Jan 7, 2008

Don't Forget to Include Your Spouse in Your Retirement Planning - Part 2

Don't Forget to Include Your Spouse in Your Retirement Planning — Part 2

A post-retirement lifestyle shouldn't be limited to the retiree spending most of his or her time with their spouse. It's essential that each partner have his/her own interests. Bob Buford, author of a book called Game Plan, points to higher rates of divorce among those who retire early and find themselves with nothing to occupy their minds or engage their interest.

It's also important that couples give each other the freedom to pursue individual interests. Without the workplace to provide them with something to do, some retired individuals end up being lost souls, following their spouse wherever they go. Not giving their spouse the space and freedom to pursue their own interests can backfire and leave these retirees with even less company and less to do. Not surprisingly, some spouses have been known to go back to work once their retired partners drive them crazy.

The key is to organize your life so that you have time with your spouse and plenty of time to do your own thing. If you are male, your wife is not going to be happy if you rely on her to make you lunch each day while you sit around waiting for things to happen. In the same vein, if you are female, your husband won't relish your following him around everywhere, including the golf course and coffee bar where he meets his male friends to talk about "men things." Without their spouses being present, women should be able to enjoy the companionship of other women and men should be able to enjoy the companionship of other men.

Having your own space at home as well as giving your spouse her own space will be more important than it has ever been. While you were working, you had your own work area that you could call your own. It may have been a big office with several windows or it could have been a small area in a car manufacturing plant, which you could call your own. Especially for traditional couples, in which the husband has been working and the wife has been looking after the house, establishing personal space is essential.

Most couples must adjust to the fact that they will be spending a lot more time together after retirement. Trying to adapt to a life without the structure, sense of community, and personal identity that a job provided can bring up a lot of emotional and psychological issues, not only for the retiree, but also for the spouse. A situation where one person is totally engaged in life and the other isn't will sooner or later lead to relationship problems.

All things considered, couples are urged to figure out what dreams they do and don't have in common and how much time they plan to spend together when one or both retire. Some couples have spent virtually no unstructured time together during their working years, aside from two weeks on vacation every year or so. Once they retire, these couples realize their relationship lacks substance because they've been so devoted to their work over the years. This can present a problem. But it is also an opportunity to carry the relationship to a deeper level.

Quotes Can Be Liberated from the Retirement Sayings and Retirement Quotes Webpage on The Joy of Not Working Website

Jan 6, 2008

Retirement Planning Wisdom — Don't Forget to Include Your Spouse in Your Retirement Plan

Don't Forget to Include Your Spouse - Part 1

If you are presently contemplating early retirement, it's important to spend many pre-retirement days thinking about what you want to do when you walk out of your workplace for the last time. If you are married, it's just as important that you don't forget to include your spouse in your retirement plans if you want to retire happy.

Whether or not your decision to retire is made jointly or individually may affect your relationship with your spouse when you retire. If your partner continues to work, he or she may feel left out and somewhat resentful, particularly if you didn't consult with him or her before you retire. The dynamics of your relationship may suffer just because you failed to communicate your desire to retire and the reasons behind it. Furthermore, your partner may know more about you than you do, and be able to predict how well you will handle retirement.

Compatibility and the ability to spend a lot of time with your spouse are important because you may be spending a great deal of time together, particularly when both of you are fully retired. The shift in your employment status will influence patterns in how much time you spend together, the types of activities you indulge in together and individually, obligations towards each other, and your plans for the future.

Clearly, your having an active and happy retirement is important for both of you. You have to ask yourself, "How do my spouse and I synchronize our lives so that our time together is a lot better in retirement than it was in our working lives?"

Should it be the case that your spouse plans to work for a few years after you retire early, it's wise to have a retirement plan filled with so many interesting and challenging activities that you won't notice that your wife is still working and you aren't. If your spouse stays in the workforce for another six years, it may be difficult for you to be alone all this time. On the other hand, once your spouse retires, you may find that you actually liked spending time alone, much more than with your spouse. This may wind up being a problem, more to your spouse than you.

Indeed, early retirement can create other interesting problems such as the one experienced by Frank E. Douglas III, and his wife, Ana Maria, of Centerville, Ohio. After Mr. Douglas took early retirement at age fifty-six, he suggested to his wife, a professor at Wright State University, that she get rid of the cleaning lady: "It seemed to me like I ought to do it," Mr. Douglas later recalled. "After all, I was going to be home." Unfortunately, it wasn't long before Mr. Douglas discovered that his house cleaning wasn't up to par. "My work didn't meet the manager's standards," he admitted. As is to be expected, to resolve the problem, the couple rehired the housekeeper.

Married retirees must be aware that each spouse's retirement represents an important life event for couples, requiring adjustment on the part of both spouses. The retirement of one spouse has a tendency to affect the other because the amount of time, and how they spend it together and apart, changes significantly. The quality of a relationship for a retired couple also can be affected by the timing of each partner's retirement, health status of each partner, family relationships on either side, and their overall financial status.

Contrary to popular belief, by no means do all retired couples enjoy their time together more than they did when they were working. The fact is, even two people who have enjoyed a successful marriage for three decades can end up driving each other crazy when one or both retire. Not many wives or husbands will be happy with a stay-at-home spouse who spends hoards of time sitting in an easy chair, for all intents and purposes, waiting to die.

There can be a lot of conflict, especially when the husband retires and has little to keep himself occupied. As one retirement planner stated, ''Since they can no longer boss their staff around, some husbands now order their wives around. The wife will think, 'But you are sitting there doing nothing.' This is when friction starts.''

Being the ''home minister," some women are also irritated when their husbands interfere with their work by trying to help out. The clashes can lead to the men staying out of the house to avoid being nagged and looking for company outside instead.

Barbara Udell, Director of Lifestyle Education at the Florida Pritkin Longevity Center, states, "Before retirement, separateness can be very healthy for togetherness. When a couple is thrown together full-time, an attitude adjustment is needed. Sometimes counseling can be very helpful in assisting the couple with this change in their lives."

Jan 1, 2008

Retiring Healthy and Happy

Certain retirement "experts" advocate that people change their retirement plan and work as long as possible instead of taking early retirement. This is supposed to keep their minds in better shape. In fact, working at a job, instead of retiring as early as possible, could have the opposite effect.

According to a recent study reported in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, British civil servants who retire as early as possible may have better mental health than their counterparts who stay on the job as long as possible. Researchers used questionnaires to compare civil servants who retired at 60 with those who kept working. Surprisingly, they found that mental health and agility improved among retirees but declined among workers. "Mental decline can be caused by chronic tress," stated one of the researchers, "and it is possible that such stress in some of those who continued to work accounted for the decline in mental functioning."

There may be a much better explanation for the decline in the decline in the retirees' mental health. In his essay Abolish Work: Workers of the World, Relax, Bob Black offered some food for thought: "You are what you do. If you do boring, stupid, monotonous work, chances are you'll end up boring, stupid, and monotonous."

On another note, there is still too much negativity about retirement. The results of a recently published RBC Retiring Boomers Poll found that only 56 percent of baby boomers nearing retirement believe the quality of their lives will improve during their retirement years. Interestingly, however, the RBC researchers found that 79 percent of Canadian retirees believe that the quality of their lives has improved after retirement.

For the 44 percent of people approaching retirement who think that their quality of live will be diminished, this is likely either a wealth or health matter. Yet retirement health is not directly related to retirement wealth. Fact is, many individuals approaching retirement overestimate how much money they will need to maintain an appropriate standard of living. At the same time, a lot of people are underestimating how well they can live in retirement.

According to the RBC poll, the great news is that about two thirds of retirees are continuing to live their lives at the same pace as when they were working. Undoubtedly, many of these happy retirees are trying to figure out how they had time for work when they still had a job. In another vein, the RBC researchers found that 90 percent of people in the "retirement window" (individuals aged 50 to 69) are concerned about health and wellness.

What's more, two-thirds of retirees spend more time looking after themselves than they did when they were in the workforce. Clearly, being healthy in retirement contributes greatly to a sense of well-being. Individuals who look after themselves, eat right and exercise, can look forward to a healthier retirement than those who don't. The good news is that it's never too late to start a wellness program that targets optimum weight, a healthy lifestyle, and sufficient physical activity (at least an hour a day).

See retirement quotes and retirement sayings


The 237 Best Things Ever Said about Retirement by Ernie Zelinski