When You and Your Partner disagree on retirement plans

Whether you have ever voiced it to anyone else, your partner included, you probably have always had some idea of how you will fill your time in retirement. And the chances are that your partner has similarly got ideas about what their retirement will look like. If you communicate with each other often and share all your hopes and dreams you may find you are on the same page when it comes to retirement plans. Great, if that’s the case.

What happens sometimes though is that when you get down to the details you and your partner don’t share the same ideas about retirement. Often one partner makes assumptions that the other shares their wishes, without ever really having a serious discussion. It can then come as quite a shock to discover that far from being on the same path you actually want very different things for the next chapter.

At a time when a lot of change is happening discovering that you have different ideas about how to spend your retirement can feel a big deal. It is easy for misunderstanding or resentment to arise between you, or even to question whether you really know one another as well as you thought. You may have lived happy parallel lives while working and sharing only weekends and holiday times together. Being in one another’s company 24/7 is a different prospect altogether.

Communication is key to all relationships and a good understanding of one another’s wants and needs as you approach retirement has to be a priority for happiness and wellbeing. The way to approach it is to establish good habits ahead of your actual retirement. Set aside time, daily if possible, but certainly weekly, when you agree to take it in turns to sit and listen while the other person speaks. You don’t interrupt, it is not a conversation, and you will hone your listening skills to really understand what you are hearing.

It may be that you are on different paths and if every other aspect of your relationship is good then there is going to need to be some compromises and negotiation between you. This needs to be an honest give and take, mindful of each other’s needs, and also of the needs of the relationship. It is no good agreeing to something resentfully which is going to set up tension in the future.

At the root of any differences may lie your individual attitudes to retirement itself. One may be eager and looking forward, the other more anxious and uncertain. Wanting to hang onto your pre-retirement identity plays a big part and it can take time for the transition. Fears about all aspects of retirement are very real, it is a major life transition and those fears are made bigger by not feeling able to share.

If you find it difficult to have those conversations with one another, or feel confused you need to first confront your own attitudes towards retirement, then coaching can be very helpful. Some coaching sessions will help you unravel your anxieties and talk about your goals for the future.

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