Please Mind the Age Gap: Planning for Couples with a Significant Difference in Age

Financial planning always has complexities, but couples with a significant age gap face additional concerns. Issues like differences in retirement eligibility dates, life expectancies, health issues, income needs, and more.

Strategies for Couples with a Significant Age Gap

  • Staggered Retirement Dates

Couples with a significant age gap may find themselves juggling different retirement dates. The older spouse may be ready to retire while the younger spouse is still enjoying prime earning years.

From a financial perspective, there can be significant advantages to staggering your retirement dates. For example, the working spouse may be able to maintain employer-sponsored health insurance until their own retirement. And the income they continue to bring into the household can reduce the need to draw from retirement assets, preserving retirement savings.

Of course, if the lifestyle challenges of one working spouse and one retired spouse prove too complex, consider a compromise. Perhaps the older spouse takes a part-time job for a few years and the younger spouse joins their partner in retirement a few years earlier than originally planned.

  • Timing Social Security

Properly planning for Social Security is critical for couples with an age gap because the younger spouse has the potential to live significantly longer than the older spouse. This means the younger spouse may need to rely on a survivor benefit for an extended period.

If the older spouse is the primary earner, consider the viability of delaying taking benefits until 70 or later. Doing so allows the Social Security benefits to grow by approximately 8% each year, which can also provide a higher survivor benefit for the younger spouse. 

  • Pension Payments

If the older spouse is eligible to receive pension payments, it may make sense to elect a joint-and-survivor payout option. While this choice typically reduces the amount of the household’s monthly payment, it also helps ensure the younger spouse can continue receiving payments for the rest of their life, even after the older spouse passes away.

  • Estate Planning

Estate planning for couples with an age gap is especially important. Take steps to ensure the younger spouse will remain financially secure for their entire lifetime. Make sure all documents are up to date, from your will to old 401ks that you may have assigned a Transfer On Death to a previous beneficiary, and other matters like financial and healthcare powers of attorney.

Another Important Step

It also makes sense for the older spouse to have a life insurance policy so each person can have peace of mind. If you’ve attempted to purchase life insurance in the past but were turned down due to lifestyle or health issues, NCRGEA and AMBA have good news. The Whole Life policy available through NCRGEA and AMBA guarantees acceptance if you’re between the ages of 45 to 85. No exams, no tests, no questions. Plus, premiums are set at a fixed rate – and as long as they are paid, you’ll never be dropped for any reason! This plan even features a no-obligation 60-day return policy. You can now purchase your Whole Life Insurance Policy online. Learn more at or call 800-956-1228.