The yellow star tells us we’ll be on the Activity-Personal side of the Retirement Activity Compass for this post:
A note on this post – we will primarily discuss married couples here, but unmarrieds will also find value because the same principles will apply if you plan to engage in retirement activities with friends or relatives.
The Two Motorhomes
Last week I heard from a reader about the motorhome that she and her husband researched and bought so they could tour the country when they retire. They read Bill Myers’ Buying a Used Motorhome and bought a lower cost motorhome. They will be trying it out this winter with a trip to Arizona and, if they don’t like it, they can sell without losing a huge investment. They have discussed their shared activities in retirement and are aligned. I suspect that if we measure their retirement satisfaction in a couple of years, it will be fine.
Fast forward to yesterday where I was talking with a couple where the husband will retire next month. The husband is looking forward to buying a motorhome and touring the country. Sound familiar so far? The wife is looking forward to starting a pottery studio, not driving around in a motorhome. As Scooby Doo would say, “Ruh ro”. This couple clearly has a failure to communicate. It appears that the couple did little or no shared retirement activity planning and are not aligned. Where do you think their retirement satisfaction measurement will be in a couple of years?
What Can We Learn from the Two Motorhomes?
Discussing, negotiating, and planning well before the retirement ‘day’ comes will help balance the interests of both parties. There usually has to be give and take on both sides, whether it be a married couple, or retired friends planning joint activities.
Be adaptable – you may find you don’t like to motorhome (or run a B&B, or a pottery studio…). Planning to try out any activity, especially the expensive ones, before you commit large resources will help avoid bad retirement surprises.
Be realistic – take into account your budget for retirement activities, mobility restrictions (oops, Bill’s knee can’t take standing for more than about 45 minutes!) and insurance restrictions (will I be out of network if I go to Alabama?).
On your own? Singles aren’t hermits, so consider starting to build your retirement activity network early, but remember, it’s never too late to start.
Actions you can take include:
-Open the discussion. Make a date to sit down over coffee and discuss what major activities you want to do in retirement (hint – surveys say ‘travel’ is on a lot of these lists.)
-If you find that you disagree on direction, search the web for ‘interpersonal conflict resolution’ and use some strategies for getting to compromise.
Questions, comments, or suggestions for retirement surprise areas you want to know more about?
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