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Modern Retirement Planning: Baby Boomers More Likely to Retire Single

Dana Larsen
By Dana LarsenMarch 12, 2012

The economic downturn is not the only challenge affecting baby boomers’ retirement plans. New research shows that many single boomers have not adequately planned for retirement; possibly presenting tough times ahead for an aging population.

BMO Retirement Institute recently released a report, “Single in Retirement”, that discusses how single baby boomers face “a unique set of financial, emotional and planning challenges” when faced with retirement. The boomers mark the first group facing this particular set of retirement challenges since 47 percent of woman and 18 percent of men now live alone, according to U.S. Census data.

While the divorce rate in America seems to be going down, the baby boomers are the first large group of Americans retiring with a largely single population, presenting health care and senior living problems for the immediate future. And while some people have planned well for retirement—others have not.

To Be Single, Or Not To Be?

The “Ever Singles” as the BMO study describes as people who have never married and been planning adequately for a successful problem are not the ones struggling in their golden years. It is the “Suddenly Singles” — or those who have been newly introduced to ‘single-hood’ because of an unsuspected divorce or death of a spouse.

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More than likely, a perpetual bachelor or woman who has never married has been aware that he/she needs to be savvy in planning for latter years. But those who have been relying on their partner’s financial expertise—not to mention those going through a divorce—are the ones who are at greater financial risk. All of a sudden they are fully responsible for their own financial soundness; and with not a lot of time to plan.

Newly Single Women Affected More Than Men

Boomer women mark one of the first generations of more independent women. They are the first generation of women that had a large population go to work, provide for the households and lead independent lives within the confines of marriage. So it makes sense that this generation is also one of the first to decide to leave an unhappy marriage—as they’re entitled to do so without a judgment from society. Unfortunately it is precisely these women who are facing retirement challenges today, for many have not prepared sufficiently for retirement’s demands.

Single baby boomer men had a 19 to 34 percent higher ‘savings deficit’ than their female counterparts when it came to their retirement because, generally, the men were the ones to be in charge of household finances, according to a 2010 Employee Benefit Research study.

Planning for a Comfortable Retirement

Education is king. Reaching out to a financial planner is always an excellent way to get an expert’s advice on recommendations for a sound financial future, as they have insight into effective retirement programs and investments that you may not. BMO’s report also offers some great suggestions to help set you up for a successful retirement:

  • Plan for retirement as early as possible.
  • Build and sustain wealth.
  • Understand income and expenses.
  • Consider changes in housing needs.
  • Focus on social and emotional well-being.
  • Devise a comprehensive health strategy.

So be proactive and make sure you’re prepared for retirement. Whether single or not, proper financial planning can help you enjoy a more fulfilling winter of life.

Educate yourself about retirement communities today!

Dana Larsen
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Dana Larsen
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