Retirement? Maybe not.

11 Jul

Dear LetterBalm: I know my husband will not go willingly into retirement. He’s a good provider, but he’s been such a workaholic throughout our marriage that I’ve had to coax him to attend family gatherings and date nights with me. He used to play golf and enjoy the symphony, but now he has few hobbies, and most of his friends are retired and moving away. He says he wants to consult for several companies who are interested in him. I want us to relax and travel – we can afford it, and I’ve waited more than 40 years to spend time with him. What can I say to bring him around?

–Tired of the Waiting Game

Ms. L.B. advises that you start laying the groundwork now in steps. First, identify your husband’s interests. He must have some. (History? Architecture? Sports Stadiums? Wine? National Parks?) Match them with travel itineraries and broach him. Gauge his enthusiasm, and the two of you start planning. Second, gently and casually encourage him to broaden his interests and reignite dormant ones, including a new hobby/sport both of you can take up together. Third, keep physically and mentally engaged and continue your own fulfillment. Have a sincere sit-down with him, in which you say this:

Gregory, you’re coming up on retirement, and I’m afraid it’s not going to happen. You’re already talking about taking on work from several companies. I want to travel with you and do things with you, but I don’t want you sulking or half there because you’re thinking of the work you’re missing. So, I propose a compromise: Take on work projects during the year, but you make clear to the companies that they won’t interfere with travel or other major plans the two of us have agreed to. No last-minute cancellations of our plans, either. That way, you can do the consulting you love, yet open yourself to things we want to do. We’ll work on our calendar together. Does this sound like a plan?

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