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His and her retirement planning

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Posted: 3 pm ET

My husband and I are in the process of building our retirement home. We've agonized over the process and a couple of times nearly given it up because the price seems daunting and we can't agree where to cut.

So just now, he sent me an email from work (where I suspect things aren't too busy) and said he didn't see any front door on the plan. I dropped everything and went looking -- and sure enough there was a front door. I never thought I'd say this, but I hope they assign him a big project at work soon.

Retirement is changing the dynamic of our marriage -- and that of many other boomers, I think. My college roommate and I were talking about this recently. Just as her husband is slowing down, her career is ramping up. She's not ready to quit and it drives her crazy when her husband -- who doesn't have  enough to do -- feels compelled to offer advice on how to run her -- very successful -- retail business.

A long time ago, I was friendly with the wife of a guy who I worked with. He was an old-timer -- well into his 70s and still a dominate figure in the newspaper business in Delaware. She told me if her husband ever retired, she was going to have to go live with her sister in Indiana. At the time, I chalked it up to old-age craziness. Today, I understand perfectly.

Anyway, a couple of months ago, Fidelity Investments released these retirement planning statistics:

  • One-third (33 percent) of couples either don't agree, or don't know, where they plan to retire.
  • Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of couples approaching retirement don't agree on their expected retirement ages.
  • Nearly half (47 percent) of couples approaching retirement don't agree on whether they will continue to work in retirement.
  • Three quarters (73 percent) of all couples disagree on whether or not they have completed a detailed retirement income plan.

The tone of the release may be "how stupid can they be." Let me tell you, stupidity has nothing to do with it. It's just the yin and the yang of wedding bliss.

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Dora Nguyen
August 06, 2011 at 5:48 am

Good morning Jennie,

I believe today is your birthday, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

From a fan of your blog/column.

August 05, 2011 at 8:14 am

The prospect of REALLY spending your lives together is probably a little daunting! Hubby gets on my nerves when we are on vacation for a week! He is very much the type that wants to do as little as possible for as much money as possible, so my GUESS is he will try to retire pretty darn early and I plan on working until they kick me out or the maker calls me back! I have just worked for OVER 50% of my entire life, and I cannot imagine being home. If I do retire from my main career, I still have dreams of being a Starbucks Barrista in my old age!! He would prbably prefer retiring somewhere like Arizona and I would prefer Maine! Lots of years ahead of us to come together and a lot will probably depend on where our little girls end up! I can't imagine ever being too far away from them...