&l;p&g;Have you ever learned something the hard way? Turns our retirement tends to be one of those things for married men (see &l;a href=&q;https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertlaura/2018/05/03/why-married-men-are-so-terrible-at-retirement/#7ccbface663a&q;&g;Why Are Married Men So Terrible At Retirement&l;/a&g;).&a;nbsp; The issue at hand is that we have all been brainwashed to think that the most important part of the retirement planning process is money.
&l;img class=&q;dam-image shutterstock size-large wp-image-1039876762&q; src=&q;https://specials-images.forbesimg.com/dam/imageserve/1039876762/960×0.jpg?fit=scale&q; data-height=&q;639&q; data-width=&q;960&q;&g; It&s;s time to open up about what is happening to married men in retirement (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)
Therefore, married men focus intently on this area and then get to retirement and are blindsided by other factors that no one told them about, and frankly end up wasting some of the best years trying to figure out things that could have easily been avoided with some additional pre-retirement planning.
One of the key disadvantages married men and couples have heading into retirement is the brain washing machine out there which includes financial professionals and Corporate America.&a;nbsp; Both of who are aware of the need to plan for the non-financial aspects of retirement, but don&a;rsquo;t include it in the process or benefits because it doesn&a;rsquo;t help the bottom line. That&a;rsquo;s right, since they can&a;rsquo;t make any money on providing that advice or benefit, it gets swept under the rug.
As a result, both Corporate America and countless financial professionals compartmentalize retirement as a financial event where the other things will magically work out as long as they have the dollars and cents figured out.&a;nbsp; That&a;rsquo;s like saying, if you save money to put your child through college, they will get there and not only want to go, but will get straight A&a;rsquo;s, never party, and miraculously graduate with top honors.&a;nbsp; It takes so much more than just money.
That&a;rsquo;s not to say money doesn&a;rsquo;t have a role or that there aren&a;rsquo;t a few people and organizations trying to get on board, but until planning beyond the dollars and cents becomes a mainstream process and part of the norm, couples need to take it upon themselves to plan ahead for many of the things that they will need in order to make the transition successful, including the following four things:
&l;strong&g;Understand The Difference Between Work Buddies And Friends&l;/strong&g;
A married man&a;rsquo;s social network is one of the most essential ingredients to a fruitful retirement.&a;nbsp; &a;nbsp;Study after study shows that the more connected a person is, the longer they will live and be able to fend off things such as depression and disease.
Fact is, work is a great social outlet for married men.&a;nbsp; Oftentimes, they have a handful of guys they talk to, eat lunch with, and even sit next to at company meetings or events.&a;nbsp; Most would consider these friendships and expect for them to continue while in retirement, but that&a;rsquo;s not always the case.&a;nbsp; Too often these relationships are tied to work, and unless those chains are broken, and they begin to do things outside of the workplace, the likelihood of that relationship continuing decreases.
That leaves many men reliant on their existing non-work friendships to fill their time and stay engaged.&a;nbsp; While some men have strong friendships outside of work, others have taken what they have for granted.&a;nbsp; They have been so busy with their careers, family, and other things, that those relationships have been put on the back burner and need to be rekindled. Furthermore, I would argue many men don&a;rsquo;t know how or what it takes to be a good friend.
Seriously, if you had to write down the four or five things that every good friendship should have, what would they be?&a;nbsp; Too often, we get comfortable in our existing relationships and don&a;rsquo;t realize they require work. Being a friend means you have to invest time and energy into people.&a;nbsp; Invite them to things, accept invitations from them, and sometimes call or hang-out for no reason, while also being ready to help at a moment&a;rsquo;s notice.&a;nbsp; All things that married men need to be doing more of with both family and friends as they approach retirement so when they get there, they have a network of people to help them replace the social life they are losing at work.
&l;strong&g;Retire With Something&l;/strong&g;
I have to admit, it has become clich&a;eacute; for people to say, &a;ldquo;You need to retire to something.&a;rdquo;&a;nbsp; In general, it sounds like a good concept, however, it&a;rsquo;s superficial and often doesn&a;rsquo;t work because it assumes people will have the desire or motivation to do something different once they get to retirement.
This is a major problem for married men because as we all age, we tend to prefer to do the things we already like and are committed to.&a;nbsp; Therefore, if a married man says I&a;rsquo;m going to retire to part-time work, golfing, and hitting the gym three times a week, it doesn&a;rsquo;t mean he is going to do them.
That&a;rsquo;s why I encourage them to retire &a;ldquo;with something&a;rdquo; rather than &a;ldquo;to something.&a;rdquo; It&a;rsquo;s way easier to continue doing something in retirement rather than picking up something new. Frankly, most married men don&a;rsquo;t do much the first few months of retirement.&a;nbsp; They honeymoon, and it feels great&a;hellip; at first. &a;nbsp;But then as life goes on, it&a;rsquo;s easy to stick with that routine, instead of the things they were going to &a;ldquo;retire to.&a;rdquo;
So, they end up putzing around the house or yard, and tagging along to the grocery store and begin the process of suffocating their wife and marriage.&a;nbsp; Therefore, its essential that men go into retirement with a routine to work out, a schedule to meet friends, and already have that part-time job instead of assuming it will work out when they get there.
&l;strong&g;Turn Off The TV&l;/strong&g;
In my experience, they best way to save your marriage in retirement is to turn off the TV.&a;nbsp; If you want to stay sharp, relevant, and up to date on the latest news, go to the local library to read the newspaper and magazine, or meet some friends at the local coffee shop.&a;nbsp; Watching TV in retirement should be limited to a couple hours a day, at most, and focused on shows that both you and your spouse enjoy.
I have never heard any couple say, &a;ldquo;Our secret to a happy marriage in retirement is watching political news or sports all day long,&a;rdquo; but it is the biggest issue spouses bring up to me. The problem, especially with politics, is that men are easily riled up on some topics, but they can&a;rsquo;t do anything about them.
So, it causes this angst that doesn&a;rsquo;t come off well in most conversations. Moreover, a man&a;rsquo;s innate desire to fix things makes issues like these even more complicated because they never go away.&a;nbsp; They just keep resurfacing and intensifying their mood and mindset on the topic.&a;nbsp; Therefore, don&a;rsquo;t let it creep in and get the best of you. Turn it off and move onto things you can manage and control.
&l;strong&g;Get Up And Pitch In&l;/strong&g;
This one is a little bit more poignant.&a;nbsp; Let&a;rsquo;s face it, couples often take on certain roles and responsibilities during the working years.&a;nbsp; Whether both spouses worked or one stayed home, there are traditional roles that have been established over the last 30-40 years of marriage and work.&a;nbsp; Well, the gigs up.
If retirement is about both of you and leaving the roles you had during the working years, then things have to change at home.&a;nbsp; The doesn&a;rsquo;t mean the husband is all of a sudden doing all the cooking and cleaning, but it also doesn&a;rsquo;t mean that the wife is doing it all either.&a;nbsp; Retirement is not a time for one of you to sit around and do nothing while making the other person&a;rsquo;s life miserable.&a;nbsp; It&a;rsquo;s about working together, staying active, helping each other, as well as spending time together as well as apart.&a;nbsp; &a;nbsp;&a;nbsp;That means roles will need to change and adapt over time.
While these are only a few of the things that married men and couples can do to start to break the brainwashing of traditional retirement, they can serve as good conversation starters and planning points as you make your way to and through retirement together.&l;/p&g;