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Exclusive New Survey From AARP The Magazine Looks At Effect Of Retirement On Marriage

In terms of decreasing activities, sex seems to take the biggest hit. Among respondents in our survey, 22% report having sex less often now that they’re retired. There is a gender difference, however. Men are significantly more likely than women to say that they are having less sex after retirement (25% vs. 19%)

Compared to before retirement, 21% think about divorce as often as before, 23% think about it less often and only 2% think about it more than they did before retirement. Half (53%) said they have never thought about divorce.

Retirement and Lifestyle Habits
Though twenty-nine percent of those surveyed said they are more worried about money now that they are retired, forty-seven percent of respondents said they travel more often now that they are retired and 41% said they go on the Internet more often since retirement. Eating out (40%), hobbies (38%), exercising (37%) and volunteering (33%) are all activities that a substantial number of retirees say they are doing more often now that they are retired. Forty-three percent of people also said retirement has allowed them to spend more time with their family.

Retirement Loves Company
One third of retired respondents said they encouraged their spouse to retire after they did (and were persistent in their prodding).
• 49% said they strongly encouraged their spouse to retire while 42% said they mildly encouraged it.
• By gender, men are more likely than women to say they encouraged their spouse to retire along with them (39% vs. 21%).

Respondents in relationships where both spouses are retired report spending more time together, are happier, and are less stressed than couples where only one person is retired. Indeed, irritation and tension between spouses are more likely to be a problem for those who are working and have a retired spouse than for those who are retired and have a working spouse.
• Retirees are more likely to say they are happier now than when they were working than those who are still working and only have a retired spouse.
o In households where both spouses are retired, younger retirees are happier now than when they were working (84% for 55-64) compared to older retirees (76% for 65-75).

Retiree’s Remorse?
When asked if they wish they would have worked longer, individuals with a working spouse reported greater regret than those whose spouse was also retired. This lends further support to the idea that having a partner to spend time with makes the retirement transition easier. The reasons given for wishing they had worked longer include lack of money, liking the job/enjoyed working, having retired for medical reasons, and feeling bored or frustrated.
• Women (in a relationship where both are retired) are more likely to agree that they wish they had stayed working longer than men are (24% vs. 18%).
• Retirement length matters: those who have been retired for less than five years are less likely to wish they had worked longer (23%) that those who have been retired for 5 years or longer (34%).

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