Wealth

10 Strategies to Tackle Retirement Envy and Strengthen Your Relationship

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There was one story about how a man’s wife became jealous since he was about to retire and she’s still working. He wants to be sympathetic to her but also doesn’t want to feel guilty for pulling the trigger before her. Others offered their thoughts and opinions on the matter.

1. Right Away

Couples cooking dinner
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One person said his spouse got retirement jealousy right away, and it lasted for a while. However, he immediately started helping around the house and doing the dishes every day. He also started going grocery shopping and doing grandkid drop-offs and pickups, walking the dogs, and other tasks around the place. One day, she told him all he did was lay around all day. So, he started working out at the gym daily, bringing him out of his funk.

2. Together Forever

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One man said his wife quit her job the day he retired. They were both 58, and she said there was no way he would retire without her.

3. Have Enough Money

Old couples thinking about debt
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Another person advised against just quitting your job because your spouse retired before you unless the couple can really afford it. The person talked about a couple who, after the man retired, his wife retired too. The man retired with a full company pension and benefits, but she had a minimum-wage clerical job with no retirement savings. Within two years, they had to sell their home and use the equity to buy a cheaper house. Meanwhile, he had to get a full-time job as a janitor to make ends meet. They went from two full-time salaries down to 66% of one.

4. No Jealousy

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One user said her husband retired before her, but then again, he is ten years older. She never felt jealous at all. He was helpful, prepared dinner, and did some house cleaning. She said she’s been retired for seven years now, and all is well.

5. Working From Home

Old woman working
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During COVID-19, one woman’s husband, who was nine years older, got cancer. It would have been devastating had he been the only one not working, but since the wife got the chance to work from home due to the pandemic, she stayed home and cared for him.

6. Slacking About

Lethargic old man lying in sofa
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For one person, his wife isn’t really jealous, but she just doesn’t like him staying at home doing nothing. Each day, when she comes home, she asks him what he has done for the day. If he hasn’t accomplished a sufficient amount of tasks, she lets him know that he isn’t supposed to be lying about. She says things like, “The attic needs to be organized.”

7. House Husband

Old couples cooking
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One person said her husband, who is older, retired in January, and she has two more years. He’s a house husband, and she works from home, so they have lunch together. He does the laundry, groceries, and half the cooking. “It’s a pretty good gig,” she says.

8. Before Me

Retired old man reading book
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“I’m totally jealous my husband can retire before me,” one person said. “I still support him and don’t make snide remarks or anything, but I definitely wish it was my turn.” Another user concurs, saying that her hubby is 5 years older than her, and she’ll be green with envy when he retires. But she says she’s also a rational adult who realizes that he has worked 5 years longer than she has and should be retiring first.

9. Managerial Role

Old woman discussing with client
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One man said he was supposed to have retired after his wife, but she landed a “retirement” job that she assumed would be part-time and lighter, just to keep busy. It turned out to be a serious managerial role, and she essentially became a public figure. So now he enjoys being advised on policy and IT budget, and he’s happy to support her on the home front.

10. Freedom

Old woman hiking
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One woman talked about how her husband retired just a few years ago and she still works even though she switched to part-time years ago. They’re the same age, and financially, she could retire. But she loves her job. “I’m planning to retire soon,” she said. “Mostly because I want more freedom to do stuff with my husband. Things like camping, hiking, etc. I was a stay-at-home mom and worked part-time for years while he had a stressful job. No Jealousy here at all.”

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