A 2018 Census Bureau report found that about 6% of Americans have never married, and that 22% of Americans aged 64-75 live by themselves. For those who expect to retire as singles, special attention needs to be paid to financial, legal and social aspects of life, says the article “Retiring single” from Paradise Post.
Whether you perceive a solo retirement as liberating or challenging, you’ll need to be aware of how your future may be different than your present.
Be aware that your retirement needs might change. They can be impacted by the unexpected, from health issues or changes in your goals. A new ambition may emerge, or a long-postponed dream could come to fruition. At this time of life, people begin new ventures, from travelling around the world to starting a new business.
Another thing to consider is that once you retire, your social circles are likely to change. The people who were a big part of your day-to-day life, like clients and co-workers, won’t necessarily remain friends once you retire. If you leave your current residence to retire to a new community, connections with people at your current location may also drift apart.
Make a concrete plan for strengthening existing relationships and friendships, if you want them to continue. Don’t rely on social media for connections—you’ll want to see people in real life. Leave yourself open, especially if you relocate, to many different ways of making new connections and new friends. A hobby that you used to love, or a new hobby, could bring you into a new community. Consider volunteering for a cause that has meaning for you.
You also need to address your estate plan. This is especially important, if you have no family and no heirs. You still have an estate, and you should have a say in how you are treated as you age and what happens to your possessions, when you pass away. A will is used to distribute your possessions according to your wishes.
You will also want a power of attorney to protect you, should you become incapacitated. There are several different types, and an estate planning attorney will be able to review which ones are best suited for your situation. A general power of attorney gives another person, your “agent,” the power to make financial decisions on your behalf. A special power of attorney gives that person the ability to act for you, but with limitations. A durable power of attorney is revocable by you and stays in effect, if you become incapacitated or mentally incompetent. There is also one more: the health care power of attorney authorizes another person who you name to make medical treatment decisions for you.
Give some thought to a plan for extended or long-term care. Not everyone ends up needing extended care, but a plan in place will give you peace of mind.
An estate planning attorney will be able to review your situation and determine what documents you need to achieve your goals and protect you during your retirement years.
Reference: Paradise Post (June 24, 2019) “Retiring single”
Suggested Key Terms: Single, Retirement, Power of Attorney, Will, Estate Planning