Seniors Outreach - July 11, 2018

In perusing an article in the Good Times magazine (June 2018 edition) lately, I came across an interesting article. “Retirement Planning for two: The key is open and honest communication” by Wendy Haaf. The basic idea of this article on retirement planning is probably best presented as many of us may spend more time planning a vacation together than we do weighing what we’re going to do (in retirement)-as a couple and individually. While muddling through may sometimes work, it can have unpleasant consequences.

Haaf goes on to provide a key story that encapsulates her point :

When a gentleman retired, he said, he set about renovating the vacation home he and his wife owned….., assuming they’d relocate there when she stopped working. ……………..the gentleman noted later on that they were nearly ready for their retirement now that he’d finished preparing the cottage for year-round occupation.……. she said, “I’m not living there---I want to live downtown!”

Asked why she hadn’t spoken up earlier about all the work he’d poured into the project, the man’s wife responded, “I just thought it was a project that would keep you busy for a few years.”

Anyone see the issue? At this point, most of us would easily pick out the lack of communication that had occurred. As we ‘retire’, the interaction between us as spouses becomes even more important. We may have assumed what our spouses want, based on our own desires and interests, however, in a retirement mode, Do Not Assume. You can get away with that when both of you have jobs, children, focused vacations, etc., but not when you both look at one another on a more or less daily basis and have not figured out what Both of you want to do and be involved in as a couple or individually going forward in retirement.

Haaf has hit the nail on the head…….we need more intimate time to talk about things and encourage one another to openly share our lifestyle directions, work out where we should head --------together.

One of us should not be making the decisions for both of us, but both of us need to find the intersections of our ideas as a couple for:

• When and how would each of you like to retire?

• What are you retiring to?

• How much time would you like to spend together and how much would you like to spend apart? Who are the other people with whom you wish to spend time?

• How will you handle your money?

All of the communication skills we can muster should be brought to bear on these questions and perhaps several others of importance to us as we move forward. Individuals (single seniors) should have a similar discussion about their going forward and have a bit of a game plan in much the same way as a couple. These individuals could have a friend, a sibling, even a parent step in and be a sounding board and interactive partner to answer the questions that they need to answer going into retirement. If couples or singles do not have this plan, we certainly will bounce around with less life direction and understanding about what retirement is and what it could be.

Retirement is not a couch potato sport. It is an active and engaged lifestyle. At Seniors Outreach, we are not the spouse or nor the person to communicate and counsel with but we can provide and promote the types of questions you should interact about and provide volunteer activities you may consider becoming involved in as you go forward after this communication exercise has been undertaken. If we can be of some assistance, contact us at 403-443-2555.

[Source: Good Times – Canada’s Magazine for Successful Retirement, June 2018 – “Retirement Planning for Two” by Wendy Haaf, pp 20-23]