5 Retirement Planning Wrinkles for Couples With Big Age Gaps

Retirement decisions are always complex.

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Retirement decisions are always complex. But they can be doubly so when a big age gap between spouses means wide variations in retirement dates, life expectancy, health and other factors. Much of the standard retirement advice may not work for age-gap couples. “You have to throw away the playbook that you would use for a couple retiring at a similar age,” says Steve Parrish, co-director of the retirement income center at The American College of Financial Services.

About 9% of all married couples have an age gap of 10 years or more, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, but large age differences become more common in later-life second marriages. About 20% of heterosexual remarried men, for example, have a spouse at least 10 years their junior, versus 5% of men in their first marriage, according to the Pew Research Center.

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Eleanor Laise
Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Retirement Report
Laise covers retirement issues ranging from income investing and pension plans to long-term care and estate planning. She joined Kiplinger in 2011 from the Wall Street Journal, where as a staff reporter she covered mutual funds, retirement plans and other personal finance topics. Laise was previously a senior writer at SmartMoney magazine. She started her journalism career at Bloomberg Personal Finance magazine and holds a BA in English from Columbia University.