What if My Spouse Wants to Retire but I’m Not Ready?

Talk through changes when one spouse wants to retire.

Many marriages thrive on routines, such as getting up for work at a certain time and later connecting at the dinner table for a conversation about what happened during the day. But what if your spouse wants to retire and you would prefer they continue working?

Retirement can completely change the energy of a household. Schedules will shift, financial plans could change, and spouses need to decide how they will adjust.

Communication about what to expect in your retirement years is an important part of the process. If you would like to connect with a professional to discuss strategies for marital harmony while transitioning to retirement, talk to a personal counselor.

Discussing Plans and Finances

Often individuals have been talking to their spouses about retirement for years before they leave the workforce. But the discussion could have been vague in some ways. A person could have been saying they want to retire before 70, but under 70 means different things to different people. One person could think that before 70 means 69 years old. They would then be surprised when their spouse announces they are ready to retire at 63.

Have detailed conversation about what you expect in your retirement and when you plan to retire, ideally years before a retirement occurs. Some of the questions you could discuss include the following:

  • At what age should one or both of us retire?
  • Are there any health concerns we should plan for in the future?
  • Do we plan on traveling in retirement? How often?
  • How will we handle household responsibilities?
  • Should we set up areas of the home where we can have time to ourselves?
  • Can we afford to retire in the way we imagine?

Income and expenses need to be carefully assessed, so you and your spouse understand how a retirement related income shift could impact your lifestyle. If you need more resources, one or both of you could decide to work a bit longer in your full time career or take on a side job during retirement. 

Spouse Wants to Retire and Explore New Things

Of course, even if you have carefully planned your retirement, there is the possibility of things changing in a way you hadn’t anticipated. With time spent away from work, new friends and hobbies are possible. This can be rewarding and strengthen a marriage, as long as both parties are open to these new experiences. 

Accepting change is part of life, and staying connected to your spouse is a path to a healthy marriage. Talk through the transition and bring up any discomforts or problems right away. Then, adjustments can be made. 

If your spouse wants to retire but you are not ready, discuss solutions. Maybe you are open to them reducing hours and working part time. Or you may be more open to their retirement if it would mean you could explore an interest together, something new and energizing.

Kendall Van Blarcom is a senior helping seniors. Contact Van Blarcom Consulting today for help with your personal problems. Or, reach out to provide support for an older adult in your life.

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