After one of our “Retirement Directions” classes a few years back, a gentleman walked up and started telling us about his retirement goals. He had a lot of pride in the fact that he had thought out his life in retirement with such detail. He spoke of moving to Colorado and living in the mountains, what life would be like there, etc. Then, his wife, who had listened intently to this tale of their future, spoke up and asked her husband, “And…when were you going to tell me about all of this?”
Surprise! The funny thing is that this happens more often than not. Both with couples who are preparing to retire in the future and couples who are already retired. Why? Well, it can be for many reasons. Think about your own situation with your spouse for a moment.
Is retirement a regular dinner table topic? Perhaps your career or careers have positioned you so that you each spend some time alone. Maybe you commute each day, travel or stay at home. During this time, have you ever imagined your retirement? Does any part of retirement scare you or make you uncomfortable, so that you don’t think about it? Do you tend to avoid discussing that aspect - or even planning altogether - with your spouse?
As you can see, it is very easy for couples to have or develop different retirement goals.
There is a great book out by Roberta Taylor and Dori Mintzer: The Couple’s Retirement Puzzle. I want to share with you a short assessment in the book that can possibly help you and your spouse determine if you are in sync with each other about retirement.
Instructions: Do the assessment separately and then share your results. Put a T after the statements you believe are true. Then add up all the true statements to get your score. Notice the areas that you may want to talk more about.
- We have talked about our timetable for retirement _____
- We have planned our future medical and health care needs _____
- We know that our roles may change as we go through transition _____
- Intimacy and affection are an important part of our relationship _____
- We make financial decisions together _____
- Having time together and time apart is important to both of us _____
- We talk about lifestyle and where we may want to live _____
- We agree on our obligations and responsibilities to family _____
- Social and community connections are a satisfying part of our lives _____
- We have shared values and know what is important to each other _____
- 10 Give each other a big hug. You’re ready to write your own “How To” book for couples
- 7-9 Sounds like you’re in sync. Ongoing communication is important as you plan for what’s next.
- 4-6 You’re on the right track. Practice listening to each other and sharing what’s important to you.
- 1-3 Make time to talk about important issues related to retirement.
We always talk about what it means to “Live Life on Purpose.” That concept is a little different for everyone, but there is one constant: Everyone wants to get rid of the complexity and stress in their life so that they can have the freedom to focus on the things in life that are most important to them. The recipe for “Living Retirement on Purpose” is no different. It begins with communication between you and your spouse. Talk about your future and goals. What direction do you want to be headed?
Then, you can let us do what we do best—help you coordinate and correlate these dreams and goals and create the necessary disciplines to give you confidence so that you may continue to “Live Retirement on Purpose!”