My husband’s a mathematician – isn’t that scary! Sometimes people ask me what we talk about. Sometimes I’ll tell them that he whispers seductive equations in my ear – like “just think about the square root of eight hundred and twelve…” But most often he tells me and most people that “mathematics is everywhere.”
I certainly found it in a recent article on retirement in Forbes Magazine. The author, Joseph Coughlin, a well-known researcher, teacher, and head of the MIT Age Lab, talked about “The New Math of Retirement Togetherness.”
It went something like this: There are 164 hours in a week. During that time, approximately 8 hours a day are spent sleeping, leaving 112 waking hours in a week for each of us. [No, this is not an SAT Math question.]
Now, if a typical workday is, say, 9 hours, that makes it minus 45 hours a week away from your partner. This brings it to 67 hours of together time. Then he continues his calculation by allowing an hour a day for travel (subtracting 5 for the workdays) and brought the discussion to 62 hours of ‘togetherness’ in a week.
6 Hours a Day vs 16 Hours a Day
At this point Coughlin went on to narrow things down stating that life routines of home/child/personal responsibilities, etc., result in the fact that the reality is that a typical couple may often spend only six (6) hours a day together. Quite a surprise when we actually do the math, right?
But that’s not quite the end of the math. Professor Coughlin then went on to compare this number to the number of hours couples spend together in RETIREMENT. This means that the original 45 hours a week of work that were subtracted are now added back. Oh, and so are the 5 allowed for travel. So, let’s see, that’s now 45 + 5 = 50 divided by 5 = an extra 10 waking hours a day for a retired couple to spend together!
Is that paradise? What will you do with that newly awarded together time? Suppose you already have a schedule and your partner questions your comings and goings, how will you react?
These are situations that you and your significant other must consider as retirement comes closer. Sure, visions of the perfect dream vacations and spontaneous trips to see the grandkids come to mind. Golf, beach, gardening and bike rides bring smiles. But how often will you do those things?
Does Your List Match That of Your Partner's?
What if your list of ‘things to do’ doesn’t match that of your partner’s? In fact, do you really want everything on your list to match that of your partner?
Just think about how smart and happy you will feel in retirement when you and your partner have already worked on these challenges! Perhaps you explored the opportunities for starting a new business or offering consulting in an area you know well. You’ll feel glad you made new friends in that Saturday morning photography class you signed up for two years ago and have been enjoying ever since.
And your partner will be especially happy to see you thrive. Everyone has different needs and activities that give them purpose and make them feel fulfilled. There will be things that you do together, but there must also be those separate activities that bring you joy. A few years before you retire is a great time to take a good look at who you are and what you really want.
I ran into a neighbor and his wife recently, when I was out walking the dog. He is an executive who is looking forward to leaving the deadlines and fundraising behind. I asked him how he plans to spend his time, and his wife immediately answered, “He’s going to paint the family room, clean out the garden, and join the choir so we can sing together on Sundays!” I looked at him and he rolled his eyes and said, “Do I have a choice?” The answer is “yes, you do have a choice.” Discuss it now so you both can enjoy the added time together later.
The Bureau of Statistics notes that a male at 65 has, on the average, another 20 years to live and enjoy life. A female has around 22 years. Here’s one more math note: that is another 1/3 of your life
How are you going to spend yours? Will you be looking at your partner every morning asking, “What are we going to do today?” Or are you going to be full of your own well-thought-out ideas and plans that sometimes are shared and sometimes accomplished on your own?
Help yourself enjoy your retirement by planning before you get there. Help your relationship with your partner by talking about and understanding each person’s wants and needs. Then,
ON YOUR MARK, GET SET… GO!
Good Luck! Loretta
P.S. Last night, before he turned out the light, my husband whispered:
‘A’ squared plus ‘B’ squared = ‘C’ squared!
#retirement #couples #relationships #planning
You’re surrounded by it. All the stores are full of Holiday Cheer, and Sirius Radio has had a “Holiday Songs” station since just after Halloween. Now, they are almost here – THE HOLIDAYS.
#holidays #life strategies #positivity
Start Now and Be "Positively Fabulous!"
While to some this may mean hugs and giggles, to others it can shout “Stress Alert! Stress Alert!”Whatever the message coming your way, a little MENTAL PREPARATION will help you be ready to enjoy and greet your family and friends with enthusiasm.
Here are three simple and helpful hints to make the season “Positively Fabulous!,” one of happy memories and family togetherness.
1. Remember that you are in Charge of Your Thoughts.
Yep, that’s YOU – with a choice. Listen to yourself and analyze your thoughts. If you’ve just come back from a trip, what is the first thing you talk about – the bad weather or the wonderful food? The annoying airports or the beautiful scenery? Just the order in which you mention things tells you something about yourself.
Try to rethink what you talk about. Spend more time on the good times you had; talk about something that made you laugh. In fact, try not mentioning the ‘annoying’ things that happened. I bet you’ll forget about them!
2. Surround Yourself with Positive People.
Now, if you find yourself stuck out on the porch with Aunt Sally, who is telling you how her arthritis stops her from having fun, try getting her to tell you something positive. Ask her about her dog. Explore what books she likes to read. Get her to talk about wonderful Thanksgivings she remembers over the years. If Aunt Sally is too negative, go get her a mimosa, drop it off, and excuse yourself to the bathroom!
3. Be Nice to Yourself.
Do the things you like to do. Enjoy a massage? Want time to read? Love playing with the kids? Make time to do it. Make a holiday schedule that includes things that YOU like to do. When you are happy and relaxed, it will make you much more fun to be around and tolerant of others.
I’ve stopped at three so you can now go and practice. Make time to do it, and write and tell me how it all went!
Remember: "'Tis the season to be jolly!"
I got a call from THE ELF ON THE SHELF yesterday. The conversation went something like this:
Elf: Hi. Listen, I’m kind of in a hurry, so I’m hoping you can help me get something out to remind people of what’s important.
Me: Ok, what’s on your mind?
Elf: Well, let’s just say that lately everywhere I look there seems to be a lot more naughty than nice. People are rude; smiles are few and far between, and taking the time to help one another seems to be out of style! I’m just exhausted!
Me: What happened?
Elf: Well, I was up high on a shelf at the grocery store and constantly I saw people racing to get in front of others in the checkout line. Then I hung out at the new office building downtown (where there’s a shelf at the welcome desk with a great view), and I watched the people hurrying and purposely closing the elevator doors before anyone else could get in! And at night I was peeking around the merlot wines at your favorite restaurant, and I was really surprised to hear constant laughter as people made fun of other people as they walked by. I mean, seriously? What’s happened to NICE?
Just do this for me. And by the way … rather than your offering ‘9 steps’ or ‘4 tips’ or even ‘2 sure-fire ways’ to reduce stress this holiday season. Tell people to follow this advice and watch the changes.
I couldn’t help smiling. This guy made a lot of sense. And so I promised Elf that I would send out a memo. So, here goes:
MEMO TO EVERYONE!
From: Everyone Else
Date: Today and Every day
Subject: BE NICE
It has come to my attention that there has been a slacking off on BEING NICE. Somehow common courtesy has been pushed aside to make room for iPhones, multitasking, and always being in a hurry. This has caused a lot of hurt feelings and negative attitudes.
As a result, I am encouraging all people to slow down and take some time to be considerate and kind to each other. YOU be the one who smiles more often and treats people the way that you want to be treated.
Studies have shown that when people include random acts of kindness in their day, it gives the brain a serotonin boost and results in a feeling of well being and satisfaction. The doer feels great, and the recipient is overcome with a ‘pay-it-forward’ attitude. The entire atmosphere changes.
Put this suggestion into effect immediately and make it a prominent part of your daily routine. It will result in stronger friendships, more enjoyable activities and workplaces and may even increase your gifts at Holiday Time.
This is just a hint from someone in the know.
Thanks for your cooperation,
The Elf on the Shelf
Have a great Holiday Season regardless of how you celebrate. Just be sure that whatever you are doing and whomever you are with, remember to BE NICE.
Do it for yourself – and for the Elf.
P.S. If you want to share some ‘nice’ that either you’ve done or seen, send me a note. I’ll make sure it gets to the Elf.
Boo! It’s almost Halloween. Since mid September you’ve seen all the preparations, decorations, and merchandise. There are lights for your lawn, bags of trick-or-treat candies for your give-away bowl, and – of course - the Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice latte!
Now comes the big question. You are probably going to a Halloween party, so...
“Who are you going to be?”
I’ll bet you probably started planning for it far in advance. After all, you’ll need to think it through, get a costume, make sure it’s comfortable, and check that it looks good. Will you be someone scary? Someone cool? Someone funny? A gorilla? A princess? A Zombie? Such choices! And what fun to play and search, and be creative.
Which reminds me of …, RETIREMENT! So...
“Who are you going to be?”
Soon your old identity of “doctor,” “lawyer,” “businessman,” “teacher,” will be no longer applicable, so who are you going to be without that business card?
It’s a good idea to start planning now. Just like for Halloween, you’ll need to make some plans, decide how you want to spend your time, and then figure out how you will make it all happen. You can try on different costumes and take different paths towards the treats you so desire.
The special beauty of retirement is that you can always take off the costume if it becomes uncomfortable. Then you can change into something else!
Take Bob, for example. He knew when he retired, he was going to spend his time riding and grooming horses. He had a place to start.
He soon found that doing this all day every day was not really what he had in mind. So, he then cut back to going to the stables twice a week. And since he always liked writing, now he spends a lot of time writing mysteries set in the horseback riding world.
Emily’s love for taking photographs had to take a back seat to work and family responsibilities. Two years before she retired, she made some plans and signed up for a weekend course in photography to sharpen her skills. She loves going out in the early morning to walk along the lake, and her nature photographs are beautiful.
Recently, someone asked her to take photos of their son’s wedding and various other special events. That then turned into teaching photography as a continuing education course to adults at the local high school.
It all started with having a plan. That is the secret to success with most things, and it is really important in retirement. Sure, you might say you have your finances in order, but after all, retirement is about so much more than the money.
Eliminate the tricks; make way for the treats! Happy Halloween this week! And start planning now for your Happy Retirement!
Loretta Saff is a Certified Professional Retirement Coach and can be reached at www.coachingwithloretta.com.
Yikes! I just read a statistic that 28% of adults age 50 and older are ‘physically inactive.’ Hmmm… let’s just call that ‘do not exercise.’
One of the most important ‘musts’ for people–retired or not–is exercise. That is, of course, assuming you want better heart health, mental sharpness and reduced risk for chronic diseases.
If you think you should get a pass because of various excuses, forget it. I know them all, including:
"I'm too busy/tired." We all know you can find time if something is a priority. So think of it this way - call it 'doing something for my heart' or 'for my mental sharpness'. I assume those are priorities. And by the way, remember that exercise gives you more energy and gets you ready to meet busy schedules.
"I hate to exercise." There are lots of things that come under the heading of exercise. Dancing?Gardening? Hide and go seek with your grandkids? Believe it or not, even walking with purpose around the park or the mall will give you credit-if done on a regular basis. Convinced yet?
"I'm too old." My aerobics instructor just told the class that one of her students in another class will be 90 next week! There is not an age restriction on exercising. Obviously, you can choose what kind of exercise works for you. Just choose one. But forget the 'too old' whine. The only person you are fooling is yourself.
For those who have never really had an exercise routine – other than saying, “I’m going to start exercising, next week”-here are 3 simple hints to move you forward:
1–Ask yourself WHY you never seem to get to ‘next week.’ Try to be honest about what is stopping you from starting. Write it down.
2–Make an exercise plan keeping in mind your answers from #1.
Include your WHERE:
3–On your Mark...,Get Set...,GO! Buy some shoes (not like Barbie's!) and a comfortable outfit. Don't talk about your size, shape or weight. Those things don't matter. Repeat after me: “Heart health, mental sharpness, reduced risk for chronic diseases.
Let’s talk travel. I hear it from seniors all the time.
“I want more time to travel.”
“When I retire, I intend to travel.”
“Finally I will be able to explore and travel.
As I write this blog, I am sitting in a hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina. Charlotte was not my destination; it was a connecting city for my trip overseas. So, why am I here?
Because: I left home and everything was go. The airport was not very crowded, security did not flag me for an extra look, and the flight out was on time. There were storms in the area but they did not seem to be too threatening.
Then: Twenty minutes out of Charlotte, the pilot announced that there was a ‘popup’ storm that included lightening, and the tower asked us to circle for a bit. The storm intensified, and soon our fuel was running low. We had to be diverted to a nearby airport to wait out the storm.
At first, we all thought it was a quick mover. You know summer storms, they come and they go. However, it was more than three hours later that we were finally able to make the 20 minute flight to Charlotte.
Upon arrival we were greeted with the chaos of missed and cancelled flights, and certainly the maybe of “Oh, if I run to the gate, I still may be able to get on and get out.” Long story short, the doors to my flight were closed, and along with several other people I was turned away and told to make other plan.
That is why I am sitting in a hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina. My message? Travel is fun; travel is interesting; travel is educational, and travel can be hard.
How to best deal with travel at any stage – especially in the retirement years? Here are a few hints:
Those are just a few hints. That said, even with my delays and rescheduling, here is why I am grateful.
So, as summer and retirement and vacation time comes your way, you'll have smoother sailing when you come mentally and physically prepared to go with the flow and be a travel champion.
Loretta Saff, M.A., CPC, CPRC