Retirement is different for single women both emotionally and financially. There is a different flavor to a journey when you face it alone. It can be both more exciting and more frightening. One of the biggest fears of married women facing retirement is `how are we going to handle being together so much?’ For the single woman, one of the biggest fears is the specter of running out of money or becoming a burden on loved ones. There are some very real factors that contribute to the single woman’s fear. Many women made less than their male counterparts in the past and this affects the amount they will receive from social security. Unlike married women, they do not have the option to select a higher benefit based on a spouse’s income at retirement. Nor do they have the option of switching to a higher benefit at a spouse’s death. Earning less throughout a lifetime also affects retirement savings. A smaller sum must be stretched over a lifetime which is expected to be about two years longer for women versus men. According to the Social Security Administration, on average, men reaching age 65 can expect to live an additional 18 years and women 20 years. For retirement planning purposes, however, both men and women need to plan for the possibility of living much longer. One of every four 65 year olds lives past age 90 and one in ten lives past 95. Lastly, a married woman is likely to be named as a `survivor’ on her spouse’s pension. Some widows and divorced women do receive all or a portion of their deceased or former spouse’s pension. A woman never married is less likely to receive income as someone’s survivor. So the fear has legitimate grounds. Rather than haunting a single woman, however, it should motivate her. Every person, man or woman, married or not, should be doing the same things to prepare for retirement. Here’s the short list:
1.) Take control of your finances;
2.) Save as much as humanly possible; and
3.) pay off and avoid debt like the plague
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