How Long is ‘Till Death Do Us Part?’

One result of today’s longer lifespans is that marriages last longer too — unless they’re cut short by divorce. People may have been more likely to stay married when retirement lasted just 10 or 20 years, but now that more retirees live into their 80s and 90s, divorce is a more common option.

Between 1990 and 2010, the number of failed marriages doubled for people over age 50. As if retirement income planning wasn’t difficult enough, divorce can significantly impact a well-developed strategy. The point isn’t to start working on two separate retirement income strategies just in case of divorce, it’s to consider what you want your lifestyle to be like during retirement.

It’s important to have discussions like this with your spouse years before the big day comes, because you may find your ideas are completely different from your spouse’s. One or both of you may realize you just won’t be compatible spending so much time together (or apart, doing different things) after all those years of family and career monopolizing your relationship.

Or, hopefully, you’ll identify any issues you need to address and work on them together. Just because a couple has been married for a long time doesn’t mean they no longer have to work at it. The idea is to retire from your job, not your marriage. It’s important to ensure your relationship remains as strong and sustainable as your retirement income, especially now that both may last longer than in past generations.

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