One lesson you have probably learned in life is the importance of dialogue – especially when whatever you’re planning on doing involves someone else. Now you are planning what you want to do with your retirement time, and most likely, that will involve your spouse or significant other to a very large degree. That trip you have always planned, hiking in the Yukon, for example, may not be high on your spouse’s list, but you will feel unfulfilled if you don’t do it. Your spouse may want to spend two weeks with his or her mother every six months, which may lead to some interesting discussions. But at the same time, you both have desires and aspirations for your retirement, and most of all you want to have fun and ensure it is productive.
This article, by Rodney Brooks of the Washington Post, discusses the importance of making sure you have activities and a plan for your retirement. He also cites the marital issues that can develop if you don’t plan accordingly.
Now that you have read the article and it possibly hit home, couple this with the fact that the average retiree spends 43.5 hours per week watching television. (Age Wave, 2012), and now you are really nervous. This is not what retirement was supposed to be! But did you ever talk about it? Or were you afraid to since your plan was to play golf six days a week and then have a bite or drink with the guys afterward? No dialogue is a recipe for disaster. I’m sure there is common ground for trips, visits, friends, etc., but not having the bigger discussion of what the hopes and dreams are for retirement could lead to the article’s premise. This is serious stuff and only you and your spouse or significant other can solve it.
How do you resolve these issues and ensure that you do have fun and your time is productive? Through dialogue, discussion and planning. But having this discussion, in a general manner, without a framework, could lead to misunderstandings, misconceptions, and therefore, problems later on. When you complete your DESIGNED RETIREMENTS™ plan, keep your other half informed and ideally, complete it together. You may always not be holding hands and skipping down the beach with your plan, but you are aligned and you both understand the whys behind your goals and aspirations. This is much better than a morning stare that says “How does NO sound?”.
You can complete a plan, and your spouse or significant other may complete a plan individually, but compare and contrast and seek to develop a single plan that you both agree upon. This way when you begin implementing, conflicts are minimized and you are truly on the way to an aspirational retirement. You can complete that hiking trip in the Yukon, for example, and your wife can visit her mother, but you have dialogued it ahead of time, the reasons, and their importance, are fully understood.