Couple Crossroads

Retirement signals significant changes, not the least in your relationship with your significant other.

The sooner we all realise retirement will bring about a fundamental change in our lives, particularly in the relationship we share with a spouse or life partner, the better. Change doesn’t go down well with people because we like things to continue the way they were.

Children, careers, bills and routine can result in a couple growing apart without their realising it. It’s often with the empty nest that the first cracks start showing. Couples discover they haven’t learned to live with each other. They come to the crossroads, entering this period of time, and realise perhaps things aren’t that good between them.

It is also common practice for spouses to live separate financial lives, but this will all need to end in some way with retirement.

My message for people is to think about their lives differently: It’s not a matter of ‘when I retire’; prepare for all the changes that retirement will bring now.

Many wives who lose their husbands are left bereft (and likewise for the men), not even knowing who to call or which institutions are holding the assets. A spouse will find it so much easier to avoid over- or underspending if he or she is included in the thinking behind the portfolio strategy in the financial plan.  Do both spouses know and trust their financial advisor?

A process of self- and mutual discovery can lead to a more fulfilling relationship and meaningful retirement once the kids are no longer around: establish where the gaps are and create bridges. A life coach or your financial life planner can be a great facilitator for this process.

(This is an extract from an article in The Citizen, 7 July, based on an interview with Kim Potgieter, Director, Chartered Wealth Solutions.)

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