Honey, I’m Home…For Good: Adjusting to Retirement

Studio 5 Relationship Coach Matt Townsend weighs in.

Now that you’re retired your life is in your hands. What are you going to do with this great opportunity? Retirement is a change that can cause some stress in a relationship. It is the perfect time to have some important conversations. If you have these conversations, it will help you to be better adjusted to this phase of life and create a fulfilling life together during retirement.

The Resources Conversation

The Resources Conversation is about how you are going to live on a fixed wage. With one or both of you now retiring, it only makes sense that you’re not going to be able to live at the same level financially that you were before. In this conversation you should discuss your financial reality. You could also evaluate your healthcare benefits, Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, rainy day fund, insurance, cost of living expenses, household budget and investment information. The goal of this conversation is to put you and your partner on the same page financially. The reality is that the more time you spend in this conversation the more likely you are to have fewer surprises later. Here are some questions you can use to prompt you through that conversation.

1. What is our inflow of money look like?

2. What does our outgo of money really look like?

3. What does our budget need in order to balance the first two questions?

4. What needs and wants do we both have to stick to this budget?

5. How can we cut back on our expenses?

6. What are some “extra activities” we want to be able to budget in every year?

7. Should we still continue working, even part time?

The Time Conversation

Many times in retirement one of the biggest surprises is how much time you and your partner will actually have together. For years you both have been able to wave goodbye to each other in the morning and didn’t worry about seeing each other until later in that same day.

There were no expectations from your partner for your time during those long days. Now you’re in each others space every day, all day. During this Time Conversation make a point to discuss the importance of “your” time versus “their” time. Remember that every person has different expectations about how much “together” time is necessary. Remember that you can still truly love each other and need and want to be away from each other. As part of this talk you can create a tentative schedule that takes into account each others likes and dislikes and create the schedule of your dreams. Here are some questions you could ask to prompt you during this conversation.

1. How much time alone do you need every day?

2. What does a tentative schedule look like in your perfect world?

3. What times of the day are “sacred” or inviolable where we should both be together no matter what?

4. What time of the days do you prefer? Are you a morning or a night person?

5. What will be different with our time on the weekend?

The “Distribution of Work” Conversation

Now that you are retired and no longer working, many of the expectations about who does what around the house may have to change. Why would it be fair for one partner to be able to retire from their job outside of the home, while the other partner will never be able to retire from their duties inside the home? In the “Distribution of Work” Conversation discuss the distribution of work in your home. In retirement, many find it hard to not have a set role or activity that they are supposed to accomplish every day. This lack of clarity in a role may lead one person to end up either doing significantly less than the other partner or they may even end up taking over the role of the other partner. This conversation about chores is where you discuss the roles of who will take care of what inside the home, outside of the home, with the automobiles, family and grandkids.

This may be the perfect time to switch some long-held roles and to give one partner a chance to try something new, like making dinner every night or working out in the yard more. Use this conversation to make sure that you’re both able to complete everything that needs to be done in the home. That way, you can not only share the work load, but you’re prepared in the event that your partner can’t do certain tasks in the future. Here are some questions you could ask to prime the “Distribution of Work” Conversation.

1. Who is responsible for what chores in and around the home?

2. Who makes the dinner? Who cleans up?

3. How many times should we eat out versus eating in?

4. What is one activity you’ve done for a while that you would love to quit doing?

5. Who puts together family parties?

6. Who sends out the birthday cards?

7. Who pays the bills?

8. Who is responsible to grocery shop?

9. Who washes the cars?

The Legacy Conversation

No conversation at retirement will be more important than shoring up the legacy that you and your partner want to leave the world. In the Legacy Conversation you and your partner can discuss your goals, dreams and new purposes for this exciting new stage of your life. Now that you’ve freed up some time in your life, let the Legacy Conversation help you create a strong projection of what you want people to remember about you after you’re no longer around. The conversation can circle around your parents, children and grandchildren. You can discuss any volunteer or charity work you might be interested in doing. As part of the Legacy Conversation you might want to discuss other goals or activities that will help to grow or strengthen your talents or gifts. You can also discuss your health in all of its variations be they physical, social, emotional, mental and spiritual. Make goals and create plans to meet those goals. The Legacy Conversation also helps you focus on important relationships that you want to influence.

1. What motivates you most at this stage of life?

2. What do you want people to say about you at your funeral?

3. What do you consider your most important responsibilities and relationships right now?

4. What is your purpose in life?

5. What is the lesson that only the two of you can teach?

6. Who needs to hear that lesson?

7. What’s the most important thing you need to start doing right now?

Matt Townsend is a national speaker and relationship expert who uses his unique gift of understanding relationships to help individuals, couples and families learn the skills they need to better relate. Through entertainment and humor he teaches life-changing principles and skills empowering couples to change by learning to communicate more effectively, to stop patterns of negative reactions, and to get to the heart of important issues.

For more couple advice from Matt, attend:

Date Night with Matt Townsend

“Getting on the Same Page: From Hobbies to Hunting

Managing Expectations and Priorities with Your Partner”

Friday, July 30

7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

$35 per couple

Location: Noah’s in South Jordan

To register call 801-747-2121

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