It's hard to pick a retirement location. It's especially hard to agree on the same location as your partner.
It's hard to pick a retirement location. It's especially hard to agree on the same location as your partner.

Retirement - you’ve probably been dreaming about it for years, and as it gets closer, more practical planning is becoming necessary. Everything from your budget to home size to location needs to be decided. There’s just one problem; you and your spouse disagree completely on your retirement destination. With such a big life choice looming, it’s important to come to a compromise that will have you both enjoying your post-work years to the fullest.

Marriage is all about compromise, and one of the biggest ones you’ll make is where to retire. If your partner is completely set on one locale and you’re convinced of another, the best thing you can both do is create a list of reasons why your choice is the perfect retirement spot. Prioritize why you want to live in that particular region: is it the close proximity to family? The great golf courses and nearby recreation? The mild climate?

Once you have your lists of pros, compare. The goal here is to find commonality in what you want, even if the dream destination is different. If you both want to live somewhere close to the grandkids, that should be at the top of the priority list. The other aspects are where you compromise. If you want to live in Florida for the warm climate but your spouse wants to retire to Wisconsin to be nearer to family in Chicago, try to find a compromise in a place like Tennessee. It’s still warm with very mild winters, and moderate driving distance from the Windy City.

Try to ultimately choose a third, alternative destination that isn’t either of your top choices. This way, you know you’ve both compromised and no one will become resentful of the choice later on. Where you retire is a huge decision, and often one that you are sinking a fair amount of your savings into, which is why you both need to be equally on board with whichever location you choose. Not just one partner “giving in” to the other’s choice.

The good thing is, there are plenty of amazing destinations that can meet both of your needs. South Carolina is full of beaches and outdoor recreation like boating and fishing, making it perfect for the couple who wants to relax but also stay active. Upstate New York has a number of options for couples who want to stay near their kids who work in the city but still want to experience natural beauty and a quiet retirement.

As with any compromise, the key to choosing your retirement location is to communicate well with your partner. Being completely honest about what you both want is the easiest way to ensure that you both get as close to your dream destination as possible. With a little research and some intensive conversations about your needs as a couple, you can truly have it all in retirement.