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Retirement Gift for In-Laws

June 8th, 2008 at 08:46 pm

My in-laws are easing (or should I say lurching) in to retirement. FIL is 72 and MIL is 68. They both worked very hard all of their lives. FIL owned his own business (with several employees) and MIL worked with him part-time, running the office. FIL has had a series of health issues in the past few years, and after several years of talking about how he was going to retire soon, MIL decided to take charge and push him along. She talked him in to putting their house up for sale. It sold fairly quickly, and then they rented a place in a more rural area. MIL moved in to the rental in late-April, but FIL stayed behind (moving in to SIL's house) to wrap things up with the business. He goes and visits MIL on the weekends, and has promised he will have tied up all of the loose ends with the business on June 20th, when he will permanently moving to the country. The entire family is saying "we'll believe it when we see it," as he really seems to be having a hard time actually taking the final steps.

I'm so proud of my MIL. She has been really ready to retire for about 8 years now, and she has put up with many promises deferred. Because of her culture and her personality, she generally takes a fairly submissive role in the marriage, but I guess she decided she had had enough and she put her foot down! The rest of the family has really gotten a kick out of watching her put her assert herself and (hopefully) drag FIL kicking and screaming in to a well-deserved retirement.

I think it's hard for FIL to deal with because at this stage in his life he really doesn't have interests outside of work (other than watching TV and reading the paper). Hopefully he won't turn in to a total couch potato. He is interested in gardening, and now that they have a place in the country hopefully he can get more involved in that. MIL on the other had is quite a social butterfly, especially with her religious group. She visits with her group members, makes friends quickly with the neighbors, keeps house, and likes to read. She will thrive in retirement, no doubt.

Anyway ... DH & I want to give them a nice retirement gift. We have come up with 2 ideas, and would love to hear any other suggestions. If we ask them what they want, they will say they don't want anything. So we have to take the approach of offering them option A, B, or C and letting them choose.

If anyone who has already retired has suggestions of what they would have liked to have received when they retired, please share. If anyone has done something like this for their parents or have thought about doing something like this for their folks, or just dreams about being able to do something like this for their parents some day, please share suggestions.

Don't be afraid to venture a bit into "just dreaming" sorts of ideas. FIL is not facing imminent death, but he is not going to be around forever, and this gift is our way of "giving him roses while he is still alive." We are able to do something nice for them, and we very much want to.

The 2 ideas we have are:

1. A 2-week cruise in their region (they live in another country) ... They have not cruised before, but they have enjoyed travelling in the past, and we thought they would feel more comfortable if they stuck close to home, especially given FIL's medical problems.

2. Business Class tickets to visit us here in the USA, plus some domestic travel with us (perhaps via Amtrak in a sleeper car) ... DH & I always fly coach, as have my in-laws in the past, but we think at their age they deserve to travel in comfort.

We thought about replacing their old car for them, but MIL does not drive and we do not know how much longer FIL will be able to drive. DH thinks it would be best if they just drive the current car for as long as it lasts, and when it dies, to encourage them to just rely on public transportation (which is excellent where they live).

I'd like to have at least another one or two options to toss out to them but am stumped, so any and all suggestions are welcome! Thank you!

5 Responses to “Retirement Gift for In-Laws”

  1. CB in the City Says:

    I really appreciated getting a Barnes & Noble gift card when I retired.

    Anything related to travel is good, or something to help fund hobbies. I would have loved theater tickets, but of course, that depends on your in-laws.

  2. pretty cheap jewelry Says:

    I cruised once and it is not what all cracked up to be. (Of course, I am prone to sea sickness). It is but a temporary diversion and I am more in favor of lasting impacts.

    Sort of the same opinion on train travel. There is a LOT of 'boring' time.

    OK now for the help!
    My parents retired but only about a year ago, my mom so worried she wouldn't know what to do! Now? She has no free time! Lesson-it takes a little adjustment time, but they will find what they love and devote time toward.

    They love to travel? Send a 'dream' basket of travel ideas with a coupon redeemable at your checking account for a portion of the trip. Include maps, food samples from various countries (ie Italian coffee, Hawaiian pineapple, etc), language translation booklets (small ones), a disposable camera, and more.

    No grandkids? If so, there could be a 'playdate' themed gift with travel to the kids, and tickets to a zoo or somewhere.

    How about throwing a surprise 'Welcome to Free Time' party (or some such fun title). The MIL sounds like she has plenty to invite. But if you are far away, it would be tough to arrange. Any best friend of hers that would work with you? Hold it at a community center, with photos and food. Let the guests write one line of a poem about the couple, or 'roast' them.

    hmmm, let me think some more and I'll come back if I can.

  3. pretty cheap jewelry Says:

    Last thoughts:
    So they are going to be in the country, do they garden? do they need outdoor tools? Is there a nearby town with activities/groups of interest?

    I joined the local art association in our weekend property town. It is active and a big help in getting to know residents. Give them a membership or make a donation to such a group they will be near. Maybe there is a historic society, a Sierra Club chapter, or something you think will get them out of the house!

    Good luck!

  4. scfr Says:

    Thanks for the great ideas!

    A party? Why didn't I think of that? I'll add that to the list. And we may add a gardening center certificate as well (we'll have to find out if their rental house allows them to make significant changes).

    PCJ - I hear you about the cruise. But the one I had picked out includes daily on-shore excursions (included in the price of the cruise) that sound really interesting, and there are daily after-dinner educational lectures. It's definitely aimed at the 55+ active learner crowd. Not much in the way of on-board activities. Sounds like the daily routine is

    - Breakfast on-board
    - Daily excursion in to town, including walking about (age-appropriate exercise)
    - Dinner on-board
    - After dinner lecture
    - Perhaps a bit of unwinding w/ TV (in each room) or reading
    - Sleep to get ready to do the same thing the next day

    On this particular cruise, the boat seems to serve as a floating hotel & restaurant only, to keep you fed (without having to decide where to go) and get you from place to place in comfort (without having to pack & unpack every day).

    Since this particular cruise focuses on their home country, I thought it might introduce them to new places that they could go back and explore more in-depth on their own. Given their age & health, their long overseas travelling days are over. Just too grueling.

  5. pretty cheap jewelry Says:

    oh yes yes, the educational cruises might be better

    For a party wouldn't it be a hoot if each guest were to bring one 'Idea' for retirement activities? Some folks are not crafty/clever so you could even supply a 'form' for guests to fill out and make a binder with them.

    have a good experience in whatever happens!

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