Couple on sofa discussing retirement

Of all the deep-seated lifestyle questions that humans fail to ask one another, this one is number one with many couples retiring: “What kind of retirement do you want?”

It is also the one question that, if left unasked, can severely wound an otherwise healthy relationship.

It has the potential to be a major miscommunication station!!!

Many times, the retiring executive just assumes certain things about their retirement and fails to even consider what their spouse is thinking. This is where a retirement coach can save the day by asking the right questions to draw out the issues that may not be apparent or are assumed by couples retiring.

Why is calling upon a Retirement Coach such a smart idea?

Trying to do retirement planning alone is like trying to teach yourself how to fly a plane: all the necessary information may be on the internet, but with this “solo” approach, you will only get one shot at it. Good luck!

If you are the spouse or the assumed second party, you have just as much right to call some of the shots in this retirement. After all, it is your life as well. If your spouse just assumes by your silence or your tacit agreement that you are okay with his or her direction, who do you have to blame? Them?

Yes, but also you.

Remember: it’s a partnership, not a dictatorship

When the king (or queen) of the hill decides that every Friday is dinner at Al’s Pizza, and you hate it, just say, “Let’s try a new place because Al’s is getting stale. How about Ernesto’s or Angelo’s?”

It doesn’t need to be a confrontation (it’s just pizza!) but your input in this new relationship is what really matters. Save confrontation for the things that really matter.

Maintain and protect your independence

When your spouse was at work, you had plenty of independence. Now your independence is at risk because you-know-who is home all the time. So how do you regain your footing?

  • Suggest things for your spouse to do apart from you and also with you. You are not trying to abandon them; you just want some space and a little “my time”.
  • Take the initiative. Many couples retiring find their spouse is very receptive to this. Surprise them by planning a trip that you have always wanted to take. If your spouse is not thrilled with the idea, find a close friend that wants to go and have a good time.

Believe me, your other half will be supportive and relieved. The whole idea is to establish a balance between independence and togetherness in what is now a new relationship.

  • Finally, don’t be afraid to try new things. If bird watching is something you’ve always wanted to do, go for it. Just be respectful.

For couples retiring, it’s important to remember that time in your relationship is the new currency. How you spend your time by yourself and jointly will determine the ROI of your joint retirement relationship. Don’t delay—the clock is ticking!!

Having a healthy retirement mindset is key

The retirement planning phase is an excellent time to develop new relationships and engage in learning new ways to balance needs for purpose, efficacy, values expression and self-worth.

It’s time to update your beliefs about what retirement can be so you can curate a retirement lifestyle that’s customized just for you and your spouse, in all your vitality and uniqueness. Ready to get started? Retirement Lifestyle coaching is here to help make your retirement dreams your new reality.

About Bob Foley

Bob Foley is your Retirement Lifestyle Coach and you can reach him by email at or simply by scheduling time on his calendar.

Bob FoleyBob Foley is on a mission to make sure your retirement lifestyle is designed just for you. After all, he knows how much retirement has changed in the past few decades. Because you’re not your parents, and your retirement won’t look like theirs.

You’re a dynamic and vibrant individual, and retirement isn’t about to change that!

Bob knows what it’s like to be a driven, career-minded professional who’s suddenly standing on the precipice of retirement, looking down on an unfamiliar landscape full of shadowy unknowns and big, looming question marks. » Meet Bob Foley