Great relationships support a wonderful retirement

Jul 09, 2019

For most of us retirement is a period of major change. So much so it can put considerable strain on even the most rock-solid of relationships between a spouse or partner. So, in an effort to maintain and strengthen those relationships as you approach retirement, we recommend two things: effective planning and open, honest communication.

Here are some ideas to go about it.

Create a ‘dreams’ list

Make lists of the all the things you would like to do, both individually and as a couple. Don’t rule anything out. If you want to climb Mount Everest put it on the list. You’ll have fun planning what you want to do and how to do it. Talk your lists through together, taking care not to criticise one another’s plans and dreams. Compromise may be needed. And as a result you may find you have goals you want to achieve separately, as well as things you want to do together. Be clear on your expectations for retirement. It will make life easier in the long run.

The next step is to explore the possible costs associated with achieving your goals. Work your finances through together. That way you’ll both know what you can expect. Plus, you’ll be better able to deal with challenges should they arise. By preparing together you’ll reduce the potential impact and strain of money worries.

Maintain wider social circles

It’s also important to invest time in relationships and interests beyond your partner or spouse. This will give you both the space you need, and it can help avoid potentially damaging dependencies. With an independent social circle and series of activities you’ll be able to maintain your own identity in retirement.

Of course, it’s entirely possible to create a new social circle. And it is recommended you do. Try volunteering or getting involved with local groups or societies. You’ll stay engaged and your skills will be put to good use.

Top tips for enjoying retirement together

  • Show an interest: You may have different hobbies, and enjoy doing some things apart. But taking an interest in the activities your partner enjoys could bring you closer together. Ask questions. Perhaps get involved every now and then. But certainly acknowledge their passion - even if you don’t feel quite the same way
  • The little things that mean the most: Spending more time together could lead to you both taking one another for granted. Making a conscious effort with little things - like saying ‘thank you’ or holding hands when you’re out for a walk. These small gestures say a lot, and show your partner how much you care
  • Try new things: It’s easy to settle in to a routine – particularly if you’ve been in a relationship for some time. So why not try something different? What about surfing, wine tasting or cheese making? A sense of adventure could strengthen and renew your relationship
  • Talk: Be truthful with one another. Tell your partner how you feel. Voice your concerns. And encourage your partner to do the same. Being open and honest helps to avoid misunderstandings and assumptions that can lead to disagreement

Retirement brings change. And that can be daunting. But it also offers a host of wonderful opportunities. And through open and honest communication, and by planning ahead, you and your partner can take full advantage of them all. And you’ll enjoy this exciting new phase of life.

Article reproduced with the kind permission of CABA, the organisation providing lifelong support to ICAEW members, ACA students and their close family around the world.