The Pilot and His Wife
|April 8, 2011||Posted by Marcia Mantell under Boomers in Action|
Today is opening day at Fenway Park for the Boston Red Sox. While I am not much of a baseball fan, I do love the history and tradition that Fenway Park represents. You can just imagine all of the memories made at a storied park like Fenway. My memory of the park is a bit unusual. Different from what most may think about when watching the boys of summer.
I met a very interesting couple about six years ago at the 406 Clubhouse at Fenway Park, and I think of them often. The Clubhouse was very impressive – sitting right on top of home plate and facing the Green Monster, I could view the entire park from the floor to ceiling windows. When the Sox are away, the Clubhouse can be rented for events. I was giving a presentation to a group of investors who were invited to come for a retirement planning seminar. (Ok, they really were coming for a tour of Fenway and a cocktail hour…but they did stay to listen to the presentation!)
The seminar covered topics that everyone planning for retirement needs to think about – how long you may live, how to invest to beat the ravages of inflation, and when to get started on your own planning. The audience was very engaged, and I saw many wives giving an elbow poke to her husband or looking at him with a raised eyebrow. As if often the case after a presentation, people will come up to me to ask a question or tell me a story. This night, I met a pilot and his wife. He was in his late 50s, she was a little younger. He thanked me for the very informative presentation, then asked, “What are you supposed to do when you are forced to retire before you are ready? How can you really prepare for that?”
He shared that he was frustrated that he had been forced to retire, as most older pilots did at that time. The airlines were restructuring and there were many early retirement packages being offered. After a few minutes of conversation, I turned to his wife and asked her how she spends her time and how was it going now that her husband was spending more time at home. It turns out, she was a flight attendant for the same airline, and her job had been eliminated. She was very honest when she shared with me that “early retirement” was very hard. She laughed and said, “You know, I married him knowing that I would not spend every day with him. Our marriage has been successful since it’s been 4 days on, 3 days off! Now, we’re driving each other crazy.”
Retirement was quite an adjustment for this couple and I can’t help but think of them often. They are part of the leading-edge Boomer group who faced the reality of retirement before they were ready. I hope they were able to develop a game plan that worked for them and they are enjoying retirement.
If you are a leading edge Boomer, do share your game plan for retirement. How have you faced early retirement offers? What have you decided to do? If you have a spouse or partner, how are you doing spending so much time together? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.
(And, if you do follow baseball, the Red Sox just won their first game of the year – 9 to 6 over the Yankees!)