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Issues associated with "mixed retirement" (for couples)
Old 06-17-2014, 10:14 AM   #1
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Issues associated with "mixed retirement" (for couples)

Has anyone had experience being a "mixed retirement couple?" meaning one partner retires while the other continues to work. Was it a difficult transition? Was it a positive or negative experience? Did it put a strain on your relationship? How did the situation resolve itself?

Retirement And Marriage: The Pitfalls Of Being A Mixed-Retirement Couple
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Old 06-17-2014, 10:40 AM   #2
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Has anyone had experience being a "mixed retirement couple?" meaning one partner retires while the other continues to work. Was it a difficult transition? Was it a positive or negative experience? Did it put a strain on your relationship? How did the situation resolve itself?

Retirement And Marriage: The Pitfalls Of Being A Mixed-Retirement Couple
My DW had absolutely no trouble retiring 5 years ago while I continued to work. It's like she never missed a beat and got more involved with her church group and just assumed that I would be walking in the door as usual at 6:00PM. No big deal.

Maybe if the husband retires early and the DW continues to work, it may be "different". The article is presenting that situation.
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Old 06-17-2014, 10:47 AM   #3
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Old 06-17-2014, 10:54 AM   #4
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Maybe if the husband retires early and the DW continues to work, it may be "different". The article is presenting that situation.
I agree that the husband retiring early presents a different situation. Isn't it interesting that there are still different standards for men and women on the issue of providing support for a family? If a wife retires early and stays home while the husband gets up everyday to go to work, well, that's normal. But if a husband retires early and stays home while the wife gets up everyday to go to work....what a catastrophe! Despite all the talk about how men and women should be treated equally in all ways, the fact remains that there are different standards and expectations in some areas.
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Old 06-17-2014, 10:54 AM   #5
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I am six years older than DW, and retired at 66 (hardly early) in Feb of this year. I have talked and illustrated and so forth and DW insists that "she is supposed to work until she is 66". Ok, your call a free country and all that but going out the door to a job you hate working with people you can't stand seems pointless to me, but your call. She does not resent me retiring, agrees that I can afford my half of our admittedly modest lifestyle.

Biggest problem is that since she won't quit no one to travel with and that makes single traveling a bit more expensive than I like.
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Old 06-17-2014, 10:57 AM   #6
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I've been retired for 6.5 years now. DW moved to half-time last year and should retire in a few months. While I had planned to retire together, she wasn't ready to stop working. Partly because of friends at work and partly because she wanted the income while the kids were finishing college.

I'm happy by myself. However I now have a day routine that does not include DW. That will have to change a little when she stays home all week. Not a problem, but another transition.

DW has been happy, since it was her choice to continue working. Her boss has moved to another job now, so she's ready to retire after picking up a last bonus. And the youngest DS just graduated and got a job.

That probably means I'll have to get off my butt a bit more, since she is way more active than me. But we can also now begin to travel a bit more, as planned.
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Issues associated with "mixed retirement" (for couples)
Old 06-17-2014, 11:09 AM   #7
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Issues associated with "mixed retirement" (for couples)

I love my early retirement. DH continues to work and travels a lot. I have no problem finding things to do on my own as long as he is back home during the weekends. Of course, I wish he has more vacation time. I sometimes have to find traveling companions when he is not available. Other than that, there's no adjustments or pitfalls. I just worry that when he retires, I may not have too much time on my own to do my own things.
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Old 06-17-2014, 11:20 AM   #8
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Has anyone had experience being a "mixed retirement couple?" meaning one partner retires while the other continues to work. Was it a difficult transition? Was it a positive or negative experience? Did it put a strain on your relationship? How did the situation resolve itself?

Been there...

MY DH retired a few years ago while I was still working. I am self employed and work from home. He was ready to travel, go for long walks, leisurely lunches and hang out at matinees and frankly I found it extremely distracting. It's tough to stay focused on work when there's a better offer standing at the front door tapping his foot, looking well rested, tanned, happy and calm.

We really struggled with this issue, re-balancing household duties, personal schedules, etc. He explored long forgotten hobbies and dreams and took up sailing. This led to an interesting "I'd like to buy a boat" discussion. A sailboat wasn't part of the initial retirement plan - they are expensive, and so he went back to work contracting to his old employer for a year and a half to buy the dream boat. His choice.... The boats in the slip now and the contract is almost up. This time we both have better expectations of how his retirement will impact each of us and best of all he has a new fully funded hobby that gets him out of the house
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Old 06-17-2014, 11:32 AM   #9
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DW worked 2 years longer than me. I volunteered to look after her accounting, billing and taxes. I also managed her portfolio. After she retired, I took over MILs portfolio too.

There were some minor issues but my willingness to help her went a long way to overcoming them. She would have kept working for another 10 years but finally succumbed to our mutual desire to travel.
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Old 06-17-2014, 12:00 PM   #10
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I've been retired for 7 years, DW has two more years to work to get paid healthcare in retirement. I take care of the house, shop and make dinner 5 nights a week. She's happy, I'm happy.
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Old 06-17-2014, 12:30 PM   #11
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No issue so far. I ER'd a year ago. DW plans to work another 2-3 years. Her choice. Mainly because it's low stress, her coworkers are all good friends, and so far she can't envision what retirement will be like for her. She's also in the "sweet spot" of the pension curve (which helps pad our projections) and our youngest is finishing up her last year of college, so the cheap health insurance is a plus.

As others have mentioned, the hardest part is travel. I want to travel more and do more spontaneous activities, like a Tuesday afternoon baseball game, or spur-of-the-moment road trip to visit an old friend. But all this still has to conform to her work schedule. So I either do it alone, with someone else, or not at all.

Around the house, the division of labor has changed somewhat. I now do the majority of cooking, shopping, cleaning, handling household matters, etc. She still does some stuff, mainly just as a habit or because she doesn't want to eat jambalaya 3 nights a week.

Every workday, I wake up same time as her, make her lunch while she's getting ready, and send her off with coffee just the way she likes it. So, as far as I can tell, there's no stress, conflict, or resentment. Plus, she was a big part of the decision for me to retire early because she saw the toll it was taking on me to continue working.

I've also become comfortable with the time alone for old hobbies, like playing guitar, woodworking, and fishing. I'm actually a little worried that when she does retire, we will be annoying each other all day long with conflicting priorities. I'm sure we'll figure it out, but for now, all is good.
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Old 06-17-2014, 01:10 PM   #12
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"I'm actually a little worried that when she does retire, we will be annoying each other all day long with conflicting priorities. I'm sure we'll figure it out, but for now, all is good."
Yep, I wonder about that too. I've been out for 2 1/2 years now, and DW joins me in September. Then it's 24/7 close proximity! The past 2 1/2 years have been fine, as I made a reasonable effort to assume responsibility for keeping the house clean and preparing most meals: only fair, and she appreciates it. When she and I are both without separate commitments of our time, that will be the next test. I'm sure we'll figure it out too, we are usually on the same wavelength, but our concern about having each other underfoot is a reason why we decided we should avoid moving into any condo/apt that didn't have enough rooms to allow one or the other of us to squirrel ourselves away when we had the urge. {Insert winking smiley here}
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Old 06-17-2014, 01:37 PM   #13
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My husband retired in April with a pension. He had a really high stress job and he worked 6 days a week, 10 hours a day minimum. I wish I could retire now, too, but I feel like I should work 2 more years to meet the financial goals we have. My job is annoying, but not terrible. It has been nice since my husband retired, because he has been cleaning out all his "junk" from over the years, working around the house, volunteering at a dog shelter, etc. He runs all the errands during the week that I used to do on the weekends. He is in a much more positive mood, which makes my life easier. He also does all the dishes, which was my most hated job. I only wish I was home, too! But it won't be much longer.
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Old 06-18-2014, 09:16 PM   #14
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I am in a very unique spot. Not married, but committed relationship of 7 years (both live in our separate houses). I retired going towards 5 years now. She is at least 14 years away despite only 3 years age difference. We could probably survive fine on my pension, but my asset base is not large and hers is even worse under 6 figures. If I die, my pension dies, so she can't afford the risk of me dying. I may try to expedite the situation a few years by taking a term life out to bring her to maximum SS with her small pension. But I can't afford to do that for 20 years and be on hook for both health insurance policies and costs in addition to staying alive. So it looks like quite a bit of "me time" until she gets closer to 60.


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Old 06-18-2014, 09:34 PM   #15
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I started gearing down several years ago while DW still worked full time. I gradually started taking over her home tasks as I spent more time at home. Now fully retired, I'm doing most of housecleaning, errands, etc, while DW still works. She's ok with it. But she'll get her tasks back when she retires.
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Old 06-18-2014, 09:44 PM   #16
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I started gearing down several years ago while DW still worked full time. I gradually started taking over her home tasks as I spent more time at home. Now fully retired, I'm doing most of housecleaning, errands, etc, while DW still works. She's ok with it. But she'll get her tasks back when she retires.
That's pretty much what I did. I do probably 90% of the housework (shopping, running errands, cooking, dishes, yardwork, child care, etc). DW does the majority of the laundry just because she's better at it than me.

There's only a tiny bit of resentment, and mostly when I'm sleeping in in the mornings and DW says goodbye on her way out the door as I snooze. I think she's happy to come home with dinner cooked. Post-dinner she lays on the couch and surfs the net or hangs out in the back garden while I polish up the kitchen. We have a couple hours with the kids then they are off to bed, and we hang out for another hour or two watching tv and/or chatting. I'll mix her a cocktail or pour her a glass of wine or champagne and we relax.

I've always been the one with the more slack job and I took care of most of the kid related errands and shopping, etc before I quit working, so it's been a natural transition.
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Old 06-18-2014, 10:24 PM   #17
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Worked very well for the first six years that DH wasn't working, but the last couple of years has been challenging as I am ready to chuck it all, but he wants me to keep working. We are 100% on Firecalc, but he, not me has fears of the future. His experience of when your done, no one else will hire you and me being the last of the moneyhicans is causing a lot of resentment. He gets to play all day, while I still work. My job is fairly easy, part time and from home,,but there are so many other things I want to do. On the other hand, nice to see the assets keep growing, so I'm hanging in there.
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Old 06-19-2014, 07:58 AM   #18
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Around the house, the division of labor has changed somewhat. I now do the majority of cooking, shopping, cleaning, handling household matters, etc. She still does some stuff, mainly just as a habit or because she doesn't want to eat jambalaya 3 nights a week.

Every workday, I wake up same time as her, make her lunch while she's getting ready, and send her off with coffee just the way she likes it. So, as far as I can tell, there's no stress, conflict, or resentment. Plus, she was a big part of the decision for me to retire early because she saw the toll it was taking on me to continue working.
I can certainly understand. How many people can get this much service? I remember back in the 50s, one of my grade school friends had a Mom who got up early every morning and made a real ham and egg breakfast, and packed his lunch and his Dad's lunch to take to the plant. This was a child rich neighborhood, nevertheless I never saw or heard of another wife doing this. Mostly, they slept in or went to Mass.

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Old 06-19-2014, 08:14 AM   #19
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I am in a very unique spot. Not married, but committed relationship of 7 years (both live in our separate houses). I retired going towards 5 years now. She is at least 14 years away despite only 3 years age difference. We could probably survive fine on my pension, but my asset base is not large and hers is even worse under 6 figures. If I die, my pension dies, so she can't afford the risk of me dying. I may try to expedite the situation a few years by taking a term life out to bring her to maximum SS with her small pension. But I can't afford to do that for 20 years and be on hook for both health insurance policies and costs in addition to staying alive. So it looks like quite a bit of "me time" until she gets closer to 60.


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My situation is similar but not identical. My GF has adequate money. She works full time, and it does take time away from things I would like to do with her. Once you have a girlfriend, you are not supposed to fill in with other women if she cannot or doesn't want to do something you want to do, so that is something of a negative. OTOH, when your GF is busy working she is not going to be hanging around your neck, so your day or evening is rarely going to reflect mostly her interests. No chance you will ever have to see Oprah or The View.

For my part, I don't live with her, so it would not make sense for me to take on chores. I do help her if she has something heavy to move, or something unusual like this. I couldn't even do this for quite a while when I was stove up with a bad hip, but that is past and I am happy to be able to help out here. IMO, this is something a boyfriend had better be willing to do, or he will likely be replaced. I have also become a good listener, so when work gets to be a pain for her, I will listen with no comment other than, Oh, I see, no wonder you are upset-for as long as she wants me to. I think this alone is worth its weight in gold, although women can usually get this service from woman friends or from clever men looking to move in on the incumbent.

Ha
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Old 06-19-2014, 08:17 AM   #20
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On my Mom's side of the family, Granddad retired long before Grandmom. He retired at the age of 55, in 1971, to take care of an ailing aunt that they moved in with them. Aunt Helen, I think her name was. Well, she passed away within a year. Granddad decided not to go back to work, but he kept busy. He'd worked all his life as a farmer, growing up on a farm and then working at a local government farm/plant introduction station. He was also a mechanic/ammunition truck driver in the Marines, enlisting for a few years in 1940, but being held over after WWII broke out.

Their house is on 1 1/4 acres, and Granddad had plowed up most of the back yard and did gardening, and that kept him busy. He and his brother in law also did shadetree mechanic work to bring in a little extra money, and to have something to do...at least until cars started getting more complicated with computers, emissions controls, and such.

Granddad also did most of the cooking, and other stuff around the house. Whenever something needed repairing, rather than call a contractor, Granddad just did it himself if he could.

They seemed to get along just fine, with Grandmom still working. Grandmom was also able to get enough time off work that they could go on camping trips and such on a whim, it seemed. Eventually, Grandmom was forced to retire from the federal gov't when the hospital she was working at got closed down, after a tug-of-war between the feds and DC. DC won, and immediately shut it down, for whatever reason. That was 1980, and Grandmom was 56. Grandmom was too much of a workaholic though, so she went back to work, first doing transcription work for doctors and nurses she knew, working out of the home. Eventually, she got a part time/on call position at another hospital about 15 miles away, and sometimes they'd let her work almost full-time hours, and she enjoyed it. And, she could get away whenever she wanted, as long as she wanted. In the summer of 1982 for example, my Mom had to go to a 6-week workshop in Texas, so my grandparents decided to make a big vacation out of it. Ended up taking 8 weeks...we took our time, taking about two weeks to get to Texas, seeing relatives, friends, and sights along the way. Dropped Mom off, and then continued out to see Grandmom's brother and sister in law in Long Beach, CA. So, her schedule was VERY flexible!

Granddad passed away from cancer at the age of 73, in 1990. Grandmom kept working until 1994, when she finally turned 70. She had mixed emotions about it. On one hand, she figured that at the age of 70, it was time to retire. But, she hated it, having nothing to do, and never did adapt well to it.

During those 19 years though, from 1971-90, when Granddad was home and Grandmom was still working, they seemed happy though, and made it work.

On my Dad's side of the family, both grandparents retired at about the same time, in 1974. Granddad was 60, and had enough years in with the Pennsylvania Railroad to get a good retirement. Grandmom was 53, and had worked for several railroads, doing office work. For some reason, the name "Fruit Growers" comes to mind. I've heard that when a husband and wife retire and are suddenly together all of the time, with no break from each other, it can strain their relationship. But, they seemed to be very happy together.

Their retirement together lasted about 20 years...Grandmom got sick in late 1993 and passed away in June 1994. Granddad is still holding on, and if he makes it to October 24, will be 100! He used to joke about how he's been retired longer than he was working, although I think he just means working for the railroad, which was from around 1940-74. If you count his time in the Marines (he actually got out in 1939, so he missed WWII), and other jobs, I'd imagine his total work life is still a bit longer than his retirement. Still, his ~40 years of retirement is very impressive!
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