Some married couples do everything together. They have the same hobbies and friends and rarely leave each other’s side outside of the workday.
Other married couples are more independent. They socialize by themselves, travel alone, and don’t mind a bit of separation.
No matter which camp you and your spouse fall into, when it comes to retirement, you may be wondering whether wrapping up your careers at the same time is a good idea. While there’s a benefit to going this route, there can also be some drawbacks.
Some people have difficulty with the transition into retirement. It can be jarring to go from a full-time work schedule to suddenly not having anywhere to be during the day. And it can also get lonely.
The upside of retiring along with your spouse is that you’ll have each other to navigate that tricky time. And you’ll have each other’s company to stay busy, whether it means exploring hiking trails in your area or doing projects around the house.
If you and your spouse both work, it’s one thing for one of you to retire and slash your household income to that degree. It’s another thing to lose both paychecks simultaneously.
You may find that it’s very stressful for you and your spouse to retire at the same time because it means having to cope with a significant drop in income, rather than a gradual one. It could also mean immediately having to scramble for health insurance coverage, whether through Medicare or another source.
You may decide that retiring at the same time is best for you and your spouse. But that’s going to require some careful financial planning.
First, take a look at your current expenses and see if they’re sustainable in the absence of both of you having jobs. It may be that you have enough savings and additional income to maintain your current lifestyle. But if not, you’ll need to sit down and figure out how to make some cuts.
You’ll also want to sync up on claiming Social Security. Waiting until full retirement age (FRA) will mean that each of you gets your full monthly benefit without a reduction. But if you and your spouse are retiring in your early 60s, one of you might need to claim Social Security ahead of FRA so you have some money coming in.
That said, you may decide that either you or your spouse should delay their Social Security filing for a higher monthly benefit for life. Often, it pays for the higher earner to go this route, but you may decide to approach things differently. Either way, you’ll need to strategize thoroughly.
The decision to retire is a big one, whether you’re married or not. But if you’re part of a couple, take the time to consider the benefits and drawbacks of retiring together. That way, you can feel more confident about your choice.
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