Retirement For Young and Old Lawyers: Part Six

Husband: “Green Acres is the place to be…keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.”

Wife:  “New York is where I’d rather stay. I get allergic smelling hay. I just adore a penthouse view. Dah-ling I love you but give me Park Avenue.” 

~ Lyrics by Vic Mizzy

 My older readers will recognize the lyrics above. The young folks will have to Google them.

After six wonderful weeks travelling around Ecuador, I was ‘this close’ to convincing my wife that we wanted to move there when I retired. We would live on the beach and travel around South America, all for a fraction of the cost of freezing in Canada six months a year. This close. 

And then I blew it. She asked, “but what about the distance from the children?”  And I replied, “You’re right. That’s a problem. It’s too close. They could get here in a day.” 

Apparently, that was the wrong answer.

When we got back to Toronto, she pulled out a compass, put the pointy end on Toronto City Hall and drew a circle that represented a three-hour radius from downtown. She told me that was how far we could move. Not wanting to live in Lake Ontario, I found Buckhorn, which is where we now live very happily. But it is cold there, six months a year.

You see, when you are planning for retirement, you have to be certain that you are on the same page as your significant other. Here are a few situations to be wary of:

  1. You may  have heard the story of the man whose life partner had settled into retirement a few years earlier than him. She established a routine which included playing tennis and meeting with her friends for lunch weekly. This fellow was used to having co-workers to hang out with, and subordinates who did what he said. So, he suggested that he join the tennis group and join his wife for the weekly lunches, and he gave his wife many helpful suggestions about how to do retirement better. And that’s when the fight started.
  2. I also know a fellow who wants to travel the world and has all the money required to do it. His wife, on the other hand, is committed to taking care of her elderly parents. He resents being stuck at home. She resents being pressured to travel, which she does not particularly enjoy, and to spend less time with her mom and dad.
  3. And then there are the folks who become empty nesters and realize that they have grown apart, but rather than fix the situation they just drift into retirement in that sad state. Without the distractions of work and the fake work friendships that they have relied upon for comfort, things get really bad.

My wife says that retirement was all that I talked about for two years while I pondered retirement.  She  also says that I was driving her crazy, to which I countered that it was not a very long drive. But at least we talked about it and planned together. If you are in a personal relationship and committed to staying there, planning for retirement is a two-person job.

This article was originally published by Law360 Canada, part of LexisNexis Canada Inc.

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