9 Replies Latest reply on Apr 28, 2011 2:41 PM by tangimoana

    Spouses with different ideas

    tangimoana
      My husband is 67 and plans never to retire.  I am 62, retired because of disability, and want to have fun when I can. His home is here. He has family and friends all around. He works every week of the year, sometimes every day.  I have nobody in this area.  We were just married about six months ago.  I love him dearly, and he loves me, but discussing such things as finances and retirement is difficult.  I think I have enough to retire, though not in great luxury.  He has enough to retire, if we add his social security to my savings. I have suggested that he work half the year rather than all year.  Then we could travel a bit.  Any suggestions?
        • Re: Spouses with different ideas
          Chrysalis

          It seems to me that this is not so much a retirement question as a personality/marriage question.

          You recently married a man who is well and happily settled in his home and his town and who loves his work (or at least wants to keep doing it forever). Six months after the wedding, you are bored, missing your family, and wanting him to retire or semi-retire to make you happy and he refuses. This puts me in mind of the old adage, "Women marry men hoping to change them. Men marry women hoping they will never change. They are both wrong."  I suggest you consider marriage counseling.

          • Re: Spouses with different ideas
            jkom51

            First things first: Do you have your legal documents in order? You have discussed what happens in varying degrees of emergencies? You are aware of one another's wishes on separate POLST (Physician's Order for Life Sustaining Treatment) forms and filed them with your doctors?

            Finances are not easy to discuss, but you MUST. Ignorance is not bliss, especially at your age. Well, at any age, but you understand, LOL. You need to run different scenarios, and you both need to be comfortable with planning for what "might happen", e.g., if one of you dies or becomes seriously disabled to the point of needing home healthcare aides or licensed facility care.

            This may take a neutral third-party counselor to help negotiate the final decisions - because that's what this is all about, negotiating/compromising. But you and DH can certainly lay the groundwork by starting to communicate. Not in absolutes - "I love working" or "I need to have fun now" but in establishing what kind of scenarios are open to you financially.

            It isn't enough to say, I think I have enough to retire. A lot of people THOUGHT that, and they turned out to be poorly based assumptions. If your DH died tomorrow, are you financially secure? If he becomes disabled, what happens then? 

            When DH and I discussed retirement, we listed every possible thing we could think of that might go wrong. We sweated over a budget and guesstimated at doubling our overhead expenses (inflation over time) to see if we had enough 'wiggle room'.

            I can see three issues you need to address in addition to the finance discussion. (a) You need to make your own friends. Volunteer, join a church, take a class, help a neighbor - but do something, anything! You have no roots and need to make some. 

            (b) Traveling is not cheap. DH and I live in an expensive area, I grant you, but still, even in more rural areas our recent driving trip through the Pacific NW was around $200-250/daily. Be sure you really can afford to travel half the year. In our first year of joint retirement we traveled a total of three months, and that was our limit, because....

            (c)  Travel is tiring, honestly. It's a genuine pleasure to come home and sleep in your own bed and use your own bathroom. We did half group travel and half on our own. Both have pros and cons that can't be ignored. Also, if you are going to be gone for weeks on end, in most places it just isn't safe to be leaving your home empty, even with neighbors close by. We were extremely fortunate that some close friends were able to house-sit when we were gone for 5 weeks.

            I truly sympathize with your desire to 'have some fun'. I retired four years before DH did, and we put off a lot of things in the hopes he would make it to retirement and be able to do these things together. One thing I did was do all the travel planning. I'm a former executive assistant and computer geek, so I'm on the PC for fun for hours daily. I started planning short trips - a 3 day jaunt here, a 4 day jaunt a month or six weeks later.

            This worked out really well. They were fun 'practice runs' for our longer trips, which we needed. What you carry when you travel can be very different from being at home, especially if you plan to take a plane which these days, limits you drastically in what you can bring along. There were a few things I bought in prep that weren't useful, but there were other items we purchased that were amazingly handy, 'had to haves' whether we were in group travel or solo, hotels or B&Bs.

            HTH. Good luck to you going forward.

            • Re: Spouses with different ideas

              People only move willingly to something perceived to be better.  If you want your husband to retire, you need to show him a better life in retirement.  It sounds like it will be hard for you to show him that.  He has satisfying work, the satisfactions of being appreciated in his work life, friends and family around him and income -- what could look better?

              Here is a suggestion, and it might not turn out to be a good one.  If you look at what I am going to show you and it looks great to you but not better to him, that will only make your situation worse.  This is the web site of the retirement community I live in: http://www.thevillages.com/  When my wife took me to this place for a vacation, I told her, don't get any ideas about moving to Florida, I am not about to move away from everything I know.  Now I wish I had moved sooner  FYI I have no financial interest in the place and I assume this is much like other retirement communities in different parts of the country.  The point is, if you want your husband to retire, you need to take him on vacation to a place that has a lot of satisfied retirees so he can see himself being happy in retirement.

                • Re: Spouses with different ideas
                  jkom51

                  zendog3 has a good point. You may not realize it (I didn't) but many retirement communities allow you to rent for a short-term. It would be a great way to take a little vacation and test out various types of places to see if there's anything that 'speaks' to both of you.

                  Treat it as a gradual phase-in, rather than a 'quit cold turkey' deal. Do the usual hotel vacation thing a few times for extended weekend trips to get him accustomed to being away. Then see if you can arrange a couple of weeks somewhere and perhaps tour some retirement communities or find one that lets you stay just a week or so.

                  My DH is a homebody. Loves being retired but wouldn't be traveling on his own. So I make the arrangements, and now that he's accustomed to the idea, he likes breaking up our daily routine with an occasional trip.

                  • Re: Spouses with different ideas
                    tangimoana
                    I am no longer set on my husband retiring, as long as he is happy doing what he's doing.  I have been hoping that he could retire part time and keep working part time, so that we can spend the time he has off doing things that both of us would like to do.  We have discussed all of this and he is cutting his hours as much as he can.  There are many places that he and I would like to go, but money is an obstacle, therefore we will probably stay in this area, most likely in this very house.  We are so busy right now that even when he gets three days in a row off, we spend it doing things we have to do, rather than things we want to do.  Hopefully in a couple of years there will be less we have to do, and then we can spend extra time doing things we want to do.
                    I have found that retirement is not what it is cut out to be.  Probably other people have found the same thing.  Even after insurance has paid its part, medical expenses for me have been high and I have had to concentrate a lot of energy just keeping myself more or less well.  And my husband has a mortgage on his house to pay off.  It is good he likes his work, because he would probably have to keep working anyway, just to pay his basic household bills and have a bit to spend on extras.  To retire and travel from California to Europe or Florida is not something we could just up and do.  It would take a minimum of a million dollars in savings to have the kind of retirement one sees in the movies. Anyway, California appeals to me better than Florida.  If we move, it would just be to somewhere else in California.  We have seen the kinds of places we would like to live, and I am sure there are other places still.  But moving out of one house to another is, as you must know, a great hassle, a full time job in itself, and neither of us is able to take on that job right now.  Maybe later.
                    At present, my main concern is writing a will so that all my finances will be in order if I pass on sooner than he expects me to.  Then I can move on to the next thing on my list, which is finishing a particular book.
                       
                      • Re: Spouses with different ideas
                        Chrysalis

                        I am happy for you that you have decided to ease back on the throttle a little about wanting to move/retire/travel right this minute. It sounds like you and your husband are both very busy right now, and you do have some financial responsibilities that would be very worrisome if you both retired soon. However, I bet my bottom dollar that in 4 or 5 years you and your husband will both be able to have the lifestyle you describe. You have some great ideas, and have gotten some excellent suggestions from the people here. Just take it step-by-step, make concrete plans (and yes, open a dialogue with your husband about finances and retirement), and you will get there.

                        By the way, don't feel badly that your circumstances in retirement will be more modest than all the advertising you see on TV. I have come to accept that my DH and I are not going to suddenly become "beautiful people" with silver hair, a permanent tan, a private yacht, and a couple of million dollars in the bank. On the other hand, we're not that way now but we're perfectly happy.  So what's to worry? Don't let the T Rowe Price (or TIAA-CREF) marketing people convince you that you're somehow a failure or missing out on what everybody else has. Baloney!