Facebook Live Book Talk June 11, 2020

The Impact of Retirement on Couple’s Relationships (Guest Blog post at Marianne Oehser’s

In contrast to the extensive time people usually devote to financial planning for retirement, they often neglect to plan for the psychological aspect of this life stage. Marianne Oehser calls it your Happiness Portfolio®.

Related to that is the complete lack of awareness of the impact retirement has on the couple’s dynamics, which can be compared to the impact of the birth of the first child on the couple’s dynamics. Only at the earlier life stage couples are usually more prepare – aware of the changes and willing to discuss them.

Indeed, both genders report in the first two years post-retirement low marital satisfaction and a higher level of conflict. The Gray Divorce phenomena – divorce among the 50+ years old — might be related to retirement. It is growing at an alarming pace while overall divorce rates are getting lower. A June 21 2019 article in the Wall Street Journal reported that the rates of gray divorce more than doubled; for the 55-64 years old, it climbed from 5 divorces per 1000 to 15 divorces per 1000 and for those 65 and older it rose from 1.8 to 5. Furthermore, the expectation is that there will be 800,000 divorced individuals in 2030 that are 50+. These statistics might be related to the lack of preparation or awareness of the difficulties retirement poses on the marital dynamics.

In all marriages, even stable and long-term ones, couples need to be ready and willing to renegotiate a lot of issues when one or both partners retire. Time together and apart, division of housework, relationship with adult children and grandchildren are only a few examples.

Emotional intimacy with a significant other is the most important relationship for older adults – it reduces loneliness and social isolation and it enhances longevity.

Loneliness has strong negative health influences. The quality of a couple’s relationship is most important for seniors because in the third age strong and satisfying emotional bonds between spouses are closely related to life satisfaction as well as health. A high degree of agreement between spouses in several aspects of daily life, overall life goals, good conversations and the identification of the spouse as confidant are significantly associated with lower levels of loneliness and overall higher levels of life satisfaction. Therefore, it is very important for retirement age individuals to have good marriages or relationships with their significant other.

In retirement, there is increased time together, and it can weaken even the strongest ties as it brings tension and friction to the surface. For example, annoying habits of the partner are more glaring – his “addiction to news” watching news on multiple channels, or her repeating the same story to different friends she talks on the phone. In addition, unresolved issues of the past must be addressed as there is no distraction from them.

Communication is very important. Thus couples ought to be ready to discuss their expectations and preferences, to be prepared for disagreements and be willing to address them so that issues can be resolved. There are no right or wrong preferences here. There is only a need to align and adjust expectations- having differences doesn’t mean it is a bad relationship. Getting aligned will get the relationship to a stronger more satisfying place.

Article in and Next Avenue “How Tech Can Make Retirement Harder For Couples”

Next Avenue and Forbes published an article about the impact of technology on aging couples using material on this subject from Chapter 14 of my book. Here is a link to the article:

How Tech Can Make Retirement Harder For Couples

Helpful resources

I have been contacted by several people who shared  helpful information for retirement age people and I would like to re-share them in this updated blog entry.

Susan Williams from sent me the following links:
– Moving tips for seniors in
– Aging in place and how to prepare for senior years in  – Making the move to assisted living in, use search phrase assisted living to list multiple resources
– Nutrition guide for the aging in

Nicole Clark sent me an article which reaffirms my concerns about alcohol abuse trends in older adults: Alcohol Abuse Trends in Older Adults, published in The Dunes of East Hampton.

Jane Sandwood from England sent me the link to her article about the importance of staying in touch with grandparents
Jane who is a manager for a small elderly care site is concerned that modern life with different generations moving around, has left families being stretched and the elderly being isolated and the isolation can cause depression. Her article covers why we should get in touch with grandparents and bring families together.

Audrey Baker recommended  A Family’s Guide to Caring for Aging Parents.

I hope you will find these resources helpful.

How to retire without driving your spouse crazy

The Wall Street Journal in their Encore section on November 28 2016 had an article about the above mentioned subject and my book was quoted there. Here is the link to the article
enjoy reading

How men and women retire

An interesting article in The Boston Globe by Ami Albernaz.

Radio interview on Health, Wealth & Wisdom – 1470 AM WMGG (Tampa Bay, FL)

I’m glad to let you know that I had a radio interview on 5/30/13 at 4; 20pm EST with the above mentioned station about retirement issues. Topics that were discussed were how to find a new passion in retirement which I see as what I want to pass on,   thus breaking to word to    pass-I-on.  I stressed the importance of “engage as you age”. In addition   how do spouses create a new balance in their relationship as their dynamics and interactions change in retirement. The increased time together often causes increased conflicts and lower marital satisfaction and couples can take steps to avoid becoming part of the Gray Divorce trend.

What Happens to our Dreams of Retirement

Excerpt from: A Couple’s Guide to Happy Retirement


When couples begin to talk about their dreams for retirement, they may be shocked to discover that each person harbors a very different dream; they may learn that their goals are so different as to be in conflict.

These frank discussions may suggest that you don’t know the person you married as well as you thought, and your spouse can even become an obstacle rather than an ally in achieving your retirement goals. People also frequently find out that their shared goals don’t have the same priority to them as individuals. These belated realizations can lead to a state of marital disappointment.

International aspects of retirement

I just came back for 2 weeks vacation in India. I met a few couples where both spouses were retired and since they heard about my book we started having conversations about what happened in their relationship as a result of retirement.   I was amazed to find out that retirees in urban areas in India face the same issues as American retirees. Women often resent having their husbands under foot. Husbands expect to be taken care of and feel upset when their expectations are not being met. Adult married children would like to see their parents giving more  babysitting – help than what the parents are willing.  In spite of religious and cultural differences between these 2 countries, very often marital dynamics are more similar than different and people face and struggle with the same problems.

Happily ever after, even in retirement?

Happily ever after… Really?

Forever is a very long time, especially in marriage.  People change, life circumstances change, and it can become difficult to remember the commitment to a marriage.

Marital bliss in retirement is the goal of A Couple’s Guide to Happy Retirement, and to achieve it, you and your partner need to look at all your options rather than focus on the traditional measures of retirement happiness . . .

My goal is to help retirees find a way to live together happily ever after, recognizing that how people interpret that phrase may have changed a bit. Most people are searching for the right mix of money with meaning, of profits with purpose, of using their many experiences in ways that aren’t just contained in photo albums but are significant and memorable. In other words, they seek an intersection of continued income, with purpose and impact, something they will be remembered for.

—From A Couple’s Guide to Happy Retirement by Sara Yogev, published October 2012 by Familius