BOSTON (CBS) – The reality is you need to plan for the soft side of retirement as well as the financial side. I have heard from many listeners who have flunked retirement.

Many people fantasize about leaving their jobs and having the good life, a better life in retirement than what they have now! This is the biggest myth of all.

Like so many of our other fantasies we want this time in our life to be perfect. We will have retirement 24/7. That is like living a month of Saturdays. So what are you going to do with all of your Saturdays?

What about your spouse? If you’re heading into the sunset coupled what does your spouse want to do in retirement? According to Sara Yogen, author of “For Better or For Worse but Not for Lunch”, retirement 24/7 with your spouse may actually be a marriage wrecker.

Long before retiring, 5 to 10 years out, start talking about what you really would like to do. It’s a process and should be fluid and you should be flexible as well. Communication is key to surviving retirement.

How do you want to spend your time and where do you want to spend your time? Get a calendar and fill in the days with what you want to do. Playing golf three times a week may not be financially possible. Babysitting for the grand babies is not what you signed up to do either.

Build a social network outside of work. Find a new reason to get up every morning. When you worked you had a reason to get up. Now what do you want to do with the rest of your life? Volunteer? School? Travel? Play? Garden?

If you are coupled look to do things independent of each other, pursue different interests. Dinner conversations will be oh so much better. I know a times its hard if you have just one car. But set up a schedule and be sure you honor each other’s need of independence and the car keys.

One more thing in the happily ever after segment of your life; what happens if something should happen to one of you? An illness? Death? Can you survive financially? Your income as a single will drop. Possibly the loss of a pension or a reduction and the loss of one social Security check as well.

When you are in your talking stage discuss what happens when one of you die. It will happen, we just don’t know when. Most attorneys when they do estate planning will have the wife surviving as women outlive men. But both scenarios should be played out.


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