My wife dropped the bombshell last night that she was considering putting off her retirement to “somewhere between 60 and 65”. She turns 57 in a couple of weeks’ time and she’d previously talked about 60 as a likely date to, at least, cut back her hours.
There’d been nothing hard and fast about that, her retirement is something we rarely discuss and, I guess “60 to 65” could still be 60 but then again it could be 65. I didn’t know what to feel to be honest. In a lot of ways I’m quite enjoying my time on my own, the routine I’ve developed where I’m doing exactly what I want to do, when I want to, without any compromise.
As much as I love Mrs Jones I also like time to myself and I’m not sure how it would work if we were at home together all day, every day. I’m sure we’d cope, develop our own routines, give each other space but it would no doubt create difficulties, the sort of difficulties that I guess every couple approaching retirement have to deal with.
What I’m worried about is the male version of retired husband syndrome – a condition where women begin to exhibit signs of physical illness as their husbands approach retirement. There appears to be no equivalent retired wife syndrome yet!
On the other hand I felt myself feeling a little annoyed as 65 is eight years away which means waiting until 2028 before we could do the kind of travelling I dream about. We’re lucky enough to be able to take three weeks off in the summer which we invariably spend in our campervan in the south of France.
It’s great, we love it, but an even longer time away would be even better, we could take our time, not book everywhere in advance and stop places we liked the look off on the way home, explore and not rush back to catch a ferry. Many of the retired people we meet on our travels are doing just that and, by all accounts, loving it.
Choosing work over travel
Although I’m feeling fit and well I’ve got friends with various health issues such as prostate cancer which could afflict me at any time, I might not even live to 2028. I don’t really want to go off travelling on my own but then again I wouldn’t want to risk missing out on these sort of trips altogether and eight years seems too long to wait.
Mrs Jones generally likes working – the people, the routine – plus, unlike me, she does a proper full-time job but gets good holidays having managed to negotiate an extra three weeks holiday for which I am grateful.
When she gets to 60, in my opinion and we disagree on this somewhat, she won’t need to work from a financial perspective, we should between us have just enough money to have a good retirement without work.
That means she’d be choosing work over spending more time with me! Funnily enough I understand that as I’m once again really enjoying the few hours of work I do most days of the week and I sure like the income it brings which arguably I don’t really need. I also love my routine and the time I get to myself.
I’m lucky because I’ve been used to working from home and have had the opportunity to prepare for retirement gradually and shape it how I want. Mrs Jones, by contrast, is likely to have a much more abrupt end to working life which may take quite a bit of getting used to.
It’s a difficult issue and there’s no easy solution. Having said that, it’s been a good conversation to have and without really coming to any conclusion I feel we both understand and appreciate each other’s position a little bit more than we did. It’s been good to talk.