#retirement #retirementconflicts #retirementlifestyle
Most of the talk today is about whether a person, or couple, has enough money to retire.
That determination for a couple may ride on what they would like to do in retirement.
USA Today writer Nanci Hellmich discusses why couples should talk about each’s visions of retirement prior to retiring. She took on the subject in a June 26, 2015, article in The Tennessean newspaper of Nashville.
“Couples don’t always have the same dreams for retirement,” Hellmich writes. “It usually takes some negotiating to come to terms with what they’re going to do.”
Hellmich’s article illustrates the point: He imagines summers fly-fishing in a cold mountain lake and winters by the fire reading his favorite books. She envisions summers playing with the grandchildren in their back yard and winters volunteering for her favorite charities.
If we take it further, let’s presume they don’t have a place near a cold mountain lake. They would have to buy or rent one. Let’s also presume that their grandchildren already live near them. To satisfy her, they merely need to stay home – probably a less expensive alternative.
“For lack of a better word, couples need to do some horse trading… You really have to negotiate in good faith,” Hellmich quotes Pepper Schwartz, AARP’s love and relationship expert.
Hellmich’s article gives some talking points for couples: create a list of characteristics for retirement that each spouse wants; talk to family and friends who would have an interest in your decision. If your kids want to have you around, presumably not as just a free baby sitter, you have to talk about it with them. If you don’t live near your children, and they want you to move closer, you have to think about that, too.
Other talking points the article cites include prudently pruning your retirement dream list. Figure out areas in which you can compromise. If the man is a golfer, for example, and wants to play a lot, and the woman is not, make sure, before you move to that golf resort that you vacation there first. Perhaps the non-golfer will be miserable in a golfer’s paradise. The article points out that couples should carve time to listen to each other, and tell each other, after some discussion and compromise, how much one appreciates the other’s give and take.
Of course, it would be best all around if money were no object. He could fish or golf, she could volunteer for charities and hang with the grandkids. There are many ways out there to secure a good retirement income, one in which compromise may not be necessary. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau.
If you are young, it’s never too early to talk about these things. If you are able, take some types of vacations you might not otherwise take to see how you like them. Your doctors will probably tell you that staying active will be very important as you get older. Just lying on the beach with a book or tablet may not be as nice at 60 as it is at, say, 25. Besides, it may not be the best thing to do for your skin.
Don’t make retirement life a reason to fight. If you love your spouse, this is an issue that likely can be worked out with good, heartfelt conversation. Then again, if you are single, you have the ability to do whatever you want, wherever you want, in retirement. Make sure you have sufficient pennies put away, or coming in, to make whatever you want to happen, happen.


  1. Getting on the same page about retirement goals takes communication, compromise, and commitment. But first, you and your spouse should consider some questions individually and then come together to discuss them as a couple. Whether vague or specific, the answers put into words what each person is picturing. For example, the answer to “Where will I be?” may not be as specific as a condo on the beach, but the vague reply of “someplace different” can reveal a yearning or willingness to relocate.

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