The Danger of 'Retired Husband Syndrome'

Itchy rashes, depression, pounding headaches, stomach ulcers... older women in Japan are developing these and other stress-related medical issues by the score.

It's called "retired husband syndrome."

The name might sound laughable, but the issues behind the name are serious for any couple facing retirement.

Many psychologists point to retirement as one of the most stressful life events a couple can face. Married couples entering retirement may not know what to do with their free time, how to manage their new lifestyle, or how to balance household chores and responsibilities.

Adding to that stress is a big decision all retirees face: whether or not to relocate.

Moving consistently ranks as one of the most stressful life events people face (along with death of a loved one and divorce). But many retirees consider moving for various reasons.

Cost of living is one of the biggest reasons for retirees to move – relocating for fewer taxes and lower housing prices. You might also want to downsize to a smaller home, find a place that's all on one level for easier mobility, or move somewhere with a more agreeable climate. If the kids have moved away, you might consider moving closer to them as well.

But sometimes, couples can't agree on where to move (or if they should move).

Start with the basics... Here are a few questions you and your spouse should answer honestly. If you disagree, discuss how important it is to each of you and try to find a compromise.

  • Can we afford to move? And if so, what if we want to move back?
  • Do you want a small-town or big-city feel?
  • Do you want to head for the mountains or the beach?
  • Do your hobbies require a certain setting (like fishing or golf)?
  • Do you want a warmer climate or a cooler one?
  • Do you want to stay in your state but try a different area?
  • Do you simply want a smaller home instead of a full relocation?
  • Do you want a retirement community (such as a 55-and-older neighborhood)?
  • Do you want to stay within a certain distance of the kids? What about your friends and extended family?

Scope out local areas. Talk to family, friends, and co-workers. Chances are, someone you know has either moved or considered moving to a location you're considering.

Go for a drive or an extended trip to test potential areas. And don't be afraid to chat with the locals and even call up real estate agents.

One couple we spoke with called up a real estate agent for a property they happened to pass in Pennsylvania. Not only did the agent come out for a showing on a Sunday, but she offered them insight into the rising homeowners' association fees. She also pointed out problems with the expensive man-made lake... It was so full of bacteria that locals couldn't even swim in it. It was the kind of insight our friends needed to decide to look elsewhere.

Whatever your situation for retirement, making a move is a big decision. This will likely be the last move of your lifetime. Whether you make the decision as a way to save money, move to a climate you like better, or move closer to the grandkids, you want to make sure you have as much information as possible to make the best choice.

That's why my team and I began publishing our Best States to Retire report in 2014. I constantly travel around the country, so I can give you a boots-on-the-ground opinion. Additionally, my research team has spent months crunching the numbers on crime rates... hospital quality... taxes... and much, much more. We pored over research and data on every state to compile our list of the best states for retirement.

We also included a list of considerations if you want to stay within your own state but move to a less-expensive area.

Retirement should be a time to relax and enjoy your time without worrying about money. That's why taking the time to weigh all your options is worthwhile. We've done all the legwork for you. We want you to use the data in this report to figure out what's most important to you and make the best decision for you.

Retirement Millionaire subscribers can read Dr. David Eifrig's Best States for Retirement report (updated for 2022) right here. If you're not a subscriber, you can buy the report – and get it e-mailed straight to your inbox – right here.

What We're Reading...

Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,

Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
July 1, 2022

P.S. Our offices here at Stansberry Research will be closed next Monday for the Fourth of July holiday. Look forward to your next issue of Health & Wealth Bulletin on Tuesday, July 5. Have a great holiday!