The concept of retirement is often marketed to us as an image of two beautiful people in their prime experiencing good health and financial freedom; however, for many people, retirement does not look this way and often does not include being one half of a couple.
In fact, according to Time, approximately 40% of women aged 45-64 years old are unmarried (due to divorce, the death of a spouse or chosen singlehood), and as they continue to age, this percentage steadily increases.
If you are an unmarried woman, planning for retirement on your own may be a frightening prospect. A report published by CNBC reveals that “roughly 55 million single women in the U.S. are in a far more precarious position than married women – as well as all men – when it comes to retirement savings,” and that approximately 40% of unmarried women (of all ages) have saved less than $1,000 for future retirement.
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Women have traditionally been at a financial disadvantage and CNBC reports that they are 80% more likely than men to be impoverished at age 65 or older because they:
Although it may seem that single women in their senior years are fighting an uphill battle when it comes to planning for retirement, there are many ways you can gain control of your finances and embrace your future.
Check out the following tips on how to make the most of your finances and maximize your enjoyment of retirement life:
For single senior women, a “traditional” condo or retirement residence may be unaffordable; however, there are unique living options available all over the U.S., such as co-housing communities. An article published by the Huffington Post describes a co-housing community that offers a common building where people can share meals and social activities such as classes and group outings, but also have their own private residence. The article explains: “these communities have tremendous social support, which is so important for single women.”
Living with a roommate can also reduce living expenses while providing companionship. The article continues, “an AARP survey found that 57 percent of women are open to a non-romantic roommate — and two can live more cheaply than one.”
Being unmarried in your senior years may not always be a choice. The death of a spouse or “gray divorce” sometimes leaves women of retirement age unceremoniously single. However, according to an article published by The Star, many senior women describe feeling a “new-found freedom,” since being single often follows “a lifetime of sequential caregiving.” A variety of single senior women interviewed for The Star article reported feeling personal reinvention, self-confidence and unity with other women after finding themselves suddenly single.
At the end of the day, when planning for retirement, your options come down to your finances and what you can afford. Consider the following suggestions from Time to get on the right path for a comfortable and happy retirement:
Retirement is a time of change and an opportunity for you to embrace who you really are or want to be.
What other tips do you have for single senior women working to retire? We’d like to hear your suggestions in the comments below.