Retirement can be a surprisingly rocky road for couples.
If the husband retires first and the wife continues working, he may feel emasculated, resentful of her time working late. If the wife retires first, she may volunteer and spend time with friends, yet long for more time with him.
"Retirement can bring a feeling of uselessness that turns to depression and can wreak havoc on a marriage," explains Carole Lieberman, a psychiatrist in Beverly Hills.
How does a couple decide who retires when?
DO THE MATH
"Can they live comfortably on one salary? Whose salary?" asks Mark Snyder, a financial adviser in Medford.
If there isn't a sufficient nest egg, the spouse with the greater income may be forced to delay retirement, says Frank Nargentino, a registered representative at JHS Capital Advisors in Plainview.
WHAT ARE THE ISSUES?
Some couples have little to decide. "If one spouse is having health issues, it makes sense for them to retire, or if one has a very physically demanding job or a long commute," Nargentino says.
It's also personal. Will one likely be quickly bored while the other has a goal such as finally writing a book?
"Some people wait until the day before they retire to tell their wife they want to move to Florida. I have seen the response not go in their favor," says Bradley Gayheart, CEO of The LTC Plan, a Sarasota, Florida, provider of long-term-care insurance.
Talk about it. One or both spouses often don't mind delaying retirement if it leads to a better quality of life in the long run.