Maryanne Vandervelde Retirement for Two

ISBN 13: 9780553382754

Retirement for Two

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9780553382754: Retirement for Two
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In Retirement for Two, psychologist Maryanne Vandervelde, author of the breakthrough book The Changing Life of the Corporate Wife, and human resources consultant, picks up where the standard retirement guides leave off. Vandervelde helps spouses-- nearing or already in retirement--confront, with honesty, respect, and humour, the conflicts and adjustments unique at this stage of life.

Vandervelde doesn't give tax or estate planning, or 401K advice; that she leaves to the money men and women (she does deal with the emotional fallout of money and spending, like not having enough). She explores the challenges for couples, who upon retirement find they have many more choices than ever before, and therefore ample room for disagreement and disappointment. Even couples who think they've experienced it all are often suprised by retirements' special challenges.

Retirement for Two offers commonsense advice, tackling such issues as:
*Where will you live? Will you downsize? Move south or west? Split time between city and country? Live apart/together for some time each year?
*What will you do with your time?
*What will your relationships with kids and grandkids be like?
*What kind of social life do you want?
*What do you each desire for the rest of your lives? What happens when you want different things? Have different goals?
*Sex and intimacy.
*getting strong, staying healthy, dealing with a spouse's illness.

Whether you are already grappling with post-work issues, or are approaching retirement age and thinking about how it is all going to work out, here is an invaluable tool you can use to help your relationship--and yourself--survive and thrive through some of the best years of your life.
From the Hardcover edition.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Maryanne Vandervelde, Ph.D., is a psychologist, human resources expert, and founder of the Seattle-based Institute for Couples in Retirement. She defined a national trend in her popular book The Changing Life of the Corporate Wife (140,000 copies sold), has contributed to the New York Times, Fortune Magazine, Forbes Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and has appeared on the Today Show, Oprah, CNN, and NPR. She lives with her husband of 40 years, H. Ray Looney, in Mercer Island, Washington. They have an adult son.
From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:


The Issues
My Story

When I was thirty-six, I moved across the country because my husband was offered a great new job. I eventually landed on my feet, but I couldn't find any books about what was happening to me-my career, my friendships, my relationship with my child, my house, my life-while I was helping my husband up the corporate ladder. So I did a survey of the Fortune 500 CEOs and their wives, and I wrote The Changing Life of the Corporate Wife. My research showed, for example, that the quality valued most in a corporate wife was her sense of humor. Certainly, humor is a wonderful quality in any human being, but I doubt that this would be first on the list for a CEO. I found that both men and women were hungry for better ways to manage their lives-at a time when our culture was just starting to examine the rigid, traditional expectations that businesses placed on executives and their partners. The questions continue to this day for all kinds of leaders and their partners, and I believe that my book played a small part in the dialogue. That book sold well, and many couples told me how much they were helped by it.

Now I'm sixty-two, and my husband has been retired for five years. We have faced some challenges that seem to be typical of people our age, and we frequently find ourselves in discussions with like-minded friends. At this point, we have sorted through most of our angst about retirement, but our forty-year marriage is still a work in progress.
This Book at This Time
I decided several years ago to gather information about this stage of life because the subject has interested me for a long time-in my clinical practice with couples and families as well as in my observations of friends and family members. This book is, therefore, based on:
* Stories I've jotted down over many years from family and friends as well as from therapy clients

* Issues that came up over the last twenty years in corporate human resources training sessions about people facing retirement

* Interviews conducted, by phone or in person, over the last five years with a network of acquaintances around the world

* Perusal of the professional and popular literature
This is not a book about money or finances. There are hundreds of those to be found in bookstores and libraries. This aspect of retirement should never be minimized because a secure retirement clearly is built on a sufficient financial base-however that is defined by both partners. But the people I've queried say that most of their financial planning took place years back. Decisions they made a long time ago have determined their financial status now. They've come to terms with what they have and don't have in monetary resources.

Money, per se, is rarely what current or about-to-be retirees want to talk about-the emotional implications of money, yes; the decisions that couples must make around money, yes; apportioning assets in a second marriage, yes; but whether one has enough money or how to get more, almost never. Rather, it's the emotional turmoil and the relationship stuff that hits them unexpectedly when they anticipate retirement or when they actually retire.

What do couples in their fifties, sixties, and seventies want to talk about? Relationship issues-psychological and emotional struggles that are causing conflict. Single retirees often mention loneliness, but coupled retirees say things like "I never imagined it would be so hard to be together 24/7" or "I am with this person for better or worse, but not for lunch!"

Freud said that work and love are the two major ingredients of life, and it seems logical that the loss of one will have major effects on the other. Retirees whose identity was found largely through work have a lot of soul-searching to do as they look for identity elsewhere. And people whose close relationships have been neglected will have to do a lot of work in order to establish a basis that will be satisfying for the rest of their lives. This has always been true, but there are three major reasons why we need to pay more attention to retirement now than ever.

One is that the first baby boomers turned fifty-five in 2002 and technically became senior citizens. Fifty-nine million people born before 1946 are already retired or soon will be retiring, but they are being joined over the next few years by seventy-seven million boomers-those who were born between 1946 and 1964. Because the boomers are a huge population cohort, they are already starting to redefine retirement, and this stage is attracting as much focus as all of their other stages have. As they have always done, boomers will look for-indeed, they will expect-answers.

Two, age discrimination is a fact of life, and many people are finding themselves out of work earlier than they had planned. Furthermore, we seem to be living longer and longer-seventy-seven is now the life expectancy for men, eighty-four for women. So, many of us will find ourselves coupled-without our usual routines-for many, many years. We'd better find mechanisms and systems to make it a happy time.

Three, retirement is more complicated now than ever because of the many choices we have. Only a few years ago, gender and age roles were strictly defined. Now the options are wide open. With fewer and fewer prescriptions, we all need to figure it out for ourselves. And better late than never! It becomes very clear to most of us at retirement that life is not a dress rehearsal.
Retiree Differences and Similarities
Not all retiree couples are alike. The following are just a few of the differences:
* Some are age sixty-five or older when they hang it up; others take early retirement in their fifties or even forties.

* Some choose retirement when they are ready; others are forced into it by organizational downsizing, ill health, or other factors.

* Some partners come to retirement simultaneously; others want to retire at different times, in different ways.

* Some are in long-term marriages; others are in long-term but unmarried homosexual or heterosexual relationships; still others are in relatively new unions-married or unmarried, heterosexual or same-gender.

* Some have had high salaries, retiring with lots of money and choices; others have just enough to live comfortably; still others are financially strapped.

* Some couples have been on two-career, fast-track treadmills; others have both held jobs more than careers; many have had more traditional roles, with one person home-based.

* Some have looked forward to retirement; others have dreaded it.

But every couple will have to face certain types of decisions, such as:
* Where they will live

* How they'll spend their time

* How they'll spend and/or save their money

* What kind and quality of sex life they'll have

* What their relationships will be like with children, grandchildren, other relatives, and friends

* Whether they'll have pets and how they will deal with them

* The emotional closeness or distance of their relationship

* What they will do when they want different things

* How they will both deal with aging and the future

* How they will cope with medical issues

* How they will make legal decisions
Most important, if retirement is to be a happy time, there will have to be some resolution of conflicts. Both partners may have to learn some new attitudes and behaviors because they will be facing some new realities:
* They need to fight fairly-perhaps becoming more equal than they have ever been in the past.

* If they can't communicate on a somewhat adult level, there's big trouble ahead. The squabbling adolescent model of communication will not work very well in retirement.

* Some couples will need counseling, and they will have to choose the counselor carefully.

* If divorce is the best solution, it should be done well.

* When one partner dies, the remaining one needs excellent coping skills.

* After divorce or death, new relationships can be extremely challenging.

* Getting clear about hopes and dreams can help. Giving up some of them can bring peace. Finding new hopes and dreams can be a truly exciting adventure.

* Growing whole, individually and together, is the most important task of this stage of life, and it is not easy.
The Bottom Line
These are serious issues, but we also learn at this stage of life that there is no better time to laugh! If we didn't have much sense of humor before, now is a great time to develop one. If we are fortunate enough to have wonderful options, we need to finally figure out who we are and what we want out of life in order to make our choices wise ones. On the other hand, if life has presented us with lemons, now is the time to make lemonade.

For most of us, love and meaningful relationships are more important as we age than ever before, but getting and keeping the love we want is always a challenge. This book lays out the issues that are unique to couples as they retire and proposes principles by which most partners should live.

The vignettes of real people suggest solutions that may be emulated-or, in some cases, avoided. The questions at the end of all the following chapters offer ways to clarify thoughts, personalize the process, and formulate next steps. And the New Yorker cartoons give different perspectives, reminding us not to take ourselves too seriously.
Retirement Is Wonderful
One of the reasons that so many couples have problems in retirement is that they don't anticipate the changes accurately. It is optimistic and rather charming that so many people think retirement will be wonderful. For example, Prudential Securities did a survey of 826 married Americans between the ages of forty and sixty-five, reported in an article called &quo...

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