Have you talked to your partner about timing your retirements?

Nancy Bobo recently retired from a long and fulfilling career in nonprofits. But her husband, Bo (Melvin), a mental health therapist at a Des Moines hospital, isn’t ready to retire. They’re just one example of how couples have so many factors to consider—including timing—about how to share retirement.

Do your retirement personalities match? Take our quiz.

Don’t assume that you and your partner know everything about how to share your happily ever after together. Many couples wrangle with sharp contrasts in their retirement lifestyle dreams. Take this short personality quiz alone, then compare answers together.

Choose one answer for each question that best matches your outlook on retirement.

1. Which seems more appealing?

  1. Join a community club like Kiwanis.
  2. Work on something creative in your home studio.
  3. Golf everywhere from here to Scotland.

2. Which kind of trip would you prefer?

  1. A light-hearted cruise with sun and margaritas.
  2. Getting a big vacation home to share with people I love.
  3. An extended tour through southeast Asia.

3. Which phrase best describes your retirement priority?

  1. Get more involved in politics or a nonprofit, or find other ways to help my neighbors.
  2. Spend as much time as possible with grandkids and family.
  3. Adventure! For as long as my partner and I are up to the challenge.

4. What do you dream about at work when you think of retirement?

  1. Backyard or beach cookouts with new friends.
  2. Finally reading all those books I’ve neglected.
  3. Discovering new places and things I didn’t experience while I was at this desk!

5. Which of these would you rather spend money on in retirement?

  1. Leaving a legacy for causes I care about.
  2. New kitchen, bedroom, or similar house project.
  3. A big dream vacation for my entire family.

6. What’s your biggest worry about retirement?

  1. Missing the social side of my coworkers and career.
  2. Outliving our retirement savings.
  3. Staying healthy to enjoy an active retirement.

If you answered…

Mostly As: The social butterfly

You might spend your time meeting new friends through civic activities and causes.

  • To maximize your retirement, consider lowering your monthly expenses (mortgage, rent, utilities) so you can fund more lifestyle activities.
  • Consider diversifying your retirement income streams. Flexibility is a plus. If you can juggle a traditional and Roth IRA and non-qualified (taxable) sources of income, you can minimize what you pay in taxes.
  • Plan smart for health care costs—now. Work it into your retirement budget so it’s not as likely to diminish your lifestyle spending.

​​Mostly Bs: The homebody

You seem more comfortable with alone time in retirement and nesting with family.

  • Do you want to make home improvements? If so, plan them into your budget while you’re still working.
  • Location, location, location: Are you in the right spot for retirement? Have you considered how state and local taxes can affect your retirement paycheck? Some states offer the benefit of no income tax, especially on retirement distributions. Review your options now to give yourself time to move. The three big tax-friendly states for retirees are Florida, Texas, and Nevada. Others (not quite as warm) include Alaska, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming.
  • Similar to the social butterflies (mostly As), you may want to diversify your retirement income streams and plan ahead for health care costs.

Mostly Cs: The adventurer

You’re determined to spend retirement exploring the world.    

  • Decide on a home base. Since the world is your proverbial oyster, see how different countries compare in terms of health care coverage and retiree tax breaks.
  • Rent or own? Foreign home ownership can be tricky, so review local property laws. Renting may help you roam more freely.
  • Your travel priority may demand that you flip-flop the typical retiree budget equation (50% essentials, 30% lifestyle, 20% savings/goals) and instead devote 50% of your budget to lifestyle and 30% to essentials. And if many of your goals involve travel, that may expand your lifestyle budget even more.

Ready to get started?

  • Looking for estimates? Start visualizing retirement with your own info by visiting our planning tools and calculators.
  • Have a Principal retirement account from your employer? Log in to principal.com to access personalized planning, sign up for our quarterly newsletter and more. First time logging in? Get started here.
  • Interested in starting an individual retirement account (IRA) or consolidating other accounts into your existing one? Call 800-247-8000, ext. 2503 between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. CT. Not familiar with IRAs? Here’s a refresher.
  • Got a financial professional? They can help you figure out your next steps. If you’d like to meet with one face-to-face, we’ll help you find one.

Individual results will vary based on individual choices and life situations.

The subject matter in this communication is educational only and provided with the understanding that Principal® is not rendering legal, accounting, investment advice or tax advice. You should consult with appropriate counsel or other advisors on all matters pertaining to legal, tax, investment or accounting obligations and requirements.

Financial professionals provide education, which may be helpful in making personal retirement decisions.  Responsibility for those decisions is assumed by the participant, not by any member of Principal®. Participants should regularly review their savings progress and post-retirement needs.

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