Tag Archives: retirement planning


What’s your retirement style is important to understand for future planning. There is an interesting study by the APA(1) that examines how retirement is approached and how the experience is different for men and women. How people approach retirement was studied with six different styles emerging.

CONTINUERS who stay with existing skills and interests
ADVENTURES who start something entirely new
SEARCHERS who try new out new things using trail and error
EASY GILDERS who enjoy going from day to day without a plan
INVOLVED SPECTATORS who care, but engage less
RETREATERS who socially disconnect

In evaluating the above styles, I’m retired 7 years and I have experience each one of these variations. So, I don’t believe you get stuck in any one style. The two above styles that produce the most stress are the Easy Gilders and the Retreaters. The problem with easy gilding is that once you get bored or feel too isolated, you have no plan to grow. Some people then get anxious and depressed. The Retreating style is common to some extent since we are out of the working world. However, too much retreating socially also leads to isolation and depression.

It’s no surprise that they found the happiest retired folks were involved in a variety of activities. I always felt the best experience of life is through doing, not watching, as this confirms. That’s why I strongly recommend writing a retirement plan with a ton of interesting options for yourself. I can only recommend coping styles that involve social engagement because that is so important after work contacts diminish. Social engagement is considered vital for a stimulating and rewarding retirement.

The second half of the study focused on the different retirement experience for husbands and wives who retire at different times. They found that recent retired women are more depressed when compared to the not yet retired or continually retired. This is even more pronounced if the husband is still at work. Of course, if you are recently retired, then you are starting your adjustment to your new lifestyle. During this adjustment period it’s common to experience mixed emotions.

They also found the recently retired men have more conflict with their partner compared to working men. This becomes even more pronounced if their wife is still working. If the men decide to become re-employed, their morale is higher with less martial conflict. This is the same recent retirement adjustment and when they go back to work, the adjustment reaction stops.

What is the COMMON SENSE CONCLUSION here? First, this martial conflict or unhappiness is an indication of a stressful initial adjustment for both men and women. It’s not a mistake in your retirement. It is always difficult doing something new for the first time. Some retirement adjustments may take up to three years especially if you don’t have a plan. There are ways to anticipate your partner’s reaction and design a plan before it occurs. That’s because retirement adjustment occurs in phases.

Second, they note that women tend to become more depressed and men more conflictual or angry. I view this as a historical gender specific coping style. That is, it seems men and women are predetermined to respond in these ways when stressed. Once an adjustment is made, of course, your emotions become more stable and your return to your contort zone.

Third, if men are happier when re-employed, this may be the best retirement style for that group. It’s true that some people cannot adjust to retirement. Some people have found their passions in existing work to be so profound and satisfying, there is no desire to retire. This is the style of the Continuer above and many life long dedicated people fall into this category.

It is certainly helpful to have a guide or plan on past involvements to anticipate the future adjustments in retirement. If you take the time to develop a detailed retirement plan, then you can replace what you lost from work. This will dramatically cut down on your adjustment time and your emotion reactions. I hope this article helps you identify your retirement style, encourages you to develop a detailed plan based on past interests, and convinces you of the importance of social engagement in retirement.    L. Johnson   www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

(1)American Psychological Association, 4-14-2005, “Thinking About Retirement? Time to Think About Your Psychological Portfolio.” Retrieved on 4-15-2015 from http://w ww. apa.org/research/action/retire.aspx


Do you want to know the secret of a long and happy relationship? There is an excellent study of adult development that examined people continuously for six to eight decades.  This Aging Well(1)study focused on three groups. First is sample of 268 socially advantaged Harvard grads born around 1920. The second group is 456 inner city men born around 1930. The third group is 682 middle-class intellectually gifted women born around 1910. The study involved eight initial in-depth psychiatric interviews to establish a baseline. The follow-up study involved interviews with them, their parents and teachers to get more objective information. Most of subjects were then followed continuously until they passed away.

I won’t bore you with all the statistics, but the task of generativity was the best predictor of an enduring and happy marriage in old age. Generativity is basically how involved we have been as parents. We generate and raise our children with a varying degree of involvement. The top four traits from the study for a long and happy marriage are generativity, commitment, tolerance and humor.

Generativity is a measure of our caretaker abilities extended into the adult relationship. The skills we use in child rearing certainly include dedicated care-taking, especially when children are young. We make a long-term commitment to our children as a matter of course, and we all know how much tolerance we need when they become adolescents. Humor is a good coping mechanism that helps relieve stress and lighten the intensity of the situation.

Good care-taking starts with an attitude of embracing the importance of relationships in general. Those who had a positive and supportive role model from their parents tend to emulate those behaviors when they become parents. But, those who did not develop basic trust with their primary caretaker tend not to be good caretakers themselves.

Relationship skills learned in childhood are usually transferred to marriage and other emotional relationships as well. The study may suggest that if your partner was not involved with child-rearing, did not bond in childhood, or is not involved in a care-taking role at work, he may not be involved with the care-taking demands of your relationship going forward.

If you do have a partner who wavers on these skills and you want to keep the relationship intact, you might consider adding care-taker development goals. These skills can be learned, of course, as long as there is motivation. If you are single and content to stay that way, you probably want your most reliable friends to have these skills.               

L.  Johnson of www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

(1) Vaillant, G. “Aging Well” New York: Little, Brown & Co. 2002. p.113, 123.

Do Women Need a Female Financial Advisor?

Do Women Need a Female Financial Advisor?

Would it surprise you if I told you that women are better money managers than men? It starts with a different relationship with money. Women do not view money as the ultimate goal, tend not to flaunt it with objects that are symbolic of success, and don’t involve it in their identity to the extent as men. Becoming a millionaire is usually not the final accomplishment and stopping point for women. Instead, money is a tool that enables women to enjoy the benefits and freedoms of life.

As a stockbroker, it became clear to me that women are more careful and thoughtful about risking their money. They are not trying to hit a home run in the market, but look for stability and safety in an investment. “How safe is this,” was the most common question and should be asked at every turn. So, most women tend to have a similar relationship with money.

Since men just view money differently, their risker mind-set interferes with the core money relationship women have. But, what bothered me the most about being a stockbroker, is that women were treated differently and even inferior by other men. It was not uncommon to see a male broker talk to only the man when a couple came in for advice. I understand that it is a male dominated field, but there is no excuse for this behavior.

In retirement, low risk investing is not only practical, its essential because you don’t have time to start over. A study(1) found that female hedge fund managers out-preformed men by 6% over a nine-month period in 2012. A hedge fund, originally named to hedge against market losses, has evolved. Now it is a managed fund(not indexed) that is less regulated in terms of using leverage. Using leverage dramatically increases investor risk.

This study points out four primary differences. 1. Women are less competitive and less preoccupied with beating an index. 2. Women take fewer risks in the market as with other areas of life. 3. Women do more homework and stay in investments longer. 4. Women realize they are not in control. Realizing you are not in control of all factors gives women the perspective to not panic. Level heads will prevail.

So, women need a female financial advisor because:

1. Your relationship or how you view money is similar on an emotional level.
2. Safety and sustainability of your money is the priority, especially in retirement.
3. Female advisors tend to establish a more personal relationship with clients.
4. Women, with the same experience as men, are better investors on average.
5. There is a deeper sense of trust with another woman.

More at:       www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

(1) Sightings, T. (1-7-14) “4 ways women make better investors” money.msn.com. Retrieved on 2-28-14 from: money.msn.com/how-to-invest/4-ways-women-make-better-investor

11 Ways Female Retirement is Different

11 Ways Female Retirement is Different   

Most of us don’t think of retirement as being male or female, but there are differences in financial, medical, lifestyle, personal, social, and emotional areas.

LONGER LIFE: The first difference is that, on average, women live longer than men. This is wonderful news for you, but at the same time means you must fund and balance a budget for a longer time. Sustainability of financial and emotional livelihood becomes an essential component for future planning.

LESS INCOME: Women make less income over a lifetime than men in similar positions. The wage gap is slowly narrowing so that today women make about 75% to 80% of a man’s pay. Social security benefits are less since the benefit amount is based on accumulated income. Some women may have worked less in the workplace in order to attend to family needs, and have saved less than women who worked outside the home. This lifetime of dedication to husband and kids can leave women with fewer saving and a lower income history.

MORE MEDICAL CARE: Medical expenses are expected to be higher for women throughout each life stage. The bottom line from many of the studies is that, for various reasons, women just need to see the doctor more often, and end up paying more. Women tend to be more alert and concerned about resolving medical issues than men. Some of women’s medical expense may be for preventative care or for routine exams that men don’t need or may skip. But, overall, it just cost more to get more medical care.

 HIGHER LIFESTYLE EXPENSE: Women spend more on hygienic and cosmetic items such as toiletries, makeup, hair, nails, and fashions. In general, appearance is important whether you are retired or not. Women are not about to let their hygiene and appearance deteriorate to any extent like a man might. Men tend to get away with the weekend just-got-out-of-bed look. As women, that would be considered a social faux pas and even embarrassing. Having a better appearance end up costing a bit more.

LESS HEALTH INSURANCE: It’s unfortunate that women are less likely than men to be offered health insurance at work. Part of this difference is due to women more often working at part-time jobs. The combination of a need for more medical care and less insurance coverage can put women in a difficult position. Divorced women are about half as likely to have insurance, since many were often insured through their ex-husband’s job.

CARETAKER DEMANDS: Everyone seems to expect women to be the caretakers for their children and for their elderly parents. Women usually enjoy being a parent and wouldn’t have it any other way. Men help some with children, but not as much with elders. When our parents get old and need help, it’s women who step forward. Even if you embrace your caretaker situation with joy and purpose, it often keeps you out of the workforce and reduces income. This is a very personal issue because many of us want to take care of mom, but may admit to having mixed feelings.

SOCIAL INVOLVEMENT: Excellent social skills, which many women develop naturally, create an amazing foundation for continued involvement and support from others. The strength of this trait appears to mitigate the stress of other life challenges. My women friends tell me that women do most of the volunteering and often take the default role of social planner for the home. Volunteering for women is a natural extension of social skills that involves them in the community, enabling them to connect to new people, including those with similar interests. A woman’s social involvement is usually deeper than most men.

INCREASED SELF-SUFFICIENCY: My consultants tell me that many women still expect a man to take care of them. They seek not a knight in shinning armor, but a desirable partner and teammate. That’s interesting because men secretly want a woman to take care of them. It appears that deep inside, we all want to be taken care of. It’s just human nature to want somebody to “be there” for us. But, this is less likely to happen to a woman today compared to the past. Prior generations stayed in marriages longer, which increased financial stability for wives. Cultural changes in marriage have increased freedom and a sense of control for women. An extension of this freedom is increased self-sufficiency.

BREAST CANCER: We really cannot overlook this disease, since it occurs 99% of the time in women and often in retirement. The average age at diagnosis is 61 years old. It’s just a fact of life that most women accept and plan for by taking precautions. Most are aware of the importance of self-examinations, scheduled mammograms, recent treatment options, and dramatically improved survival rates. Even the media is more accepting and sensitive, as evidenced by the news of Angelina Jolie’s decision to have a double mastectomy for preventative reasons.

MENOPAUSE: It may be true that a loss of estrogen in women is parallel to a loss of testosterone in men, but the range and intensity of the experience is quite different. These symptoms of hot flashes, mood swings, hair loss, dizziness and weight gain can interfere with your comfort in social situations. They can become personally distressing unless you feel you have some control over them. Although, menopause is not life threatening, it can still interfere with your lifestyle and happiness if you let it.

EMOTIONAL DIFFERENCE: Although major depression tends to occur less frequently with the elderly overall, some studies show that more elderly women are becoming depressed recently. Women are more susceptible to depression at this stage, and it tends to be more prolonged. Depression can have physical consequences in that you care less about and may abandon your healthy habits. The National Institute of Mental Health views depression in the elderly as a major public health problem.

I address all these issues in the book and provide common sense recommendations. If I missed any other differences, please let me know.

More at:     www.creativeretirementforwomen.com