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
Loretta Saff, M.A., CPC, CPRC