Preparing For Retirement As A Single Person

Preparing for retirement as a single person requires some unique financial considerations. Without the ability to share expenses or coordinate with a partner, your planning process may look different. But with diligent preparation, you can still retire securely and comfortably.

One of the biggest factors is needing to fully self-fund your retirement. You can’t depend on a spouse’s income, pensions or social security. Review your projected expenses in retirement and develop a savings goal that covers all your anticipated costs. You may need to save more aggressively than couples. 

  1. Housing is often one of the largest expenses. Consider whether you want to downsize or relocate somewhere more affordable. If staying put, ensure you can maintain mortgage/rent payments solely on your retirement income. Living alone means losing the ability to split housing costs.
  2. Healthcare is another significant expense. Without a spouse, you lose the ability to share a family health insurance plan. Research Medicare premiums, supplements, and out-of-pocket costs. Also factor in uninsured expenses like dental, hearing, and vision care
  3. Long-term care is also important to consider. Being single means you may not have family caregivers later in life. Look into long-term care insurance or earmark savings for potential assisted living or nursing home care.
  4. In retirement, consider relocating closer to family or friends who can provide your “care crew” and support network. Or cultivate local community connections through religious groups, clubs, or volunteering. Avoid isolation.
  5. While traveling may be appealing, budget based on your true desire for adventure. Will you really want to be globetrotting for months alone? Create a retirement lifestyle vision that balances travel with community. 
  6. Maintain an emergency fund for unexpected costs. Without a second income to fall back on, a solid savings cushion provides stability when unplanned expenses occur. Aim for at least 6 months of living expenses.
  7. Maximize social security benefits, since you can’t coordinate with a spouse. Delay claiming up to age 70 if possible to permanently increase your monthly benefit checks. 
  8. Consider annuities or other income products to generate guaranteed lifetime income, especially if you lack a work pension. This protects against longevity risk and market volatility.

Retiring single requires diligence, creativity and intentionality in planning. But by tailoring your financial and lifestyle strategies to your unique needs, you can thrive and live the retirement you envision.