Retirement -- a new journey

Retirement -- a new journey

People close to retirement spend the majority of their planning time on finances, while addressing issues related to their social lives often go unnoticed.  Those of us who have spent the majority of our lives in the work force now find ourselves at the mercy of space and time.

Men may view retirement as no longer having to answer to anyone in the work force or children who have moved on.  A time of leisure and relaxation and the dream that has finally come true.  But what may be the married man's dream can also be his wife's nightmare, watching her husband become more and more dependent on her for attention and company, her individuality now threatened by her husband's need for togetherness.

Couples may have different expectations about retirement, which probably should be discussed as their financial future becomes more certain.  And it's never too late to sit the "big guy" down to develop a mutually agreed upon plan on how both of you can truly benefit from retirement.

Here are a few helpful hints.

  • Start renegotiating household tasks, which provides a sense of camaraderie.
  • Start with new or stay connected to friends, sports or leisure clubs, classes, workshops, volunteer groups or part-time jobs and seasonal employment.  For example, I've run across retirees who give lessons in scuba diving, tennis, fencing and chess.  They are frequently seen handing out programs and assisting patrons at concerts and other art programs. Senior sports leagues and social events are available in nearly every community.
  • Maintain or add some morning rituals to start the day as if there is some obligation or commitment to uphold.
  • Create a schedule that allows for couple togetherness time that could include some double dating.  This activity tends to lead to more varied and interesting conversations and a sort of celebration of one of the advantages of having a partner in a relationship.
  • Your schedule should also embrace each partner's individuality. Couples tend to appreciate one another more when they are briefly apart from one another.

The key to benefiting from these tips is establishing a mutually acceptable balance of fulfilling each partner's individuality and togetherness needs.