Broker Check

The May-December Retirement Challenge

November 27, 2018

When one spouse or partner is considerably older than the other, retirement may unfold differently for that couple than it does for others.

Most importantly, the younger spouse or partner must realize how self-reliant he or she may need to be decades from now.

If you are a Gen Xer married to or partnered with a Baby Boomer, the prime challenge may be making your own wealth last until your eighties or nineties. Your spouse or partner may have a greater amount of wealth and retirement savings than you do, but future long-term care or hospital expenses may reduce it to an extent you cannot anticipate. Consider also that you might need to retire earlier than you think, to care or simply be with your spouse or partner if he or she becomes physically or mentally frail. If you can work well into your sixties, this can be a plus, as you can maintain your own income and keep up your own retirement savings effort. If you are in your early sixties and your partner or spouse is in his or her eighties and in need of eldercare, having at least one income can help if your home needs upkeep or if you need to downsize. If you intend to retire together, your loved one may be eligible for Medicare, but you may be without any health insurance for some time (and the average annual premium for individual private health coverage was $6,896 this year, by the estimate of the National Conference of State Legislatures). These matters all deserve consideration before a retirement decision is made.2