16 March 2017

From full-time worker to full-time partner

From full-time worker to full-time partner

For those of us fortunate to still be in a loving relationship when we retire, what we most look forward to is being together. For the first time since kids and busy careers took hold, it’s finally just you and your partner, ad infinitum.

But going from being at work all day to being together all day can be a big transition. For many retirees, the reality of retiring in love can sometimes fall flat. High expectations are the enemy. Just like your working lives together, there are going to be highs and lows.


We talked to 6 happily-retired Kiwi couples of varying ages and stages. They shared their advice on staying in love forever.

Firstly and most obviously, you want to retire with as little financial stress as possible. This means little or no debt and significant savings to supplement your Superannuation.

Once you’re in a good place financially, don’t be tempted to stay in your job beyond your expiry date. The best time to leave work is when you’re going to be missed. Retire feeling good about yourself knowing you’ve done a great job.

Have a destination in mind. Whether it’s the garden, the golf course, or looking after grandchildren, another ‘occupation’ is going to give you some structure to your days and create a sense of self-worth which will feed positively into your relationship.

Avoid that  ‘Aston Martin moment’ where you buy the car you’ve always wanted and then book that first-class round the world trip. If you can’t afford it, it’s going to be extremely difficult to ever recoup that money and your marriage may be sorely tested.

Talk to each other and figure out a new rhythm for retirement, one that both of you can tap your feet to. You’ve got a financial plan but what about an emotional one? It’s quite possible that your busy working lives have weakened your connection and you now have different priorities.

Accept that you might not want the same things but don’t accommodate each other just to keep the peace. Or take it too personally. Just because she doesn’t want to have breakfast with you every day without fail, doesn’t mean all love is lost.

Take care to make time for yourself and respect each other’s schedules. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is a lot of time to be together. For most people, it’s too much. So find things you can do on your own as well as together.

Make sure you’ve both got a good handle on the finances. Review and update your will and choose a shared confidante or trustee who can help you when your partner is no longer there. 

Share the household duties! If you haven’t already, join the 21st century and chuck those old gender roles to the curb. Your partner will love you dearly for it.

Allow yourself some time to ease into retirement and learn to embrace being gainfully unemployed! Many men used to being defined by their careers may have some anxiety about doing ‘nothing’ or a feeling of lost value now they’re no longer earning. 

Women more accustomed to maintaining multiple roles may retire more easily but worry about losing their personal time and space to a husband who is now always there. Beware of ‘retired husband syndrome’, a condition where retired husbands start treating their wives as if they are still the ‘boss’.

If you’re both keen to travel, don’t take a holiday, have an adventure. Take a few weeks, even months. This can be a great way to ‘reset’ your marriage for retirement. Just make sure there’s a budget attached.

Feel free to keep an eye on the game. Although retirement traditionally means no more ‘work’ it needn’t mean no more income. Look for sound investments that provide a passive income.

If it’s the work you miss, get stuck into a project or get involved in your community. There are endless ways in which you can continue to contribute.

Find a hobby you can do together or two that will give you some much-needed time apart.

Take a morning walk together. It’s good for mind and body and can be a good opportunity to discuss your plans for the day.

And speaking of plans, don’t go overboard. There’s no need to tick off the bucket list all at once.

Take your time and think a lot, and make space for spontaneity.

Get in contact today

Give us a call on 0800 254 338 and ask us a question.