3 Ways Couples Can Get On The Same Page Prior To Retirement

Retirement Income Planning, Calgary

How can couples get on the same page prior to retirement?

A couple of years ago, Nancy and I attended a marriage enrichment seminar. It was a Friday evening and a Saturday morning event. I even think it was my idea and I signed us up and paid online. It was a great investment of our time and the message that stood out to us was this.

Unhealthy or unhappy people rarely have great relationships - with anyone!

Think about the relationships you value. Your spouse. Your kids. Your friends. Your neighbours. Your co-workers. It's easy to say that a strained relationship is the other person's fault. But, when you stop to think about it for a moment - are you in the best state of mind and state of health to bring your best self to your relationships?

You can become so focused on the problems between you and the faults of another person that you fail to recognize your own issues. Hurting people hurt people - as the saying goes.

I think we both heard a valuable truth at that marriage seminar. And, we actually realized that if we want to have a great marriage and future together we need to put in the time and effort to get well personally and that means in every sense of the word - physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, financially, etc.

We started to do that and are still on that journey. It's much easier to be happy when you are healthy, so the best place to start is with your own health. You are the only person on this planet that can look after your health. You can't delegate it to someone else, nor can you blame anyone else.

Start with a visit to your doctor for a complete analysis of your health and then get a list of all the things you can do to improve and be in the best physical health possible. 

Happy and healthy people tend to have better relationships with everyone in their lives.

Not long after this seminar, we started working on our own issues. Improved eating habits. Better work/life balance. Reducing stress levels by eliminating some responsibilities. Nancy lost 50 pounds and I lost nearly 30 since that time. I won't list all of the things we have done, but we are enjoying a great marriage and we are moving forward on the same page. I just completed my annual physical and the doctor said I was in perfect health.

The first thing couples can do is some self-improvement.

If you and your spouse are not on the same page about your future ideal lifestyle, what can you do about it? The first thing you can do is change your patterns of behaviour. Start with self-improvement. You know how they tell you on the plane, put on your own oxygen mask before trying to assist someone else. Sounds selfish, but it isn't. You can't help anyone if you are suffocating yourself.

I can truthfully say that as Nancy was improving herself that she inspired me to change as well.

The second thing  - do something together. 

In August 2019 Nancy bought a Motorhome. We tried camping - in a tent - and realized that was for poor people. - or maybe young people. At the end of our last camping trip in Montana, I gathered up the tent and tossed it into a dumpster. I wanted to remove that temptation forever. Tenting always seems like a good idea until halfway through the night and it's cold and raining, and so uncomfortable and now you have to pee. Done with that!


So she found this couple on Kijiji who were selling their motorhome and calls me to announce she wants to buy this motorhome for $10,500. I was like, sure, it's got to be better than a tent. So here we are one Thursday evening as the couple drive up to the front of our house with our new motorhome - I felt like cousin Eddy from National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.

I was a little hesitant, but I was impressed with her determination and tenacity. I figured we could get a few weeks out of it and we have spent this amount on a 3-week trip so what the heck. She enthusiastically worked on this thing for a few weeks - me too, except for the enthusiastic part - cleaning and organizing and replacing and buying more stuff on Amazon and thrift stores. We were cleaning and fixing, and buying more stuff on Amazon.

That motorhome has been one of the best things that ever happen to us. It has brought us closer together, especially that first night in late September when the furnace crapped out and we were snuggled up with our hats and mitts on.

We have had so much fun touring around in our love shack on wheels. It was just awesome to have that during the first lockdown as we were able to travel around Alberta and "work from home". It has been some of the best money we have ever spent, and it's still running great. I jokingly tell her that our cost of ownership is down to $210/night so far.

It's been a little over 2 years since the marriage enrichment seminar and I can truly say that we have improved ourselves dramatically and we are more on the same page than ever. But, it required action. Every small step in the right direction gets you closer to your destination and being on the same page.

The third point is that it takes time. Don't wait until you are retired to try and get on the same page - start now.

Results are in the implementation. There is one single thing that always pays off in life - consistency. Doing little things right, every day will pay off in a huge way many months down the road. 


How long does it take to become an overnight success?

At least 10 years. Jeff Bezos started Amazon and brought it public in 1997 and it took 14 years before it turned a profit.

I once read a quote on a friend's Facebook timeline, "If you are tired of starting over - stop quitting". You don't have to fix everything in one day, but you have to get started and make one small step in the right direction today.

Imagine living a life where you are healthy, strong, inspired, happy, joyful, and at peace with yourself. It's possible for you and it's possible that you and your significant other to get on the same page and enjoy a lifestyle that inspires and ignites you both. Go do it.

"Time is measured in minutes, but life is measured in moments"


How can we help?

We are a husband and wife team and we work exclusively with financially successful individuals over age 55 who want to get their total financial house in order, get you on the same page, and start living the life they have always dreamed about. We want to help you - 'to get on with it'.

Click Here to learn more about our process for creating your financial roadmap for retirement, getting your total financial house in order, and living a life that inspires you.



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Retirement Income Planning For The 55+

Willis J Langford BA, MA, CFP

Nancy Langford CRS 

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