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« The Gatlinburg Trip | Main | Lessons Learned from the Cockpit »
Wednesday
Sep172008

Anniversary

Stephanie and I recently celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary.  Yep, 36 years.  It has been quite a journey.  There have been a few changes and challenges along the way, but it has been a wonderful ride.  We had 13 mailing addresses during our first 13 years together.  Some have said that I drug her all around our great country during those years, and they were right.  Through it all, I believe that our marriage has been about as close to perfect as a marriage normally gets.  Of course we have had to make some adjustments and adaptations along the way.  We have lost parents; we have faced job and health changes; and there have been the normal irritants of daily life.  We have had minor arguments, but not very many.  And I can not remember any serious disagreements or outright fights.  Throughout these 36 years our love and committment to one another has never wavered.  That, and our committment to God, have been the constants that have accompanied our journey.  Our marriage has given us a wonderful daughter, a fine son-in-law, and two beautiful grandsons whom we adore.  We have a loving extended family, and God has blessed us with health and happiness.  In fact, I could hardly have imagined a better outcome 36 years ago as we marched down the ailse of that little Methodist church in Springfield, Tennessee.  But now we are facing another major challenge; I am contemplating my retirement!  Hope I don't blow it at this late date!

Stephanie and I have had an unusual marriage in many respects.  One is the fact that we have spent so much of those 36 years apart.  Thirty-six years equates to 13,140 days.  Because of my career, we have been apart at least 6,500 of those days and nights.  I have often looked with envy at those couples who got to spend almost every night together, and bemoaned the fact that I have missed so many nights at home, but what if that fact has contributed to the success of our marriage?  Whenever I have returned from a trip there has always been a bit of a celebratory air in the house.  Even Presly, our dog, gets into the act.  Everyone seems glad to see me.  But what will it be like when I am there every day, day in and day out?

Successful retirement planning involves more than just making sure enough dollars are present.  One needs a "time plan" for retirement just as they need a financial plan.  A big part of that time plan will be determining how the couple will spend all of that additional time together.  There has been a great deal of research regarding how retirement affects marriages, and some of it indicates that marriages undergo a bit of stress when one, or both partners retire.  Most marriages, at least initially, are rejuvenated after the spouses retire.  The stress from jobs and commuting are gone, and the couple can reacquaint themselves with one another.  Most draw even closer as they are reminded of why the got married in the first place.  If the marriage was strong before the retirement, not surprisingly, it will be strong after retirement.  Likewise, if the marriage had problems before retirement, they are magnified after retirement as the couple spends more time together.   

Some problems arise because the partners have different  goals and dreams for the retirement.  The wife may be looking forward to volunteering, taking classes, or spending more time with the grand kids.  The man may have his heart set on traveling, fishing, or playing the top 50 golf courses in the country.  It is important for the couple to discuss these issues before they pack up everything at the office for the last time.

One problem that some couples face is the fact that some men simply do not have any close friends or other interests outside of their work.  Everyone has heard the old saying about "twice as much husband and half as much money."  These are the guys who find themselves trying to dominate all of their wives' free time once they are retired.  They get really clingy and expect their wives to be at their beck and call.  They suddenly think that they are experts on running the house, planning the menus, and directing most of the other activities that their wives had heretofore managed.  This situation generally ends badly.

It is important for the couple to discuss how they will be as a couple after retirement, as well as how they will be as individuals.  They have been unaccustomed to spending every waking moment together prior to retirement, and it will not be healthy for them to try to do that after.  They will need to maintain their separate identities as well as their idenity as a couple.  They will need their separate interests and friends.  This is another area that they will need to discuss in advance.  Surprises relative to these issues are generally not well received.

I am very much looking forward to my retirement, and not the least reason is that I am anxious to spend more time with my favorite person.  She tells me that she feels the same way, but perhaps we should spend a bit more time analyzing how we are going to divvy up all of that additional time we will have together.  It may be that I will get on her nerves by being around so much.  I know I am capable of that.  It may be that she will decide that I will need a part time job, or that I should pretend to take another 4 day flight trip.  Hey, maybe she will go with me!

 

Fly/Drive Safely

17 September 2008

 

As I write this  the big, bad bear is loose on Wall Street.  He was turned loose by some guys who thought that they were the smartest guys in the room, but have been proven wrong.  Mortgages that had no chance of being repaid were issued, repackaged as "sound" investments, and then pawned off on unsuspecting investors.  The bill for this foolishness has come due and has brought our financial system to its knees.  How this plays out will affect not only my retirement plans, but the plans of many, many others.  But, (deep breath) our economy is still sound, regardless what the politicians wrangling for votes say.  Our country and our economy will endure this crisis, just as it has many in the past.  It has never paid to bet against the US economy, and I will not do so now.  These are the conditions that present patient investors opportunities.   

   

 

 

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Reader Comments (1)

I know 2 little boys that could keep you busy and out of mom's hair.

September 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGinger

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