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August 08, 2021

Are health costs in retirement different for men and women?

When you or your partner retires, does it affect your health?

Pill That depends on whether you're the husband or the wife, says Angela Curl, a professor of social work at the University of Missouri.

According to her research, husbands report that while they feel their health declined after retirement it improved once when their wives retired. And that may mean less spending on health care, a major expense in retirement.

Wives, on the other hand, didn't share that sentiment. They maintained that their health remained pretty much the same after their husbands left work.

And when these women retired themselves and were asked about their own health, they generally rated it as worse during the first few years after they left their jobs, but then said it improved as time went on.

"When wives retire, they may monitor their husbands' health more closely, taking them to the doctor regularly and ensuring they lead a healthy lifestyle," Curl suggests. "Women traditionally put the needs of everyone else before themselves, a behaviour that could put their own health at risk."

The difference may also be because women tend to have better social networks outside of the workplace, while men are more likely to depend on their jobs for a sense of identity, place and belonging and can become depressed without them, gerontologist Jerry Ingram told AARP recently.

Sound familiar? Does this describe your parent's lives? What do you envision for your future?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money

* Follow Gordon on Twitter here.




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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...