. And the working spouse may resent the leisure time the retired spouse enjoys.
Regardless what retirement decision you and your spouse make, carefully consider the options now to help ensure many happy years to come.