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Old 07-24-2014, 03:08 PM
Location: delaware
688 posts, read 865,193 times
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Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
So many coupled retirees seem to take for granted the idea that they will grow really old together, that is the model that the media project esp when selling stuff to boomers. And, the model we want to believe (best-case).

The reality is (and I don't know the stats) that folks will be unpartnered gradually or suddenly when the other
partner/spouse dies, and then it's a whole new (sometimes wildly) unfamiliar terrain, esp when the couple got married way back when (for me, in college). Being together for 2/3 of one's life to date, how do you start over? Come to think of it, second to divorce and/or serious illness of any close family member, maybe that loss is the biggest curve ball that can be tossed to us in retirement.

my husband and i had been married 36 years , when he died a year after his full retirement. we had moved during that year to a new town, liked where we were immensely, and planned to stay there. we had known each other since we were age 10, and he was a part of almost all of my memories up until that point.

since his death,in the last twelve years, a lot has happened to me, most of which i could not have predicted, and all of it unplanned. i retired, met someone else who is now the emotional center of my life, moved to another town where i initially knew no one, wrote and self- published two books, one of which deals in part with adjusting to a new life, and began teaching courses for life long learning program for u.de.

we had planned for retirement only in that we , fortunately, had two pensions and knew we could probably live comfortably, thought not lavishly, on those. beyond that kind of planning, i don't feel one can anticipate some of the changes that these years might bring. i feel fortunate to have the life i have now, although it is not the life i had planned. i feel fortunate that i have a partner who loves and needs me as i love and need him. but it is, most certainly, a different kind of life than the one i had known. it is also fortunate that we do not know, in advance, what we will be called upon to do in this life, and therefore it's important to be flexible , realizing that you can reinvent yourself if you remain open to possibility and chance.

catsy girl
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Old 07-24-2014, 04:44 PM
Location: SW Florida
9,765 posts, read 7,047,160 times
Reputation: 14300
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
We divorced 10 yrs before retirement and realized soon after we had made a mistake. Family dynamics that centered on my mother and some other challenges had driven us over the edge. We were stretched. But got back together, carrying on. We had married at age 19 and 21 respectively, so I guess you can say we've spent nearly our whole lives together and when they say for better or worse they mean it, lol.

So yeah, it hasn't been smooth sailing. But we've pulled ourselves back into the boat and are rowing together again.
So glad to hear that you got back in that boat to spend your retirement years together!
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Old 07-24-2014, 04:52 PM
Location: SW Florida
9,765 posts, read 7,047,160 times
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Originally Posted by anifani821 View Post
Yes, I understand the sentiment, LUVMYHOSS!

So many adjustments . . . hubby and I are working on the "staying at home" issues right now. Post-surgery for him, and right now, he is dictatorial and tends to treat me as if I were an employee. NOT GOOD. However, I am counting on his attitude adjusting once he is able to get involved in his own pursuits rather than being indoors and overly concerned with my every movement during the day.

I hope you will find a happy equilibrium when that full time presence becomes a reality! One of my friends went back to work after being retired for 5 years -- to escape dealing with her husband's need to make her his personal assistant post retirement, lololol.
That's rough, Ani- you think your hubby's attitude towards you is a post-surgical thing, as in frustration from being cooped up not able to do what he likes? I hope so, I know it'd drive me batty in that situation.
Hopefully it's temporary!
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Old 07-24-2014, 06:15 PM
Location: SW Florida
9,765 posts, read 7,047,160 times
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I must say I am truly inspired by the stories and the words of wisdom offered by those who've posted on this thread. A lot to think about!

As for our retirement, three years out, so far overall it's been better than I ever could have imagined. We chose the area where we wanted to retire- after looking all over Florida- we lived in Miami and didn't want to retire there, but wanted to stay in Florida. We bought the land, a beautiful piece of waterfront property back in 1996. We built our retirement house on the land funding the construction with an equity line of credit on our house in Miami after we paid off that mortgage- the goal was a new house with no mortgage, which we achieved. Like many others we lost money in the stock market crash, but we both have pensions, between those, my part-time contract work( done from home), SS and the sale of our house in Miami, lower cost of living than Miami, finances are good. My husband and I are still close, we've gotten involved in the community and made some good friends here, and every day, we wake up happy to be here as we stretch out the aches and pains, LOL.

The unexpected came along when our daughter, who was almost finished with a degree in Music Education and working part time ( actually this was before we retired) developed a life-threatening cardiac condition that put the kabosh on her life plans, She had to drop out of school, couldn't work, and spent the next three years in and out of hospitals, visiting one specialist after another to rule out any number of conditions, undergoing cardiac ablations and trial medications to try and control the arrythmia/tachycardia that became constant after several years. She moved into the retirement house as she tried to get this under control and get her life back together over that time. We spent most of our time with her, and finally, after almost 4 years, she had open heart surgery to ablate the area(s) ( they couldn't access it from the inside of the heart via catheter) and that took care of the tachycardia. She has a pacemaker now, and it's probably saved her life ( her doctor had told us if they didn't get the tachycardia under control she would die). She's still living with us, working to get her life back together and get out on her own. She's working her way up the nursing ladder, enrolled in an LPN program a few months after her surgery, finished that last December, got her license and is now working full time.

The other unexpected event was my mother moving back to Florida- right up the street from us. It's a long story, involving her not being very happy for very long anywhere or with anything, her blaming others for her discontent, her champagne taste on her beer budget and her expectation that one kid or another will pay the differences in what she wants and what she can afford- and drive her around anywhere she wants to go. And, when she so chooses, provide a place for her to live rent free. Her move to Florida no doubt involved quite a bit of manipulation on her part- she was living with my sister in PA- and a family blowup, resulting in my mother's, brother's, and my estrangement from that sister, that lasts to this day as my sister is still virulently hostile at any attempts I've made to re-establish contact with her- and she said she wanted my mother to go, so I don't know.... We've ( my parents and siblings) had very dysfunctional family relationships over the years, but I had hoped we might let bygones be bygones enough to share our lives in our old ages, but I guess you can't make it happen when it won't be. I've learned over the years you can't force love where it isn't, but you can share your life with others who want to share theirs with you.

So part of my retirement is having to deal directly with my mother and her manipulations/demands, but she's found a boyfriend ( at almost age 88) so she's moved in with him and is engrossed with her new man, so her demands on us aren't that much right now. For that I can be grateful, and I'm also grateful every day for the love and support of my soul mate, my husband, who's been there in good times and bad.
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Old 07-24-2014, 07:38 PM
2,742 posts, read 727,575 times
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I agree, Travelassie. This thread has been inspiring (including your post). Thanks for starting it, Anifani. Sorry about the losses and stresses so many have endured, but it's a testament to the human spirit (and to the resilience of our generation---hope this could be said of the next generation!) that we can persevere and deal with challenges gracefully. We can survive and even thrive. In my case I do think it has helped tremendously to be retired---because dealing with work stress as well as other stressors would have been overwhelming.
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Old 07-24-2014, 07:48 PM
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I didn't plan it at all. I don't know how in the world I ended up in such good shape... or at least I think that's how I'll be when I turn 60 in about 6 years.
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Old 07-24-2014, 08:25 PM
Location: Wisconsin
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I didn't do much planning other than save as much as I possibly could. Never wanted to move, just maintain in place. So far, it's been easier than I thought it would be - I have more spendable money now than I did when I worked, far fewer worries. Took a while to adjust to not working - like dialing back my "go get 'em" mode. That's been the hardest. But, other than that - pretty much a nonevent.
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Old 07-24-2014, 08:57 PM
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,193,442 times
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Originally Posted by Travelassie View Post
That's rough, Ani- you think your hubby's attitude towards you is a post-surgical thing, as in frustration from being cooped up not able to do what he likes? I hope so, I know it'd drive me batty in that situation.
Hopefully it's temporary!
Thank you for the good wishes, TRAVELASSIE!

There are several things going on with Hubby. He has two modes: ON and active and OFF and asleep. Nothing in between. Now, that in itself can be bad enough, as when his stamina declined and he was diagnosed with heart failure, he could no longer physically do the things he loved doing. But the hidden part of this equation is that when he can't be active, he takes the role of supervisor and micro-manager . . . and that has meant standing over me (and our sons, when they were around, lol).

We all knew we were going to have a "situation" when Dad retired. So Dad decided never to retire, since he gets so much satisfaction out of untangling corporate knots. His heart didn't agree.

Hubby has received permission from his docs to return to work next month. He retired from his job (should have taken a leave but that wasn't going to work out - too much time off needed) . . . so he is again applying for jobs, and hopefully he will find a teaching job in the near future. There are many colleges and universities in the area, plus there is always distance learning. He has taught (adjunct) in the past.

So . . . part of my husband's need to control his environment, and ME, has always been there and part of it is his frustration with his current circumstance (no job, physical limitations). His ill temper is partly medications and partly his own issue that he is going to have to learn to handle better. He has been granted a second go at life. Now, I hope he will settle down and learn to ENJOY his life rather than focusing on what he can't do -- and expecting me to somehow be his surrogate. I have a life, too, or USED TO - and I intend on reclaiming it, lol.
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Old 07-25-2014, 06:10 AM
674 posts, read 840,676 times
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I agree that this is a most inspirational thread. Thank you for posting Alfani and thank you to all who responded with heartfelt stories.

My husband was forced into retirement when he got laid off unexpectantly in 5 months ago. The biggest shock is health insurance. My employer doesn't offer health insurance. And the reality is what others have said. No one is hiring a 61 y/o man. He is willing to do anything if it paid benefits. Thankfully we did save during our lives, but we don't have a pension and our money just won't be able to last. So, we are moving to a less expensive area. I will be also trying to find a F/T job. It's going to be a huge transition. The biggest change is leaving my youngest daughter here. She was going to relocate as well, but changes in her job and personal life are going to keep her here. We are very close and both are sad to be separated.

I am hoping and praying that we are ok once the dust settles. If we can't find work I'd just hate to see all of our hard work of saving just can't last. We meet with our financial advisor in a couple of weeks and hopefully he has a new plan for us. He'll help us with decisions as to what money to use first, when to take SS, etc. And to protect as much of our principal as possible while also investing for the future.

As my mother always says, "Man plans and God laughs". Yes, you can plan. But with the realization that anything can happen at anytime to change your plans. You need to change courses and get back up and into the game.
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Old 07-25-2014, 06:37 AM
Location: Loudon, TN
5,792 posts, read 4,846,494 times
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So far all is good. We planned, we had intended to sell our place and make big bucks, but then 2008 came and the housing market crashed. So we had to wait for things to turn around. Eventually things started looking better in the housing market, we got the house ready and we were surprised when it sold in 5 days. So our moving plans became a reality and we are here in Tennessee. Cross country from all the friends and family, but really enjoying our new home and area. Right after we moved DH got a diagnosis that may or may not be a big deal. Right now, it is all okay, and we are just moving forward as planned. Things could change with his health, but that's true for everyone isn't it? I guess the one thing that has changed for me is that I have to have a Plan B, and make sure that those things that need to be put in place are taken care of.
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