Happily Ever After

If you expect a fairy tale ending to your work life when you start your retirement life, you need to pay as much attention to your spouse as you give to your finances. The results of 2013 Fidelity Investments Couples Retirement Study (http://www.fidelity.com/inside-fidelity/individual-investing/fidelity-research-shows-more-women) indicate that many couples are on two different tracks when it comes to what their retirement years will be like.

According to the research about 60% of couples agree on their retirement lifestyle.  Will he play golf everyday while she stays home to be the chief cook and bottle washer? Or will she be the volunteer extraordinaire at church, the hospital and the animal shelter while he putters in the garden, hoists a few with the guys at the club and comes home to grill the steak?

That means about 40% disagree on retirement lifestyle.  She likes the cocoon of her house and has no desire to travel.  He expects to be the captain of a 55 foot RV seeing the sights of the national parks.  She never wants to clean the house again and he has no idea of how to use the washing machine, dishwasher or vacuum.

About a third of the couples had no idea where they would live in retirement. I don’t take that as a bad thing.  Maybe they just expect to age in place. Who says you have to move when you retire? But what if she wants to travel round and round the world on a cruise ship until her number is up? And what about moving away from the grandchildren?

The Mensch has retired friends who would never ever think about moving from their home, neighbors, children and grandchildren.  They will stay put come hell or high water. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Other friends have become quite intimate with the rest areas on I-95 as they visit friends and family while rarely being at a home that is nowhere near their children and grandchildren.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Retirement is not entirely about the money. It is about thriving in an environment that is not entirely new but offers the challenge of what to do, if anything, for those eight hours between breakfast to dinner.  The hours that used to be occupied by a job, a career or homemaking.


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