5 Questions for Couples Who Want to Retire at 50

My husband and I are dreaming about what it’d be like to retire in our 50s – which is less than ten years from now! I researched money and retirement tips for couples who are 50+ and found good financial advice on our bank’s website. If you’re hoping to retire with your husband or wife in your 50s, you’ll find some helpful advice here. I hope. If not, maybe you could give me advice. My door is always open for financial tips that make life easier :-)

I started earning a full-time living as a blogger a couple years before I turned 40. Now that I’m in my early 50s I’m thinking about what retirement looks like for me – a writer who doesn’t want to actually “retire” in the traditional sense of the word. I love writing! In fact, I’m more interested in researching and writing articles like How to Make Your RV Retirement Dreams Come True. These tips on how to retire in your 50s are more for my husband than me. I want him to retire so we can travel and I can keep blogging.

My husband and I paid off our mortgage a couple years ago; money management isn’t our problem. The problem is figuring out how much life we have left. It’s tricky, isn’t it? We want to retire young enough to be healthy and adventurous, but old enough that we have enough money saved up to be comfortable in our retirement. Not an easy thing to predict but I’m hoping we’ll be finished with the formal workplace before we turn 60.

When is the best time to start talking about how much money you need to retire in your 50s? Thirty years ago! When is the second best time? Right now.

Do You Want to Retire in Your 50s?

Here’s one of the most important questions: Do you think you don’t make enough money, or you’re “bad” with money? Do you think your husband spends money carelessly, or doesn’t understand how to take care of the household finances? These are negative money beliefs. They can stop you from setting and achieving realistic financial goals. What you believe about money has a huge impact on your ability to manage wealth, make retirement plans, and even relate honestly to your husband.

The financial writer on the bank’s website – who is anonymous – advises retiring couples to follow the classic 5 “W”s. Who, what, where, when and why. These questions and tips won’t just help you cope with the fear of running out of money. They’ll also help you have a good conversation with your spouse and avoid surprises the day after you leave work.

1. Should you both retire at the same time?

It’s a good idea to start with “who.” As in, who will retire first? While you might have been thinking that you will both be retiring at the same time, this might not be practical for a few reasons.

If one of you is older than the other, it might be better for that person to retire ahead of time. At the same time, if one of you has a flexible work arrangement, you might be able to enjoy some of the benefits of retirement while maintaining a paycheck. Or, if you just want some extra cash to finance retirement, staggering your retirement may make good sense (financial and otherwise).

Are your money personalities wildly different? Now is the time to start figuring out how to make them more compatible. Even if you and your husband are both savers who never disagree about how much to spend on a gift or groceries, you’ll probably face financial difficulties sooner or later. Dealing with money issues in marriage is normal, and certainly doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with your relationship. The key is to ride the ups and downs of debt, income, and household bills without losing sight of the big picture (retiring in your 50s).

2. What will you do when you retire?

You might want to travel (like me), while your husband just wants to stay home and putter in the garden after a career of business trips. That’s not something you want to discover after you’ve both retired, as it has some pretty hefty lifestyle and budget implications. Have the conversation now to plan how you’ll fill your time. And if you’re not aligned at the moment, talk through your goals and priorities and figure out how you might be able to accomplish what’s most important to each of you.

Keep in mind, there are many hours in the day to fill. And while you might have some bigger picture retirement goals, you might not have considered what your day-to-day life will be like. It’s a good idea to discuss your daily retirement routine as well as your greater ambitions (such as travel, a business, a move) well before you bring your box of desk contents home.

3. Where will you live?

One of the biggest questions for couples who want to retired in their 50s: will you stay in your current home? Will you downsize? Are you interested in moving closer to family or closer to the sun? Is a second home something you want to explore, so you can split your time between the two? Now is the time to talk about where you plan to live in your retirement, and do the math to make sure you can achieve your vision.

Pick a “money mentor couple” and ask how they’re planning or planned a retirement package for their 50s. A mentor couple is financially successful (whatever you and your husband define that as). A mentor couple might be newly retired, or retired for 40 years already. Spend time with them, learn and absorb their money magic.

4. What date will you and your husband retire?

Are you hoping your retirement will start the day you turn 50 (which has already come and gone for both me and my husband)? Or maybe you want your last day of work to be the day before you turn 60, which means you’re still retiring in your 50s. Start making concrete plans. Ask your husband when he wants to retire. You may have one target date in mind (the day you turn 55), while your husband has another (never). Having a sense of when you will retire will help to kick-start your planning.

At the same time, make sure you have a plan B should retirement come sooner than you expect. According to an Angus Reid survey 48% of respondents retired earlier than expected due to circumstances out of their control. Are you and your husband financially flexible and ready for the unexpected, such as retiring before you turn 50?.

Retirement Questions Money Tips for Retiring Couples
Tips for Retiring Couples

5. How do your answers reflect who you are?

Your feelings about money and retiring in your 50s reflect a great deal about your values and dreams. Unless, of course, you’re not interested in thinking about retirement yet. Are your answers just off-the-top-of-your-head responses? Note how you feel and think about these questions. Also, think about why you want to do certain things in retirement. Be thoughtful, because your answers can change your life. If you’re retiring at 50 then you won’t be living your parents’ or grandparents’ retirement! The world is open to you; you have so many options for how you live the next 30 years or more. Take your time to plan a retirement that excites you and your husband.

Planning a 50s retirement package will require a number of conversations – with your husband, your financial advisor, your family and your employer. Staying ahead of the game by ironing out as many details as early as possible will help you create a smooth transition into retirement. And when you and your husband are on the same page right from the start, you’ll be in a great position to make the most of the exciting years ahead.

If you and your husband have an anniversary or birthday to celebrate, read 80 Ways to Show Your Love Without Spending Money. Don’t let your early retirement plans ruin your present celebrations!


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1 thought on “5 Questions for Couples Who Want to Retire at 50”

  1. I’d like to hear from couples who have lots of money, and who fight about money. I’ve always been curious what wealthy married couples fight about!