‘I WISH I’D HAD SOMETHING TO RETIRE TO’
People can be so tired of working, or sick of their particular job, that they retire at the first opportunity without thinking through how they will spend their time. Many struggle to replace the structure, meaning and purpose their work provided.
CFP Jennifer Weber of Lake Success, N.Y., counsels her clients to think about “how to spend their days with meaning.” That could mean a part-time job, consulting gigs, volunteering or spending more time with friends and family, she says.
‘I WISH I HAD MORE FRIENDS’
Something else work provides: social contact. People often don’t realize how much social interaction their workplace provides, says CFP Patti B. Black of Birmingham, Ala. Black recommends volunteer groups, clubs and classes as potential sources of new friends.
‘I WISH WE HADN’T BOUGHT THAT HOUSE’
CFP Kevin M. O’Brien of Northborough, Mass., says some of his clients’ retirement home purchases triggered serious buyer’s remorse. The clients hadn’t spent enough time in the community before buying, and now wish they lived somewhere else.
The cost and stress of changing homes is usually significant. Although moving may be the right choice, no one should buy a retirement home in haste, O’Brien says.
“Retirees should rent in areas they’re interested in retiring to before making a major purchase,” O’Brien says.
‘I WISH WE’D TALKED ABOUT OUR EXPECTATIONS FOR RETIREMENT’
It’s not uncommon for spouses to have dramatically different visions of retirement. O’Brien has advised couples where one spouse was thrilled to be the grandkids’ child care provider while the other longed to travel and be more spontaneous.
“They can’t just up and go because they are relied on to watch the grandchildren,” O’Brien says.
Different expectations can cause serious ruptures in relationships, and they may be among the reasons why divorce rates for people 55 and older have more than doubled since 1990 even as the overall divorce rate subsides, Black says.
Black urges spouses to discuss how they will spend their time, including how the division of household chores might change and even whether they’ll have lunch together every day. As with so many other aspects of marriage, the willingness to talk through disagreements and find compromises is essential, she says.
“Retirement is a major life transition, and you have to be patient with yourself and your spouse,” Black says.