Nancy is driven to succeed. Her fuel of choice is alcohol. She crashed and burned at age 40. 2 years later, she was working the AA program, met a fellow member Peter (1⁄2 her age), fell in love, married, and has stayed sober ever since. Now Susan is 80 and Peter is 60.
Peter loves to take care of Nancy. And Nancy loves to be taken care of. It allows her to focus on her growing practice. Peter took care of the household.
Until one day, Peter was involved in a terrible car accident and could no longer work. He could no longer operate a computer. His income was dramatically reduced and the delays they were experiencing waiting for his disability claim to be approved were negatively impacting their cash flow. And now the new reality of having to find assisted living for both at the same time was a redefining of stress.
Working together, we transitioned responsibility for managing the household from Peter to Nancy. Their retirement accounts have not been reviewed in many years and needed to be repositioned to reflect the changing investment horizon and their risk profiles. Lifestyle adjustments were agreed to create a larger emergency fund. Estate planning ensured that funds will be available and protected from predatory service providers and family members who might exploit the situation.
Planning for couples when there is a significant age difference presents unique challenges. Disability for the younger primary breadwinner can be financially devastating, leaving the elder spouse vulnerable to being defrauded. Are you prepared if this were to happen in your family?