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  • Writer's pictureSusan J. Brown

Making Sense Of Retirement

Updated: Aug 5, 2021

Have you ever wondered if you and your spouse will be on the same page when it comes time to retirement? Or are you currently retired and feeling not satisfied with your lifestyle?

Over my 25 years in the business I have seen many different situations between spouses when it comes to planning retirement. If you are one of the lucky ones you may be on exactly the same page but others unfortunately worry about the disparity they may face in the future or are facing today.

Here are some of the concerns I have seen among spouses preparing to retire. Do you see yourself in any of these scenarios?

· My husband has been so busy working in our family business, I worry that he won’t be able to relax during our retirement.

· I love being outside and active but my wife prefers to be inside reading or crafting. Will she mind if I stay active and am out of the house more than she is?

· I want to live in a place where there are many things to do but my wife wants to live in the country.

· My husband has been so busy working in the family business and doesn’t have any hobbies. I have so many things I want to do and worry that he wont have anything to keep him busy.

· I want to travel but my spouse says he is tired of travelling and wants to stay at home.

· I want to spend our money that we have worked hard for and enjoy life. My husband wants to just lead a simple lifestyle and save money for our children and grandchildren.

I have observed that there are potentially four factors that contribute to an overall sense of satisfaction during retirement. I have put it together in this model called the TIPS Model™ For Successful Retirement.

TIPS Model For Successful Retirement

Travel. The travel quadrant pretty much speaks for itself and basically means leaving your existing city or town for an extended period of time. Travel could include small trips within Canada, camping or other larger adventures that may be on your bucket list. The main idea here is to get out of your comfort zone and broaden your perspective.

Intellectual. The intellectual quadrant refers to things that you would do to continue learning or to pursue personal interests. This could include participating in hobbies or sports or even doing puzzles or reading! The key here is to keep your mind active and continue to grow both mentally and physically. More and more research is being done in this area which shows how good this is for you. See the reference below from the Alzheimers Association International Conference.

Purpose. The purpose quadrant is one that is not often talked about but arguably one that we start to think more about as we age. This is all about giving back or contributing to society and is often in line with our value system. Activities in this quadrant can include volunteering, writing a book or even just spending time with grandchildren and passing on a legacy.

Social. This is our interaction with people outside our immediate family. This can be something as simple as having Monday morning coffee with friends or even visiting the family business and the employees who have become a part of your life. See the link below to some research done through Berkeley University of California.

Do you see yourself missing any of these four factors in your retirement life? We can take this concept even further by trying to simplify this into four “retirement personalities” as food for thought and discussion. Perhaps once we identify and understand our spouse better, we can have more productive discussions about how we want to address any disparities between the personalities. Often times, especially for entrepreneurs, we are too busy to sit down and talk about how we have each grown and evolved over the years while raising kids and running the business.


These four personality types are categorized by the level of activity and socialinteraction.

📷Activity is defined as amount of physical exertion and cognitive exertion whereas social is defined as the intentional level of interaction with people not in our immediate family.

After observing clients for over the last 25 years, I have come up with five common traits of each personality type. You can use this to identify where you and your spouse are on this spectrum and talk about how you could come to a compromise.

Social Setter

If you are a social setter you may find yourself:

· On social media every day and making frequent posts.

· Active in one or more formal groups at least once per week

· Going back to work part time to get social interaction.

· Being the one who gets groups of friends together for coffee or dinner

· Preferring to live close to a city or town rather than in the country.

Leisure Lover

If you are leisure lover you may find yourself:

· Happiest to be at home puttering around in the garden or reading a book

· Preferring to live in the country away from the city.

· Losing touch with groups of friends past retirement.

· Wanting to spend more time with your spouse going for walks or out for dinner

· Enjoying time watching television and keeping up on the news and current events


If you are an enthusiastyou may find yourself:

· Happiest when you are out playing sports or exercising

· Enjoying being part of an organized group or team where you have shared goals and enthusiasm – You have a high level of purpose.

· Always looking to try something new and push yourself beyond your existing capabilities which puts you high in the intellectual quadrant.

· Preferring to travel to a new place you’ve never been versus one you have gone to before.

· Preferring to go for a walk or run rather than watching television or reading a book.


If you are an adventurer you may find yourself:

· Always looking to book your next trip to an exotic place or one on your bucket list. You have a degree of interest in travel.

· Preferring to downsize to a smaller place but living somewhere where adventure is the key focus.

· Not wanting to have a lot of physical possessions and enjoy purging!

· Not needing to be around a large group of people and are willing to travel alone

· Wanting to be busy when you are at home rather than sitting. You tend to not sit down a lot!

Having money alone doesn’t ensure a happy and successful retirement. It is just one of the components. One of the other components is happiness which is arguably the ability to pursue your interests, passions and be true to yourself. If you and your partner are not on the same page, don’t worry because there is hope. It can start by something as simple as a discussion using these models as a guide or, in some cases, it does require a third party to talk things through. If you are getting ready to retire and feel you may be in need of talking things through with your spouse, a financial planner may be one place to start.


Susan Brown CLU®, FEA, CFP®, RRC®, CIM®

Investment Advisor

IA Private Wealth ǀ Propel Financial Life Management

Insurance Advisor ǀ Propel Insurance and Advisory Inc.

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