Being single in your sixties has become more common, especially for women. Yet the standard formulations for retirement planning still tend to favor married couples. Entering retirement as a single requires some additional planning. Below are some tips for entering retirement alone to help you look forward to a happy and secure solo retirement.
Get Your Paperwork in Order
If you have been widowed or divorced, you’re facing a very different scenario than you expected when you made your estate plans with your partner. Getting the paperwork in order to address the inevitable will give you more time to prepare for the financial and recreational aspects of retirement on your own.
Contact your estate plan attorney to go over your will and trust, any powers of attorney that existed between you and your partner that need revision, and health insurance and retirement plan beneficiaries. Identify who will step in to manage your money if you become unable to do so, as well as who will speak for you to enforce your advance directive about end-of-life care.
Entering retirement alone comes with some additional worries. Singles without children or who have disabled children worry about who will take care of them in retirement. Look into long-term care insurance when you are still younger and healthy to try to reduce costs. This insurance is expensive, and it varies in benefits—how much it will pay per day over how long a period, and what happens to leftover premiums you’ve paid after you’re gone.
Review Your Financial Plan
If you were married for more than 10 years and are now widowed, you may be eligible for Social Security survivor benefits if you’re over 60. Deciding when to begin taking social security benefits involves calculating which benefit will be higher—your earned benefit or your survivor benefit—and deciding when to begin taking one benefit and when to switch to the other. Consult a retirement plan advisorto discuss ways to supplement social security benefits and how you can manage retirement savings to ensure a steady income in retirement.
Assess Your Living Situation
More people are choosing to age in place, in homes they’ve loved for years. But taking care of a home and yard gets to be a lot as we age. A smaller place with less maintenance and lower taxes, in a walkable community with recreational opportunities, may prove more enjoyable in retirement, especially once you can’t drive anymore.
By the time you retire, you’ve probably achieved a lot of what you had hoped to do. If not, that’s okay: learn to accept your life as it was and as it is now. There really is much to be said about stopping to smell the roses. Your relationships with friends and family will be more important than where you live, how much money you have, and whether you are able to travel.