By Stewart Koesten

When spouses have a difference in age, you may find that it affects your outlook on your financial capital. If this happens to you, remember these three tips: open the lines of communication, be honest and be willing to negotiate.

1. Open the lines of communication: For the first time in our 35 years of marriage, my wife and I noticed the difference in our ages. She wants to purchase a new house for family gatherings and entertaining while I am content to stay where we are, expecting a retirement perhaps only 10 years away. Once we started a dialogue, I understood her desire for a more open floor plan so she can be included in the gatherings while she prepares meals and entertains. In the present house, she is stuck in a kitchen which is closed off from the rest of the house.

2. Be honest: During this conversation, my wife also admitted she wants the new house so I will be around more. Pretty good for 35 years of marriage, eh? I store a collection of classic cars in a rented garage some distance from our house. In the way some people become “golf-widows/widowers” while their spouses spend weekends at the country club, she doesn’t want to become a “car-widow.” I also discussed my reasons for not wanting to buy a new home, like not wanting to increase our debt as I approach the transition to retirement. In fact, most of my objections centered on retirement planning.

3. Negotiate: Now that we both understood each other’s reasons we worked with our financial planner to evaluate how a new home would affect our future retirement plans as well as our current cash flows and lifestyle. Seeing that the impact was manageable, we agreed to move forward. We are now working with an architect on a single-floor design that includes aging-in-place components so as to compromise my desire and hers.

Though this was the first time age differences became a factor in our family financial planning, I’m sure it will not be the last.
If your age is significantly different than your spouse’s, keep an eye out for conflict arising from different objectives. Be open and honest with each other. Consider working with your financial planner as we did. Be willing to negotiate a compromise.

For more help on how to talk about money with family,

schedule a meeting by clicking below, contact Stewart Koesten –, or call (913) 345-1881.

Photo credit: quinn.anya / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)