MSNBC recently posted some good advice for engaged couples about transitioning to a new financial life together. It has good tips on how and when to initiate a discussion about money, on budgeting, understanding one another's spending and saving patterns, setting goals and on getting outside advice.
Long-married couples and partners can benefit from advanced versions of this kind of advice. Far too often, couples with even the most solid financial plans hit serious potholes when the main breadwinner(s) retires. To those accustomed to a healthy direct deposit landing in the bank account every two weeks or so, the transition from accumulation to depletion can be a tough (if for some, only psychological) pill to swallow.
Dealing with money as retirees is a whole new ballgame. Everything can come into play, from who keeps the checkbook, to how (and by whom) income will get generated, if need be. The net, unexpected effect of not acknowledging these changes, or of not addressing them, is serious friction -- a kind of pressure in direct odds with the automated relaxation response most expect when work ends, and a leading reason even some well-heeled retirees cite for having a less than fulfilling retirement.