You might think that retirement is only complicated by financial stress, but retirement can put a strain on your relationships as well. Couples may find many different challenges associated with retirement, but with divorce rates rising, it is evident that retirement is a difficult transition for married couples. Domestic squabbles are often a result of an increase in time, which may necessitate new routines, hobbies and re-distribution of household chores. Retirees need to talk with one another in order to work through new lifestyle changes. What strategies help retirees to stay together in retirement?

1. Be Open To Compromise

Lucky you! The first stage of retirement is often an easy period for couples, showing a marked increase in personal fulfillment and overall happiness. During this stage, couples won’t be as likely to argue and it’s a good time to discuss your expectations for one another.

Just because you’re retiring doesn’t mean you can let everything fall apart! You will still have familial responsibilities and need to maintain your current housing, unless you live in an assisted living facility that has housekeeping.

Couples need to remember the importance of compromise. For instance, some men will be reluctant to resume chores, if they leave work while married to a housewife. Minor disagreements that could arise from not delegating chores, can easily be resolved with a little discussion. You both need rest and relaxation in your retirement years, but you’ll also be likely to have more free time. Chores can be a good way to stay active and can even be worthwhile for retirees. Housework needs to get done somehow, so it’s better to discuss how it gets done in advance. “When couples fight about household chores, it’s usually not about the specific task but the symbolic meaning attached to it.”

When you take the time to assign responsibility at home, then it falls on the right shoulders. One partner may prefer dishes, while the other prefers laundry. If you can agree on your preferred chores, it will make things a little easier for everyone.

2. Stay On The Same Page

No matter what stage of life we’re in, it’s important that our partner understands what’s going on. Don’t leave additional room for interpretation, because it can cause worry and anxiety in a loving relationship. During the formative years of retirement, couples go through a lot of lifestyle changes that require adaptation. Stay on the same page to avoid domestic disagreements.

You might find that your partner has different lifestyle goals for retirement. This generally isn’t problematic as long as you both understand each other. Be sure that you are both in agreement about how to spend funds in joint retirement accounts. Retirees may be in for a surprise, if one spouse expects to spend a lot of time vacationing and the other wants to stay at home every day. Couples should talk about how they want to spend their combined savings.

3. Avoid Financial Infidelity

While most married couples have a joint checking account, it may be better to keep some expenses separate. We recommend having accounts for any categorical expenses that you would like to keep track of separately from your combined bank account. Sometimes couples choose to keep their own earnings in separate accounts for these types of expenses.

Many retirees choose to separate their entertainment expenses, so they will have a better grasp on how much each of them is spending. The funds for the account can come from either spouse, or both. Once again, it is important that you both understand each other’s expectations. You may need to agree on set limits for your combined, or personal spending.

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4. Have Your Own Social Group

Some couples burn out when they spend a lot of time together. Whether or not you’re still in the honeymoon phase, you’ll still need a little bit of space away from one another. It’s good to stay engaged with friends, so that you’ll have other people to share things with. Many couples have been together for years before their retirement and they need friends to share their stories with.

Friends are also a good way to stay relaxed and have fun, without being around your partner constantly. Ultimately, that little bit of extra distance can help strengthen a relationship, as long as couples are on the same page. Love causes us to worry for one another, so make sure your spouse knows about your plans with friends, but you don’t have to hang out as a unit all the time.

5. Find a Place at Home for Alone Time

Whether it’s an office or a small closet, any space in your home can be a good place to recollect your thoughts and enjoy some time alone. This becomes increasingly important as we age, reminisce and overcome personal obstacles from our lifetimes.

Although it might sound a little counter-intuitive to create more space for a healthy relationship, this can be ideal for many partners, particularly if either of them is introverted by nature. Having space for alone time will make it easier for you to heal and establish peace of mind, no matter what is happening in your everyday life. Couples with a little more space may find it easier to tolerate bad habits they perceive in their partner and a little space helps to keep things fresh.

6. Maintain Open Communication

Don’t let your concerns boil over, let them go by having an open discussion. Communication is vital in any relationship, whether it’s a friendship, romantic, or someone you met at work. It is even more important when it comes to living together as a couple.

Stay available for your partner and be there for them during your retirement. Let them know what you are looking for and what you want to achieve in the future. You can only work together towards your goals, if you both know what those goals are. The best way for couples to approach retirement is with an understanding of each other’s needs. If you don’t talk about anything, it will be harder for your partner to know what you want and they won’t be able to bring you closer to your goals for retirement.

Need help with budgeting your retirement accounts? No problem!

I’ve been in retirement planning since 1997 and know what has worked for hundreds of clients. Call today and schedule a complimentary appointment in our downtown Austin office. We have all of the right resources to invest, monitor and grow your retirement savings, for an optimal retirement income in your golden years.