lifestyle marriage retirement planning

Are Your Retirement Visions on the Same Page?

Are Your Retirement Visions on the Same Page?

Today's post was contributed by Jan Elliott, author of Faith Full Retirement

During lunch one afternoon with several girlfriends, we started discussing our vision of our "perfect" retirement. Most everyone, as they approach the age of 60 (give or take a couple years), has some sort of vision about what their retirement can potentially bring. Now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of things to keep us up at night in retirement planning, but for the sake of this article, we will look at that "perfect" vision.

One friend, we will call Sally, described her perfect retirement that she and her husband Tom had been planning for years. Their perfect retirement plan included moving to a planned community in a warmer climate where there was golf, tennis, pickleball, fitness center with various classes and planned activities. A small strip mall with a grocery store, café, nail salon, spa and drug store along with other convenient shops would also be nice. Meeting new couples and enjoying a busy social life was also an important aspect of Sally and Tom’s vision.

Next up was Corrine. She and Ralph had a total different vision, which was perfect for them. They also wanted to retire to a warmer climate but in Bali! "Bali?!" We exclaimed at once. "Yes" she said. "We vacationed there when we were in our thirties and promised each other when retirement came, we would absolutely move there." Although they had not been back since, they kept up to date via the internet on the happenings of the island along with the housing market. They were convinced that living like they were on a permanent vacation would be the best life ever. Even though they had children and grandchildren, the plan had been worked out to visit them frequently, and once a year they would fly everyone to their home in Bali for an unforgettable family get together.

Then it was Kay’s turn, who up until this point had been very quiet and had not offered much to the conversation. With a sigh, she began. “Well”, she said, “you all very fortunate to be on the same page with your spouse. Unfortunately, Jim and I are not. We both have different visions of the perfect retirement.” (No one at the table had even considered that.) “And it is certainly causing a conflict. We rarely discuss it as we are so divided on this issue.”

Here is their situation: Jim wanted to retire somewhere near Myrtle Beach, the golf capital of the world. He had a long time friend who lived in the area. They were both avid golfers and were even golf course raters for Golf Week Magazine. The plan was to rate and play as many golf courses as possible, perhaps all 120 of them! Kay, on the other hand, was not a golfer, and had no intention of being a golf widow during her retirement. Her vision was to move to the city where her three grandchildren were, and also spend time in Los Angeles with their daughter. Although Jim loved their daughter and their Grandchildren, a few visits a year were ok with him. Yes, this was certainly a dilemma.

So, what is a couple to do when each of them has a totally different vision? They were happily married, and did not want to spend their best years living separately in different parts of the country. They also were not as financially well off as the other two couples at the table, which limited their options somewhat. Being conservative with their nest egg was definitely a concern.

Fortunately for Kay and Jim, they put their heads together, and came up with a solution. After selling their home, they purchased two smaller condos, one in Myrtle Beach and one near the grandchildren. They sometimes went together, and sometimes went separately, each staying for an extended period of time in their preferred location. It was considerable downsizing from their current lifestyle. To help cover costs of HOA fees and taxes on two places, they rented out the condo at Myrtle Beach during the summer when Jim considered it too hot to golf. Not exactly what either one wanted to do, but they made it work since each had a different vision.

So, have that conversation with your spouse. What is his/her vision? What if it varies from yours to the point where you argue about it every time it comes up? How will you compromise? Don’t wait to have the “what is your retirement vision” conversation. Seek coaching or Facebook Groups or other avenues to see how other couples have handled similar situations. Never assume. You know what they say about that……

Have a similar experience with your spouse? Share in the comments section below!

Jan Elliott

Retirement planning expert, Jan Elliott, works with women in close-knit workshop settings, to offer motivation and guidance in creating a vision and plan for retirement. Her past careers were spent supporting thousands of women in areas of weight loss, interior design, time management, appearance, organization and financial fitness through her own speaking business, as well as through National Seminars and Franklin Covey. She is also an entrepreneur at heart, with a knack for real estate investing and internet marketing. Learn more about Jan at!