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Old 05-18-2015, 06:22 PM
Location: Wisconsin
17,079 posts, read 17,418,579 times
Reputation: 41635


Originally Posted by Nor'Eastah View Post
Try to understand it from her perspective. Retirement is a big step...it's one of those 'life passages'. It can be frightening to a 56-year-old, as their minds are not usually wired for leaving a job, at that age. Also, you are making her feel older. First comes menopause, then...a retired husband? Whoa!

If you mention it to her continually, over time, in a non-threatening way ("I'm getting out of that #&!@#!! place as soon as I can !"), she will begin to adjust to the idea. Still may not be happy about it.

Marriages are most vulnerable during the 'life passage' times. You are asking her to adjust to the empty-nest thing (how does she feel about pushing your youngest out, right after college?) PLUS the prospect of having a retired husband. Just 4 years ago, she was a mom with at least one child still at home. Let her adjust. If she is very important to you, take this seriously. That last child is her baby. It's nice to have them all out on their own, but this can be very tough on their mother. It was tough on me, and I was only the father!

I think you need to give her some time to come to terms with all the changes that are taking place in the family. Once she understands how you feel about it, and you try to calm her fears (trust me, she IS feeling fear) she should become more comfortable with the idea. You don't want to lose her.
Good points.

I have known two couples where the husband was older and retired much earlier than his wife. In one of the couples the husband retired eight years before his wife and basically unilaterally decided that he was going to move to Florida to be in the sunshine rather than face the Wisconsin winters even though his wife had to keep working to keep her health insurance & build her pension. They were able to arrange it that his wife took off two months in the winter to be with him in Florida and he spent the summers in Wisconsin. So they spent about five months of the year together and about seven months apart.

When they were together hubby expected his wife to do everything around the house, all the cooking, all the cleaning, all the laundry, just like she had done when they were both working, even though he handled it by himself when he lived by himself. I bet that you can guess that this did not end up very well and they got a divorce. He was a real jerk about his earlier retirement.

I know another couple where the husband retired ten years before his wife. They discussed everything in advance. He participated in activities through the senior center each day and took on many additional responsibilities with the household chores, running errands, etc. which made her life much easier. Since she worked in education and had the summers off they did a lot of traveling each summer. They were able to very successfully handle the situation. He has now been retired about 22 years & his wife 12 years and they, and their marriage, are very strong.
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Old 05-18-2015, 06:34 PM
6,353 posts, read 5,174,500 times
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I retired from full-time work at 55, and I'm sure my wife was a little scared, not of me being around all the time (I'm not such a bad guy), but of having too little money. Fortunately, since then I've been able to build a successful consulting business that keeps me busy about half time.

This may be something to consider, if you think you can do it. Beats working because someone else wants you do, when you don't need the money.
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Old 05-18-2015, 07:15 PM
13,094 posts, read 13,708,709 times
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Here are the reasons women have shared that they don't want their husbands to "retire early." None of them are about the money.

"without work he will lose his purpose in life and be dead within a year" (at my work place we have actually seen this happen)

"he will not have enough to do so he will disrupt my life and my routines"

"he will get on my nerves because he will be around the house so much"

"he will try to run the house and tell me what to do"

"men don't know how to cope well with big life changes and women do"

it may reassure your wife if you say not just "I am going to retire" but also provide her with "and this is how I plan to spend my time."

have fun. enjoy life.

oh and also in general everyone who is still working, is jealous of people who get to retire, so there is that too.
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Old 05-18-2015, 07:26 PM
466 posts, read 291,741 times
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Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
Compromise: Several posters have suggested some sort of compromise with the wife. That's not a bad idea per se, as compromise is often a viable and reasonable solution to many impasses. HOWEVER, in other cases the two parties in a dispute are NOT both equally right or equally wrong. Given the facts as the OP has laid them out, I would say he is right and his wife is wrong. The big red flag is her unwillingness to come right out with a clear reason or reasons why she is against the idea of his retiring. Something is wrong with her thinking or her ability to objectively analyze a situation if she cannot come up with reasons for her objections. To me that spells big trouble. OP is faced with two bad choices: knuckle under to his wife's preference and have big time resentment about it, or retire anyway and deal with a wife who has the big time resentment.

Perhaps talking it through multiple times, at length, (as already suggested) will help clarify things. But if it doesn't, perhaps help is needed from a neutral third party (i.e., from a marriage counselor) in the clarification process.
I'm guessing that even she is not quite sure about why he doesn't want him to retire. As others have said, she's probably scared a bit and also dealing with other major life changes. I doubt that she is intentionally withholding information.

I agree with the posters who say talk it out and give it some time.
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Old 05-18-2015, 07:38 PM
52,080 posts, read 41,892,714 times
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Originally Posted by Dave_n_Tenn View Post
I agree. The reality is we couldn't be more ready... except for "feelings".
You know her better than anyone.

My late wife didn't like change so often her first answer to things would be no, which really meant she would think about it.

I still remember floating the idea to her about relocating to another state for a job and she said "maybe", I just about fell out of my chair.

Not sure what works for her but maybe you can suggest she talk to friends or maybe a sister etc. about it and talk through her feelings? Or with you?

Best of luck.
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Old 05-18-2015, 07:52 PM
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My husband retired at 62. He's 10 years older than me, so obviously I have a ways to go, plus it was mandated that I continue working in order for him to get health insurance. He quit working before Obamacare kicked in and no carriers would touch him because of pre-existing conditions.

*shrug* We made it work. It was way easier because we are childfree, but with his Social Security and my paycheck, plus our accumulated retirement savings, we are OK.

What made it easy to give the OK? The man has been hitched to the plow for 45 years. He went into the Air Force at 17 (volunteered rather than be drafted and sent to Vietnam). Came out and immediately started working. He's a good man and deserves the rest.

We made sure our financial matters were in order, certainly, and while we do worry about catastrophic health issues, the worry isn't enough to force him to continue in the job market. I did insist that he take up volunteering. One thing I would not tolerate is a spouse who does nothing but stay home and play on the computer all day.
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Old 05-18-2015, 07:57 PM
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,769,401 times
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Originally Posted by Kgryfon View Post
I'm guessing that even she is not quite sure about why she doesn't want him to retire. As others have said, she's probably scared a bit and also dealing with other major life changes. I doubt that she is intentionally withholding information.

I agree with the posters who say talk it out and give it some time.
Good point. That is also possible.
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Old 05-18-2015, 08:28 PM
Location: Florida -
8,770 posts, read 10,870,651 times
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While I think you should talk this thing through, a pivotal point is that this is 'your' retirement, after working 40-years(?), not 'her' retirement. As long as you can financially afford retirement (whether she continues to work or not??), you should certainly consider her concerns, but, the decision should still be yours.

Suppose you told her that you wanted her to work another 6-10-years (until she was 62-66), whether she felt like it or not. While you might not do that, how would you expect her to respond? As long as we could afford it, I'm pretty sure my own wife would say something like, "why don't we both make our own decisions regarding our own retirements."

We've been married 47-years and pretty much consider each other in most decisions. However, even after all these years, we are still individual people with both individual and communal interests and needs.
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Old 05-19-2015, 05:00 AM
Location: Pennsylvania
12,608 posts, read 4,262,013 times
Reputation: 9929
Retire now.
You're 62. How many more days do you have left? Nobody knows.
Time is more important than money.
If your wife doesn't like it, too bad.
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Old 05-19-2015, 05:15 AM
761 posts, read 640,635 times
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Probably one of the most demoralizing and defeatist things to say to someone who feels that they have earned the right to retire.

My wife constantly told me that I needed to work until age 70 as I have stated before. She cited debts. I said we need to reduce debt so we can both retire at a decent age. Didn't take. So now, she is to become the "ex" wife and I plan to retire next year at 63. Combined incomes would have been great, but it won't happen now.

She took over her deceased father's apartment building and pours money into it trying to keep it up.
Good money after bad. Glad I am not on that mortgage, but it is my cash going out the window keeping the place up. She refuses to give the place up due to emotional ties....it's where she was raised.

Yes, there is more to it than just the financials which I won't bring up here.
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