A Couple’s Guide to Happy Retirement and Aging: 15 Keys to Long-Lasting Vitality and Connection
Sara Yogev, PhD
Familius (3rd Edition, 2018)
If you only have one book on your shelf about preparing for and managing the retirement process, make it A couple’s guide to happy retirement and aging: 15 keys to long-lasting vitality and connection by Sara Yogev, PhD. This book is as much every person’s guide as it is a guide for couples even though the myriad ways in which marital satisfaction is impacted by retirement are highlighted throughout.
Yogev positions retirement as a dynamic adjustment process acknowledging that the very meaning of retirement is in a state of flux. People in their fifties may retire from one organization then start their own business or return to work when bored with retirement. Someone in their eighties may still be working intermittently. Some people transition from the paid work force to other activities that contribute to their own well-being and to society at large.
The age at which people retire and to what they retire is as varied as the people approaching this transition. That said, Yogev identifies challenges and opportunities to consider when making the retirement transition so that a psychologically astute plan can be created to improve the likelihood of enjoying the “golden years.”
Yogev identifies areas to reflect upon that appear in much retirement preparation literature – letting go of work, finding purpose in retirement and more – yet what makes A couple’s guide stand out is the emphasis given to how men and women respond differently. For instance, in a chapter devoted specifically to these differences Yogev brings forward research that challenges the assumption that women adjust more easily to retirement, whether their own or their partner’s. Gendered differences appear throughout, and readers will find gems relevant to their own circumstances in every chapter.
Yogev, a deeply experienced clinical psychologist and marital therapist, draws on her practice and current research to support the picture she paints of retirement challenges, create case studies, and to inform the strategies she recommends to smooth out the ride. Her experience is evident throughout the book yet really stands out in the chapter focused on readjusting the togetherness-separation balance and how couples’ needs evolve through major life stages.
This edition of A couple’s guide (it is the third edition), Yogev has added chapters about alcohol consumption, the impact of technology and how people live together or apart in their later years reflecting changing times and the depth of research now devoted to people in their retirement years.
Every chapter concludes with exercises that help readers explore for themselves the concepts presented except the last chapter which offer ten steps to take in order to have the best retirement together. I would change that to 11 steps with the first one being: Read this book!