Today’s post is a guest post from Gabby Revel. You can read more about Gabby at the end of this post.
It isn’t something we enjoy contemplating but the fact remains that there’s a good chance we find ourselves entering our golden years as a single woman. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 36 percent of women over the age of 65 are living alone. So whether we like it or not, ladies need to make certain they’ve prepared for the possibility of going it alone in retirement.
This means saving diligently, maintaining a diversified portfolio with investing and having our emergency fund on hand, fully stocked and ready to go. Solo retirees may face a different set of hurdles that must be cleared for a stable, solid economic foundation on which to build the retirement we want.
What’s the Plan?
Almost half of all Americans, married or single, retire without doing any planning to make certain their retirement savings will provide a reliable retirement income. Your retirement years could span 20 to 30 years, or more. You’ll need to be prepared for that.
Do a critical evaluation of your financial resources. This can pinpoint how long you’ll need to work, whether or not your current job is providing enough income for your retirement planning and whether or not you need to consider making some changes in your current lifestyle. You may need to cut back on your living expenses now to better support your retirement years.
You may also consider an adviser to help you with investing and budgeting decisions. You’ll need to investigate various types of retirement advisors to find the one who specializes in areas that will suit your needs. Understand that bringing these advisors on board will incur money management fees for which you’ll be responsible. An adviser with credentials that demonstrate expertise in retirement planning will be well worth any fees.
When to go with Social Security
Many women will find Social Security as their primary source of retirement income. If this is the bulk of your retirement income, you’ll need to get the most out of this benefit. For most single women, delaying the start of your Social Security benefits is generally beneficial. Each year that you delay drawing your benefits, the amount you’ll draw as income will increase for each year you delay.
When you have concerns about being unable to afford retirement any way you can find to pad your income can be beneficial. One potential option you have is to take out a reverse mortgage, which is also called a home equity conversion mortgage. The difference between an HECM and a regular mortgage is that you will have no monthly repayments to make and no short-term repayment restrictions. A reverse mortgage lender will provide you with a long-term reverse loan which you do not need to pay back in full as long as you continue to live in your home. Therefore, you can use the money you will receive to enjoy your retirement without the extra worry of additional bills to pay or traditional loan default risks.
Generate Income with Retirement Savings
You can use your IRA and 401(k) funds as a way to generate retirement income, each of these plans having its ups and downs. Talk to an investment professional for help in determining if your retirement income can be used to generate retirement income to fit your circumstances.
Take Care of Yourself
While you may have planned on sharing your golden years with someone special who will be there for you and look out for your best interests, life doesn’t always happen that way. You may find yourself going into your retirement as a single woman. That means you’ll have to rely on yourself for proper health care.
If you take care of yourself now, you’ll face less physical challenges as you get older. No one wants to face potentially disabling and expensive diseases. Taking simple steps like proper nutrition and exercise now can have a great payoff later in life. It will also lessen the amount of your retirement budget that will have to go to health care.
Gabby Revel is a freelance writer and editor with over 10 years of experience writing about personal finance, beauty and fashion as well as other lifestyle topics. When she’s not writing, Gabby likes traveling and exploring the world. And she loves cats.