Wanting what’s best for the kids
Yet for others, your 60s is a time to put family first and foremost, whether elderly parents or adult children or both, whether from choice or necessity.
Let’s look first at the issue of providing for adult children.
What has changed rapidly over the last decade is the financial impoverishment of people in their twenties compared to most earlier generations.
The spread of low pay working, the decline of ‘career’ job opportunities, the cost of higher education, the tightening of mortgage lending criteria, and the relative expense of property means that for many relatively affluent families their adult children are remaining or reappearing on the payroll when mum and dad are at or near retirement.
Do you defer retirement until the family balance sheet can sustain the withdrawal of enough capital to set them up independently, or, cut them loose?
Facing this dilemma, it is all too easy to find yourself in the opposite camp to your partner and for them to be completely anchored on what they think is the best course of action.
Worried about caring
Equally difficult decisions arise often unexpectedly, in relation to care for elderly parents, and if the timing is bad, just when you are planning that perfect cruise.
We naturally assume our parents will go on forever; so health shocks and accidents can take everyone by surprise.
It may be small things like a broken wrist or ankle, a cataract operation or a minor surgery, or a repair drama in their home, but who sees this sort of distraction coming over the horizon when they first begin to dream of the endless beaches of retirement?
And some will decide to concentrate on their own individual priorities above all, despite what they say to other people, even those closest to them.
The importance of surfacing the potential differences in expectations and needs can’t be underestimated.
Creating a set of priorities in retirement for each partner can be the first hurdle in creating a plan that matches the expectations of both, as fully as possible, and maybe even allows for some independence.
Who’s money is it?
Society is changing but today most wealthier couples over 50 will show an imbalance in wealth.
He will typically have more than her. But the likelihood is that she will outlive him. In fact, the most common marital status for women over 80 is to be widowed.
This is an important conversation to have with the pair.
They both need to understand the advice to feel comfortable with your services.
It’s worth bearing in mind that you are likely to be advising her on a longer-term basis, so that relationship deserves some dedicated care and attention.