Your Relationships in Retirement – Part III

This is my final post about your relationships in retirement series. In part I we talked about our spouse, while in part II we talked about the kids. Now we are going to explore your friendships.

I find it almost strange that it doesn’t occur to people that their relationships are likely going to change significantly in retirement. After all think about how much of your working life centers on your job. If you take that away you are going to lose a significant amount of your common ground with some of your friends.

For example, if you retire a few years before everyone else there is bound to be some feelings of jealousy from others who are still working. Additionally, most men have a lot of their identity tied up with their jobs. We don’t say, “I work at X” we say, “I’m a X” so when that goes away the often feel a drift as they try to sort out their new identity. Then to add insult to injury most men discover you can’t golf every day and call that a retirement. It doesn’t provide enough variety to keep us engaged in our lives.

Women tend to adjust easier to retirement, because they don’t equate their job with their identity as closely as men do. So they tend to have a wider circle of friends with a range of common interests that don’t necessarily have anything to do with work.

Then there is an additional problem for both sexes. Adjusting to having 2000 extra hours a year to fill up. We can’t reasonably expect our friends to fill most of that time. We have to expand our interests and build new relationships with other people. By creating a wider net of relationships we enjoy many people’s company without becoming a burden to anyone.

So irony of your working career is your people skills are going to be more important in your retirement than they were in your working life. By meeting new people and expanding your interests you can ensure you will have a happy and joyful retirement.

3 thoughts on “Your Relationships in Retirement – Part III”

  1. Hmmm…not sure I agree with the difference in job identity between the sexes. I don’t think my husband identifies himself as an engineer anymore than I do. And I think that it would be a ‘discovery’ to both of us that we couldn’t just golf everyday. 🙂

  2. Good point. Relationship do have an effect on any retirement plan. But few of us focus on the most strenuous part of those relationships: our health. We make numerous plans, put away as much money as we can for a future that is still uncertain and yet, we fail to control some of the easiest factors. Maintaining good health, especially early on and rectifying the mistakes of our youth, will eliminate one of the greatest pressures on any retirement plan. Taking the most conservative risk when focusing on your health is the one time just such an investment will pay off.

    Good luck on your goal of 45!

  3. Telly,

    That is that danger of using broad generalizations, they don’t apply to everyone.


    There is something to be said for watching your health in retirement. Putting anyone you know through lots of stress due to your illness is never good for a relationship.


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