Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement

Retirement planning brings challenges regardless of your marital situation. However, those flying solo face additional stress.

Roles People Play

The major phases of life include accumulation (saving and building wealth), independence (retirement and spending wealth), and finally, interdependence and dependence (the transition of increasing need of caregivers). Think about the following roles others may play in assisting you.

  • Emotional support
  • Financial management and decision making
  • Residential help and relocation
  • Daily living including food preparation, personal care, pet care, medical management and more
  • Legal representation and elder care
  • End of life planning

Ever Singles and Suddenly Singles

There’s a declining number of caregiving family members due to a fall in birth and marriage rates.

  • Today about one out of two adults are married compared to about three out of four in the 1960s
  • About 9 percent of those 50 or older have never married (U.S. Census)
  • One out of three Boomers do not have children, and others will age alone because of the death of a spouse or divorce (“suddenly single”), or have children who are unable to help them
  • Two-thirds of Americans age 85 or older live alone and only 15 percent of women were married at that age compared to 55 percent of men (Society of Actuaries 2017 report)

Have a Plan

A good financial plan can help guide you in building wealth to retire and stay retired and protect against life’s surprises. Protect yourself in your accumulation stage with sufficient cash reserves and consider disability insurance for protection in case of loss of job or sickness. Consult your attorney and have a Power of Attorney that designates the right people to help manage your affairs and make healthcare decisions should you become incapacitated.

Stay Connected: Create a Support Map

Social networks are crucial to your health and well-being. They can also serve as a resource pool. Designate the best people to serve the roles listed above. It’s best to get their approval in advance (no surprises). Prospects generally include your family members. What if you don’t have children (or don’t want them in the role)? Then consider siblings, nieces and nephews, and extended family, friends, members of your church or organizations, and talk with your advisors for recommendations.

Consider Where Your “Home” Will Be

Where do you want “home” to be and can you afford it as you age?

  • Home with design modifications and caregivers as needed
  • 55 and older retirement communities
  • Continuing care communities that help you make the transitions
  • Assisted living and skilled nursing facilities
  • New social and living models including Co-housing (separate homes with shared spaces for community activities) and Village concepts (promote aging in place)

Retirement planning has several components. One is about accumulation of wealth to fund a specified lifestyle. That part is generally straight forward. Another component is the personal side of retirement. Aging isn’t always a smooth process. However, life’s a lot better when you aren’t going at it alone.

Secure your future wisely.

This article can also be viewed on the Reno Gazette Journal.

About Brian Loy

Brian Loy writes insightful and inspiring articles about the ever-changing world of personal finance and the global trends that affect the risk and return on investments and shape the financial- and retirement-planning process.
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