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Retirement As a Party of One: The Challenge and the Reward

Category: Singles and Retirement

July 27, 2021 — As many Members have reminded us over the years, it is not safe to assume that everyone entering into retirement is part of couple. Many folks are single by choice, others by divorce, not to mention those who have lost a partner or spouse to disease or accident. Singlehood can happen quickly too – one moment you are happily planning a retirement destination and lifestyle together, the next you are all by yourself. This article will explore some of the issues faced by single people in retirement. More than that, we hope that our Membership base can contribute their experiences and advice to anyone who is about to retire as a party of one.

There are a number of issues to consider if you are single and planning your retirement:

  • Financial. Single people don’t have a spouse or partner to help with the financial load, so it is key that they have prepared financially. Having a financial advisor is usually a good idea to make sure you have the resources to ensure a long and secure retirement, which should include some provision for long term care.
  • Where to retire. One advantage of being single is that the decision about where to retire is one you will usually make by yourself. But you do need to make a decision about where that will be, even if it is to retire right where you live now. Where you retire affects the lifestyle you want to live as well as your finances, so it is important.
  • Type of community. The choices are many. You can live in a small town, a city, the suburbs, a condo, an active adult or 55+ community, etc. Each has its attractions and negatives. Some types of living arrangements make it easier to make friends as a single person than others, an important consideration. In others, the worry is that singles have trouble penetrating a couples based society. The best way to find out if a community or neighborhood is conducive to the single life is to live there for a bit, which usually means a rental.
  • Friends and family. Do you want to live with or near a sibling or son or daughter? Or are they pressuring you to move close? Sometimes being near family in retirement works out great, and other times it can be a problem. You could become too much of a burden for one of your adult children to handle, but on the other hand you might be asked to take on more child care or support than you feel comfortable with. Think long and hard before you commit, and consider a trial run.
  • How to make social connections – avoiding loneliness. You have to start with knowing who you are. Are you the kind of person that makes friends the first time you meet people, or would you be more comfortable at home in front of Netflix? If you have trouble connecting with people, you could end up being lonely. NextAvenue recently an article, “How Men Adapt Be Solo Agers”, that mentioned a book by John Cacioppo. In “Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection“, Cacioppo wrote that loneliness might have twice the negative impact on longevity as obesity. What you do in your spare time, the type of community where you live, and what organizations you join can be a great help in making friends and staving off loneliness. But more than those important factors, your attitude and actions are key. If you wait for someone else to reach out to you, that is never, ever going to work.
  • Staying active. Obviously staying active is beneficial to your health and well-being. But more than that, getting out and about connects you with other people. On the pickleball court, the dance or yoga class, or the woodworking shop, you are likely to meet like-minded people who you might enjoy spending time with. Staying home and watching the news is not going to help.
  • Men vs. women. Men are much more likely to experience loneliness in retirement than women. Deprived of the job that probably provided a social structure as well as ego reinforcement, many men retreat into themselves and rarely meet new people. Men have to try much harder to break out and make friends, which are crucial to happiness and long term health. In the “How Men Adapt to Be Solo Agers”, the authors provide some good advice on how men can make a single retirement a successful one.
  • Planning for the future. There are many aspects to future planning. There is the financial, which we discussed earlier. There is also the need for long term health and living. Who is going to take care of you if you become disabled or demented? Where will you live as you age or if you can no longer take care of yourself? Also, what will you do with your assets and possessions? Don’t leave someone else with a mess to clean up. If you are having trouble making these decisions, you probably need to discuss them with a close friend, relative, or advisor.

Bottom line: Retiring as a single person is way different than retiring as a couple. You have more responsibilities. You have to guard against loneliness. But if you plan carefully, you can retire as happily and successfully as anyone.

For further reading:

Comments: Please share your thoughts about being single in retirement, and the issues you have or will face. If you some success strategies, everyone would love to read them in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on July 26th, 2021

Nomadland, a Great Retirement Film, Wins 3 Oscars

Category: Adventurous retirement

April 27, 2021 — Nomadland scored a hat trick at the the 2021 academy awards. It won Best Picture. Chloe zhao won for Best Director. And Frances McDormand won for Best Actress. The film is one of the best portrayals of one niche of retirement life we have seen (see reviews of other retirement films at end). It is based on the book of the same name by Jessica Bruder, a journalist who traveled all over the country to document the van-life experience.

Fern, played by McDormand, is a van-dwelling woman who leaves her hometown after her husband dies and the sole industry closes down. Houseless, she travels around the United States, living in her old van that she has lovingly customized. Lonely and depressed, she finds temporary work at a giant Amazon fulfillment center. There she makes friends and ends up getting talked into visiting Quartzite, a convention for those living the RV and van lifestyle. There she meets Bob Wells, the organizer of Quartzite. Wells, vanlife guru and creator of cheaprvliving.com plays a fictionalized version of himself. He has a YouTube channel that is extremely successful.

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Posted by Admin on April 26th, 2021

The Biggest Mistakes People Make When Choosing a Place to Retire

Category: Retirement Planning

February 2, 2020 — Special thanks to frequent contributor Ed Lafreniere of Retirementhumor.net for suggesting this topic (one of several he made in response to our “Most Popular Articles of 2020” article). The mistakes people make in choosing a place to retire is a topic that always generates great interest. The three part series on “Retirement Mistakes People Make” we ran a few years ago resulted in hundreds of Comments. We recommend the whole series (see links at end), but today’s article selects some of the most interesting and helpful comments from that series. We hope you find them useful.

Member Comments: Oh, the mistakes we made!
Here is a summary of what our members think are the biggest retirement mistakes you can make when it comes to choosing a place to retire (some of the comments tell how to avoid making a mistake):

Country noise. Upon retirement a few years ago from the Wash. DC area I decided to move to a more rural area in NC for some tranquility. I was drawn to my home by the beautiful views and scenic rolling landscape. However, after being here a year now I have found there is just as much “noise” here as in the city. I call it “country noise” from farmers plowing their fields, trucks without mufflers, neighbors mowing their 10 acre lots, and aircraft flying over my home. — Dale

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Posted by Admin on February 1st, 2021

Are You Single and Looking for A Best Place to Retire?

Category: Singles and Retirement

December 21, 2020 — The most helpful and valuable input we get on this site comes from you our Members. And when it comes to where single people should be looking to retire, and what they should be looking for, with your comments we hit the jackpot! There is really nothing better than detailed input about real places from real people. Special thanks to Moderator Flo for suggesting this.

In this article we will reprint some of the most practical and informative Member suggestions about retirement for singles from many different Blog articles on this site. There are many suggestions about specific places to retire where singles will be happy, what types of communities you should consider, organizations to join where you can meet folks, and strategies for meeting and making new friends. At the end we have provided a list of our previous articles about singles and retirement, with many tips, ideas, and dozens of Member comments.

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Posted by Admin on December 19th, 2020

What Women Worry About in Retirement

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

June 24, 2019 — Women tend to do more of the worrying than men, at least in the circles we travel in. And for us men, that is usually a good thing for our preservation. When it comes to women’s big fears about retirement, the research primarily focuses on money concerns, but there is no shortage of other worries. We’ll cover the common concerns that we are aware of, but we are eager to hear what yours are in the Comments section at the end.

Top Worries – Money

A study published by the nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies reported that 46% of women were concerned they wouldn’t have a comfortable retirement lifestyle. By comparison, only 31% of men had similar concerns.

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Posted by Admin on June 23rd, 2019

Best Places for Singles to Retire

Category: Singles and Retirement

April 20, 2019 — In many active adult and 55+ communities much of the social life centers around couples. For people who happen to be single, that environment makes it difficult to have a full social life and results in feeling left out. We hope this article can help single people find places to retire where they are happy and feel included.

It would be a mistake to cast all retired single people in the same mold, assuming that all of their retirement needs and goals are identical. Many singles are very happy to go through retirement without a partner. Others are content to be single, but would like to find a place to retire where they feel included and a part of the community. Another group would prefer not to be single, or at least to have more friendships and social interactions than they have now. Regardless of what type of single person you might be, we hope you find this article interesting.

First we’ll talk about specific kinds of places that singles might find attractive as places to retire, and then we’ll include a few Member comments that seem especially useful to this discussion.

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Posted by Admin on April 19th, 2019

Module 5: Overcoming Loneliness and Making Friends in Retirement

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

March 23, 2019 — This is the 5th module in our “Retirement Preparation 101” online course. The social aspects of retirement was one of most frequently requested topics for the series. Here is where you can see all of the Modules and all the Member suggestions for the course.

Here is a sample suggestion which led to this Module:

Katie: Loneliness in retirement. Whether single, divorced or widowed, loneliness is something that many of us will face as we retire from our work lives. Many of us spent our lives with people at work and any free time with spouses, children or other family. Friendships may have been with neighbors, our kids’ friends’ families, spouse’s work friends, etc. With retirement and a loss of the people around us, retirees can find themselves alone. Surely there are other good ideas and stories from people who have gone through this.

Overview – one step at a time

One short article cannot possibly address all the strategies or be a magic bullet to solving the problem of feeling alone. We encourage you to to view these tips as something to experiment with.  A lifetime of habits cannot not be overcome in a day or a week or a month, but if you gradually apply some of these ideas in your daily life you just might be able to make a difference. Here we go:

Singles vs. married couples. A later module in this series will specifically address loneliness for singles. But we firmly believe that the strategies presented here are useful no matter what your state – single or married.

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Posted by Admin on March 22nd, 2019

How to Travel Alone and Love It

Category: Singles and Retirement

June 22, 2017 — You are retired now and all set to do that traveling you dreamed about. Europe, Patagonia, Japan, the Caribbean – there are some any exciting places in the US and the world to visit. But there is one problem, you don’t have a traveling companion, and you are worried about doing it by yourself. Sometimes you might be in a relationship, but your partner either doesn’t like to travel or cannot handle it physically. We would love to hear from our Members who have figured out answers to this challenge. But rather than not traveling because you don’t have a companion, here are three suggestions for how to do it:

In Antarctica

1. Travel with a group such as Roads Scholars (formerly Elderhostel). They have trips everywhere, and many of their customers are traveling solo. You might pay extra if you are not willing to have a roommate, but you will certainly meet people on your (more…)

Posted by Admin on June 21st, 2017

Baby Boomers Leading the Charge to Online Dating

Category: Singles and Retirement

March 23, 2016 — Although the quest for a suitable partner or companion is an age old quest, there are some new twists – the tools for finding that person. A study from the Pew Research Center found that the share of 55- to 64-year-olds who use online dating has doubled in just the past few years, from 6% in 2013 to 12% in 2015). And interestingly enough, it is us baby boomers, along with the youngest adults, who are leading the charge into online dating on sites like Match.com. About 15% of the total U.S. population reports having used used online dating. The youngest adults are more likely to have used mobile apps for dating or meeting people. Some dating sites such as go binder, have achieved a certain level of notoriety, such as Tinder and Ashley Madison.

As we boomers age there is more need for a dating solution. Gray divorce is increasing, spouses unfortunately die, and many people never got married in the first place. Now as online dating becomes more acceptable and familiar, many are turning to it. About 41% of all American adults say (more…)

Posted by Admin on March 22nd, 2016

Singles and Retirement: Where, Why, and the Issues

Category: Singles and Retirement

April 28, 2015 — Last month we asked our single Members to share their thoughts, experiences, and dreams about where they would like to retire. This article summarizes and categorizes what you told us in over 80 very thoughtful Comments (which included a lot of back and forth between commenters). But please don’t stop here, read all the Comments in the original article. You will also find many interesting links for singles looking for solutions to where and how to live in retirement at the end of this article.

Conclusions/Observations
There is a diversity of opinions expressed by our members about various aspects of retirement for singles, yet remarkable agreement on a number of other issues. Here are some (more…)

Posted by Admin on April 28th, 2015