When I was getting ready to return to school for my MBA, a friend gave me great advice, she said that to make a successful partnership, in times when one person is running, the other must run in place. This is especially true when in addition to managing a marriage, you are managing a household. My friend is a military wife, and she is comfortable with the role of running in place when her husband gets deployed. When he returns stateside, he runs in place while she pours her soul into her business. It is a beautiful balance, and they are fortunate that they are both able to contribute to both roles. They are young, and healthy- two beautiful gifts.
As we age, it is not easy to run or run in place. I mean after all the running, shouldn’t both partners just get to rest? For many, the rest is called retirement. Ah, retirement… the carrot that dangles in front of people while they run. Couples dream about it, talk about it and plan both financially and mentally for the rest.
While we have many conversations, plans, and dreams about retirement, often couples fail to plan for one thing that is guaranteed to happen – aging at different rates. Regardless of how long you’re married, or how much you’re together, unfortunately, one person is going to pass before the other. A very likely scenario is one will get sick before the other. By the age of 75, one in nine will get Alzheimer’s dementia, and won’t be able to remember their retirement dreams (Alzheimer’s Association, 2019 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures).
These scenarios are not easy to talk about, and therefore often are not. This month, we want to start the conversation about aging at different rates than your partner.
In next week’s blog, we will share some tips to get the conversation started about aging at different rates and better prepare yourself. It’s always good to have a plan, especially if you are a caregiver for a couple, what may work for mom in retirement doesn’t always work for dad, especially when considering care. It’s okay, we are here to help. We are ready to start the conversation!