How to have a happy relationship with your spouse after retirement
This podcast episode falls under Significant Other in the Six Pillars of Retirement. And today, our guest is Nora Hall, a dedicated problem solver, set out to find solutions to the struggles she and her husband encountered after he retired. Numerous interviews with retirees revealed that most couples experience similar stress during their adjustment period in retirement. Nora shares their stories and offers proven solutions and inspiration for all retired couples, to help them have a happy relationship and stay happily married.
Prior to writing full time, Nora worked as a teacher, arts administrator, fundraiser, and writing consultant.
Nora started writing her book and blog because when her husband retired, they didn't expect the change in their relationship. They didn't really anticipate anything about retirement but soon learned they weren't having fun and enjoying it. Nora started to wonder what was going on and decided she needed to find a resolution. In her research, Nora discovered that there were some common circumstances that almost every couple experiences when they initiate their retirement.
Many times husbands tend to become angry initially during retirement. Their identity is wrapped up in their careers and when they retire they feel they are losing their identity
Now that the husband is retired, he doesn't know what to do with himself
The change of being together all the time put a strain on relationships
Another common problem Nora discovered in her interviews and in her own relationship, is that when their husbands are retired there are suddenly always there. Women tend to have a lot of structure in their day to day activities. Out of boredom, the husbands will check on them to see what they are doing throughout the day. Women tend to perceive this as a sort of “butting in” if you will. In reality, the husbands are trying to be helpful and the women find it annoying.
It’s so important to be sensitive to one another’s needs
Nora tells us a story about when her husband retired and she was still working as a freelance writer at home. She didn't have a door in her office and her husband would come in and start talking to her and distracting her. Her husband didn't understand why Nora would get angry and Nora couldn't understand why he didn't realize that she was busy. She discovered they weren't being sensitive to each other's feelings.
So what was the solution to this problem? Their grandchildren solved the issue. They put a sign on the pantry door that lead to Nora's office that said: “Do Not Enter”. When she didn't want to be disturbed she would open the pantry door with the sign on it.
Having a happy relationship with your spouse after retirement might be difficult because of the adjustments you both have to make.
Nora also talked about the 5 types of husband:
Bossy Husband – These are husbands who are in a managerial position (managers, directors, CEO, etc.). They are used to being the boss so when they come home it's natural for them to expect that they are the boss.
Always There Husband – His days are spent in his workplace then suddenly, he's at home all the time. This type of husband doesn't typically have many outside friends to go to lunch with or do things with.
Dependent Husband – Not the type of always-there-husband but really doesn't know how to fill his time throughout the day. For example, he wants to go out every Friday but he expects his wife to plan the trip.
Angry Husband – Their identity is wrapped up in their work. There is more anger in men. These husbands don't know what to do with themselves after retirement.
Doesn't-Ever-Listen Husband – This one drives women crazy. Before finishing the sentence, they're already questioning you. This can cause a lot of contention in relationships
One of the things that creates a happy retirement is if a couple is willing to compromise
Nora suggests that if you realize as a couple, the things that each of you do that gets on the other person's nerves, are not intentional. You can start to have meaningful conversations about the things that are bothering you.
Nora does a workshop for couples. She helps couples identify how they are going to create a happy relationship with their spouse.
One example of how she does it is they discuss a particular topic and then they break into groups and discuss further what that meant to them and how they can use that information to create a happier life.
Do you have any tips on maintaining a happy relationship after retirement? If so, share them in the comments below!
Fritz Gilbert is the Founder of The Retirement Manifesto, a personal finance blog focused on helping People Achieve A Great Retirement. Fritz will be retiring in the summer of 2018 at the age of 55, after 3 decades in Corporate America (most recently as a Commodity Trader). He and his wife live in a cabin in the Appalachian Mountains of North Georgia, just a few miles from the start of the Appalachian Trail. They have a 23-year-old daughter who was married last summer and recently moved to Seattle. After retirement, Fritz and his wife plan on traveling extensively with their 5th Wheel RV, as well as working with local charities and “giving back” to their community. They are active in a dog rescue charity and have 4 rescue dogs who will be accompanying them during their travels.
All though Fritz does have a personal finance blog, he thinks all of the other things to think about during retirement are even more important than finances. He calls it the softer side of retirement.
Fritz will be officially retiring June 8th of 2018 and both him and his wife are excited.
How Fritz and his wife are preparing for his retirement?
They are having discussions on how will they live their life after Fritz' retires and how they will find purpose in retirement. They come up with some things that both of them needed to decide.
Here are some examples:
Develop an interest/hobby:
What are we going to do individually?
Fritz's wife started to grow an interest in pottery. Turns out she is a good potter. Fritz will join a group that swims 3 times a week.
What are we going to do together?
They put up a jar with a notepad next to it where each of them put in activities once a week so that they have 2 years worth of weekly activities. They call it their “Wednesday jar”. What comes out of the jar, they do together every Wednesday. I think the Wednesday jar is a great idea!
Create a timeline together
As his retirement approaches, they have things planned out like healthcare, they also bought an RVbecause they wanted to explore new places and spend some time traveling. They have also built a list of each state and things they would like to see or do in each state.
Because they moved into a new area where they don't know anyone, one of the things that they wanted to do is build relationships. They wanted to build networks with their neighbors by, one example, walking their dogs. They met a few people who also walk their dogs. Another way for them to meet new people is through their church.
Be receptive to doing something that gives you passion and purpose in retirement, but don't obligate yourself to do something until you've settled into your new lifestyle.
What are some ideas you have to prepare for and to find purpose in retirement? Share your thoughts and ideas below in the comments
I've been doing the Rock Your Retirement show since April 2016. I knew when I started the show that I wanted it to be about Retirement Lifestyle. I've been thinking about retirement myself and wanted to bring my listeners along my journey by interviewing people who have something to say that relates to this retirement lifestyle or Baby Boomer Lifestyle topic.
My husband is 20 years older than myself, so of course, we are in different stages of life. But I wanted to be able to spend more time sharing experiences now, while he's still able to enjoy them. I was scared.
What would I do with myself?
I'm only 52 as I write this, and I am used to the hustle and bustle of working. And honestly, I don't have to work. The thing is, I enjoy it. I've been self-employed for the majority of my life, and enjoy the structure of working. I don't enjoy a “boss” telling me what to do. In fact, a two year period I tried leaving my business and working for someone else. I failed miserably.
The good news is that I hadn't left my business completely, and when I came back it was there, along with my clients who hadn't left in my absence. Of course, I was never really 100% gone.
Now I'm busy because although I did semi-retire from that business, giving up my license to sell securities, I still have about 30 beloved clients that I work with. I don't know if I'll ever give that up. As long as those clients want to work with me, I'll continue holding their hands through their financial retirement.
But I wasn't satisfied with just helping those 30, although I didn't want to take on any more clients in that industry. So I started a new project.
That project was supposed to just keep me busy between October and December of every year, but it's really turned into more of a full-time job. I DO enjoy it. But I wish I could afford more help so that it didn't feel like a job to me. It doesn't pay as well as my old business because it's new.
So why do I do it?
That's a good question. We don't need the money. I've done plan after plan for my husband and I, and the numbers always work out the same. We are fine.
Even when the stock market drops… we are still fine.
I think the reason why I keep doing it is that it fills a need in me, so as long as it does this, I'll keep going. Occasionally I think about just saying, “That's it, I'm done!” and just put my business on autopilot and walk away. But it's usually after a particularly difficult situation that was brought on by the client. I don't get many of them because I seem to attract really great clients, but every now and then, someone enters my life that I'd rather not deal with. Often I refer them to work with someone else, but sometimes it takes a while for them to leave, and they cause stress for my staff and me.
So what is it?
I've been thinking of this over time. I think it's because there are six pillars of retirement lifestyle, baby boomer lifestyle really, and work for me is one of those pillars. Sometimes we have a “pillar” that might be out of whack, and for me, I think it's work. My work pillar has been taking up more space, and I'd like to work on the other five pillars.
What are the Six Pillars of Retirement Lifestyle?
Whether you consider yourself an atheist, a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, or whatever, I believe that you have a spirit. A soul. Something that makes you different from the person sitting next to you.
There is an essence that is you. You are connected to others through this essence. I happen to believe in God and Jesus and every day I try to live in a way that is congruent to the way I believe.
When we act differently from what we say we believe, we run into trouble. My goal is not to convert you here, but to help you understand why you need to consider the spiritual side of you. For me, that means attending my church and working on my crap. I know that I'm not perfect, by anyone's standards, but I try to move towards that just a tiny bit each day. And it's the striving that brings me closer to God.
For you, it might mean meditating instead of praying. For you, it might mean reading your honored book and trying to understand it. For you, it might mean communing with nature. Clearing your mind of the stuff that clutters it.
But everyone has a spiritual side, and if you expand it, you will have a greater likelihood of thriving.
If you act differently from your beliefs, you will find that your stress level has gone up and I believe that stress can cause illness.
So yes, I believe that the spiritual side of you shouldn't be ignored in retirement.
I understand that not everyone is in a relationship. I happen to be married. Most, but not all, people I know would prefer to be in a 1:1 relationship with someone. We are designed, programmed, genetically to be in a relationship.
Being married (Waite 1995), having children (Denney 2010), and ties to religious organizations (Musick, House, and Williams 2004) have all been linked to positive health behaviors.
Being in a good marriage can also improve our health.
The quality of our relationships matters. For example, one studyfound that midlife women who were in highly satisfying marriagesand marital-type relationships had a lower risk forcardiovascular disease compared with those in less satisfyingmarriages.
Studies have also shown that being in a committed relationship can help you live longer.
Dan Buettner’s Blue Zones research calculates that committing to a life partner can add 3 years to life expectancy (Researchers Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler have found that men’s life expectancy benefits from marriage more than women’s do.)
So learning how to either keep that relationship strong or find a nurture a relationship if we don't have one is also an integral part of the retirement lifestyle.
If we are in a relationship, it might change after we retire. We have to understand that, and work toward being flexible and understanding of that, while also learning how to speak up for our needs that have changed, or aren't being met.
One Psychologist developed a model that shows whether you will divorce during the “empty nest” syndrome that so many of us enter when our kids leave for college.
John Gottman, a psychologist emeritus at the University of Washington, developed a model to predict which newlywed couples will remain married and which will divorce, a method that he claims is 90 percent accurate. He found that most divorces happen at critical points after a couple unites. The first period occurs after seven years, when pairs tend to feel the strain of their relationship (does the Seven Year Itch ring a bell?). After 20 years, couples may encounter “empty nest syndrome”—a lonely feeling that can take over when children leave home, causing a rift in the marital bond.
If we don't have a relationship and want one, we have to understand that finding a relationship when we are older isn't the same as finding one when we were in our 20s, 30s, or even 40s. It's different. WE are different.
Along the lines of Significant Other, it's also important to have friendships. When we are working, many times we form friendships that involve our work relationships. After all, we are with these people for the majority of our waking day. When we retire, often our work friends are still working, so they can't just take off time to have coffee or see a movie in the middle of the day.
And just like having a strong marriage can affect your health, so can having friendships.
One study, which examined data from morethan 309,000 people, found that lack of strong relationshipsincreased the risk of premature death from all causes by 50% — aneffect on mortality risk roughly comparable to smoking up to 15cigarettes a day, and greater than obesity and physicalinactivity.
Another study showed that we can handle stress a lot easier when we have strong relationships.
In a study of over 100 people, researchers found that people who completed a stressful task experienced a faster recovery when they were reminded of people with whom they had strong relationships.
We know that we need friends, but how do we go about getting them? When we were kids, we naturally formed friendships at school. We saw these kids for 6 hours a day, and maybe more if we had after-school activities. We found things in common.
In retirement, we probably aren't spending 6-9 hours with someone. The question is, how do we form friendships after we retire?
Especially if we move, which is often the case.
This is something that I'd like to address more on the Rock Your Retirement show. We each have opportunities to meet people, talk with them, and then follow up with a coffee or lunch to cement that relationship. But often we don't do it. We say, “Let's do Lunch!” and then never follow up. We mean to, but we don't do it for one reason or another.
The cool thing is that if you do increase your circle of friends, it can help your feeling of well-being more than increasing your cash!
A survey by the National Bureau of Economic Research of 5,000 people found that doubling your group of friends has the same effect on your wellbeing as a 50% increase in income!
In retirement, it's even more important to form these bonds and nurture them. We are going to need that support later on.
Just because you are thinking about, or already retired, doesn't mean that you can't be productive. Or maybe you do want to work for pay, but just not full time. Sometimes you can work, get paid, and have new experiences that help you have a great retirement lifestyle.
One example is working seasonal jobs to have experiences. For instance, becoming a host at a National Park is one of these options. You might stay in your RV, and help keep the park clean, or answer guests questions. You'll get to stay for free and have that experience that you might not have had otherwise.
Or work on a dude ranch. Get paid. Stay free. Eat free. And meet lots of wonderful people for a summer.
Or perhaps you have an expertise that no one else has. You could, like my husband, be an expert witness. These jobs pay really well by the hour, but come along occasionally so you don't have to feel like you are in a full-time job.
Many people don't want to work for pay, but would rather volunteer their time. We've had numerous episodes on volunteer work and how to figure out what yours might be.
The key is that you have options.
Your “work” passion might be a hobby. You might not want to go to the senior center 3 days a week because you are working on making quilts for all of your 17 grandchildren. That's OK too.
It might even mean creating a podcast on a topic you are passionate about!
The main thing is to have something to do that gives you a sense of purpose. We don't lose that wanting to have a purpose just because we retire.
If you are a regular listener to the Rock Your Retirement show you probably already know that Health is a big issue in my personal life. My husband has stage 4 cancer, and when we found out, he had to make a decision about whether or not to go forward with chemotherapy. (He did) Not only did he want to use modern medicine to give him a good shot at a longer life, but he also wanted to use non-traditional methods of staying healthy such as supplements and changing his diet. You can read about what he's done at http://LesHasCancer.com
It's not just disease we need to be concerned with though, it's our general health. I personally have a problem with not moving enough. Although my weight isn't critical, I could lose 10 pounds to be at a healthier weight. So I struggle with these issues too.
In addition to our own health, our parent's health might be on our mind as well. Although we can't control what our parents do, we can be aware of health issues and be prepared (as well as possible) for them. We will never really be prepared for our mom or dad getting dementia, but we can be prepared by at least knowing that a urinary tract infection could cause dementia-like symptoms. This was super surprising to me!
There are changes we can make each day that can slow the spread of disease and the degradation of our bodies. For example, parking further away from the grocery store is a step in that direction.
I added health as a pillar because frankly if you're sick, nothing else really matters, right?
I added this separately from significant other because a lot of us have issues with family that we don't have with our spouse or other loved ones.
In family, I include parents, siblings, children, and any other family members that aren't our spouses that you want to include.
Many of us have past hurts from family members that are difficult to let go. I'm not perfect here either. I have some relationships that need fixing. It doesn't matter that I don't think it was my fault!
It's easy to get involved in our own lives and not reach out to family members. Personally, I'm going to try to actually put it on my calendar to reach out weekly to my family to strengthen those bonds.
You might be fantastic in this area. If that's you, then great! You have one of the 6 pillars already handled.
Each of us will have different pillars of retirement lifestyle that we need to work on.
You might have the Significant Other or the Family pillar handled. But your weight might be out of control, or you might be struggling to give up smoking.
My goal for 2018 is to break the Rock Your Retirement episodes into these six pillars so that we can go on this journey together. Together we'll learn what we need to know, or just be inspired by someone else's story.
That's what I'm looking to do this year, and I hope you'll come along for the journey.
If you haven't already subscribed to the show, go ahead and do that now.
Jonathan Braddock is our guest for today and he is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, and the founder and CEO of My Life and Wishes, an education and digital planning platform with a mission to help at least one million families become “thoughtfully prepared” for the inevitable, their own death. Jon is the author of “Advisor or Vendor”, “Retire Erase”, the “My Life and Wishes Organization”, and, his most recent release, “Click Here When I Die”, is an Amazon Best Seller.
Why is planning for our death important?
Leaving your family via your death is already hard for them, planning your wake and burial will be much harder for them. Leaving them via your death with a Will help them know what you want. They will know if you want to be cremated, in-ground burial, etc. Helping them know what you want or have planned for them is a really big thing because it lessens the hardship that they will face after your death.
For Jon's family, it took them 10 months to finally finish all the paperwork left for his father-in-law. They found a bank account where the bank's name is not familiar to them. Imagine the stressful phone calls they had to make to locate the bank. It will be much easier if you prepare everything like your bank accounts, social media passwords, ATM passwords, your will, insurance policies, and many more. Jon shares a story about someone he knows where he's really guilty that he didn't have her mother cremated when that's what she really wants but he didn't know that because she didn't tell him.
What are the 5 stages of grief when there's a death?
Denial – this is the first of the five stages of grief. It helps us to survive the loss. In this stage, the world becomes meaningless and overwhelming. Life makes no sense. We are in a state of shock and denial. Denial and shock help us to cope and make survival possible. As you accept the reality of the loss and start to ask yourself questions, you are unknowingly beginning the healing process. You are becoming stronger, and the denial is beginning to fade.
Anger – a necessary stage of the healing process. Be willing to feel your anger, even though it may seem endless. The more you truly feel it, the more it will begin to dissipate and the more you will heal. There are many other emotions under the anger and you will get to them in time, but anger is the emotion we are most used to managing. The anger is just another indication of the intensity of your love.
Bargaining – Before a loss, it seems like you will do anything if only your loved one would be spared. “Please God, ” you bargain, “I will never be angry at my wife again if you’ll just let her live.” After a loss, bargaining may take the form of a temporary truce. “What if I devote the rest of my life to helping others. Then can I wake up and realize this has all been a bad dream?” We become lost in a maze of “If only…” or “What if…” statements.
Depression – After bargaining, our attention moves squarely into the present. Empty feelings present themselves, and grief enters our lives on a deeper level, deeper than we ever imagined. This depressive stage feels as though it will last forever. It’s important to understand that this depression is not a sign of mental illness. It is the appropriate response to a great loss. If grief is a process of healing, then depression is one of the many necessary steps along the way.
Acceptance – this is often confused with the notion of being “all right” or “OK” with what has happened. This is not the case. Most people don’t ever feel OK or all right about the loss of a loved one. This stage is about accepting the reality that our loved one is physically gone and recognizing that this new reality is the permanent reality. We begin to live again, but we cannot do so until we have given grief its time.
Movie Pass lets you watch a movie for free! You just have to pay $10 per month to get one and you can watch movies every day. Imagine 30 movies in 30 days for only $10!! How awesome is that?
Advantages of Movie Pass:
You can watch new release movies
You can watch movies every day for free
There are no blocked out dates
At theaters where advanced seating is available, you can select your seat in advance
You'll save tons of $$$
I wouldn't say disadvantages but here are some things you cannot do with your Movie Pass:
You cannot watch 2 movies in a day
Members can't watch the same movie twice
You can't watch 3D movies
Tickets can be bought the same day you are going to watch the movie. You cannot buy days ahead.
To reserve your seat, you must be 100 feet away from the theatre
Having a Movie Pass lets you save a lot of money that you can use to spend on other things. You can have a movie date every day and still have some extra bucks to spend on dinner or groceries.
Watching a movie is a great stress reliever and it's super fun! However, there are things that you might be doing in the cinema that might be annoying to other people. Here are some examples:
Texting – this one is very common. Did you know that the light on your cell phone is distracting?
Not putting your phone on silent mode – this one is really annoying. Imagine you're watching a movie and when it's climax, someone's phone is going to ring in maximum volume.
Talking loudly – just like not putting your phone on silent mode.
Les and I became interested in Movie Pass when we visited my parents on the East Coast. We went to the cinema and my parents didn't pay for their ticket! And because of this, we thought, why not get a Movie Pass instead of paying $15-20 per person per movie?
We are sharing this experience because it will help you in your Retirement Lifestyle. You will save a lot of cash especially if you're a movie-goer. You can spend it on other things like one of my personal favorites, cruises. If you love gardening you can spend it on fertilizers or seeds!
Multigenerational Living: Is it hard? How does it work?
Lisa Cini is an award-winning, internationally-recognized senior living designer with more than 25 years’ experience.She just released her second book entitled “Hive The Simple Guide to Multigenerational Living,” which is based on her own personal situation of living in a 4-generation household with people in the house ranging in age from 17-92 and the positive impact design can have in a home for seniors with dementia.
Lisa is also the Founder of www.BestLivingTech.com, think Sharper Image meets AARP! She searches the world for the best products to Embrace Living as we age. Her design company, Mosaic Design Studio, is the nation’s leading provider of design services for senior living
According to Lisa, 90% of people do not want to move to Senior Living facilities. A lot of seniors do not want to move into the beautiful Senior Living Facilities Lisa Designs.
Why would someone not want to live in a beautiful Senior Facility where they don't have to cook and there are a ton of activities?
It can be very expensive
People want to age at home
Some of them got their house when they got married or when they got home from the war. They had that same house their entire lives. Giving up their house is like giving up their freedom
Multigenerational living means living with different age groups in one house.
25% of seniors are now living in a multigenerational household
Lisa started living with her parents and grandparents when she started her company. She needed her mom to take care of her kids. Lisa asked her mom to help her raise the kids and her mom agreed. Her parents lived a couple of blocks away from her house so, she thought, her parents need to move in with her. She also convinced her grandmom to move in with them.
How does it work? How do you deal with the different needs of different persons? Lisa tells us stories from her personal experience as she's living with her family from different age groups.
Living with Lisa's parents and grandmother is going well. Her kids love their grandma's food, her parents love the joy her kids are giving them. Of course, nobody's perfect so even if everything is going well, there are some bumpy rides along the way. One of them was storage. Each generation feels differently about the storage of their private things. For example; there are things her grandmother considers private that her mother doesn't. There are also things her mother considers private that Lisa doesn't consider private.
Lisa's grandmother has Alzheimer's. She wanders around so Lisa created a wandering path in her house and used technology. Anything that she could hurt herself on is not on that wandering path. They also installed cameras in her house so that whenever her parents would go out and eat dinner, they would not worry about coming home right away. They could just turn on the camera and talk to her grandmother. Pretty Cool!
Lisa has a 21 point checklist on how to age in place at her website www.lisamcini.com
If you would like to check out Lisa's Books here are the links: