Communicate about shared visions

Financial planning: 
Lundberg, Startz, and Stillman [11], for instance, found gendered differences in how couples approach finances in retirement, with wives preferring to save more than husbands do. Sharing ideas and concerns in anticipation of retirement around financial changes can be quite beneficial to the relationship itself.  

Social engagements & leisure time (both independently and together):
Major changes that come with retirement can be social, as relationships and contacts from the workplace can dissolve once retirement takes full effect. Having shared activities and making concrete plans for leisure together [10, 12], while simultaneously maintaining some independent activities and keeping a full life, can be important [13].

Expected lifestyles—including any continued engagements with work, visions of travel, cutbacks in spending, etc.:
A Fidelity Investment study found that even though over 70% of couples think they communicate very well and 90% think conversations about household budgets, savings, and estate planning are not difficult to start, a substantial number of couples do not communicate  about these topics.  One-third of not-yet-retired couples disagree about their ideal visions of retirement and how comfortable their lifestyle will be, half of retired couples disagree on what their exact retirement age should be, and over 40% do not correctly know how much their partner makes in income or how much money they’ll need to maintain their current lifestyle in retirement [14].  

Responsibility for household tasks:
Holding clear expectations around how household and family tasks are divided can also increase marital satisfaction. Being intentional in ensuring that expectations for household duties match up seems to be an especially helpful way to prepare for retirement [12], as does ensuring that greater equity exists in household roles [2]—though this may have to do with how much couples’ subscribe to more egalitarian beliefs about gender roles to begin with, and also predicts couple relationship satisfaction [15].  Because improving equity in division of labor can sometimes mean that men become more involved in traditionally “feminine” household tasks, or more involved in decisions about domestic or social affairs [15-18], women may have to prepare for relinquishing some control over the household environment [12] and social planning.  For example, women with more traditional viewpoints who previously did not work outside the family tended to experience a sense of “impingement” on their home life when their husbands retired [19].  

The power-dynamics in a retiring couples’ relationship can affect satisfaction. Retired husbands and wives voice less marital satisfaction if, prior to their retirement, their partner held more decision making power in the relationship [4].  When roles within the marriage need to be reorganized and/or redefined following one spouse’s retirement due to things like shifts in domestic responsibilities or financial decision making, this can be stressful [20, 21].