Retiring as a senior (woman) on your own

Written on the 20 October 2021 by Parkside InvestorPlus

Retiring as a senior (woman) on your own

When couples think of retiring, the usual thinking revolves around being able to do all sorts of things that may not have been possible during their parenting/working lives.

Travel, new hobbies, home renovations or even taking up part-time work in a new area of interest.

The conventional paradigm of retirement planning typically involves couples working together to map out their lives after their working years.

While planning for your retirement can in itself be a somewhat stressful event, e.g. do we have enough in the superannuation tank, can we live the life we’re accustomed to or even, will I/we be able to cope with retirement – this planning process has typically been a team effort involving both partners.

Now let’s assume retirement comes along and both spouses embark on their new adventure.

And now let’s assume, one of the spouses passes away during the retirement phase and in this case, leaving the female spouse on their own.

Compounding this could be the fact that the female partner may have not been involved in the financial planning affairs – and suddenly, not only has she lost her life partner, yet also the only one who has been across the finances.

Leaving aside death, a couple could find themselves in a divorce situation leading up to retirement – which could leave one or both partners in uncertainty when it comes to surviving their retirement years.

While these scenarios may seem a little dramatic, a recent Challenger study found that 39% of women aged over 70 live alone compared to 19% of men.

The death of a spouse (and even separation prior to or in the early stages of retirement), requires a serious re-think and re-calibration of any retirement strategies that have been put in place prior to these life changing events.

Events such as these will require you to call on the professional services of your financial advisor – the strategies and ideas that made sense before (on paper), will now need to be re-visited and re-thought.

Here are 3 significant suggestions if you find yourself a single, particularly woman, in retirement.

1.       Setup a more personalised plan — what made sense for a couples will not for singles

As someone who is single, it is probably even more important for you to create a personalised and detailed retirement plan rather than just relying on rules of thumb like X% drawdown rules or spending 80% of what you spent while working when you are retired.

2.       Help to deal with financial insecurity

The same Challenger study found that 59% of women are worried about outliving their savings and divorced women are amongst the most worried (67%).

This is where your financial advisor can help by offering new ideas and strategies to provide peace of mind and financial security. 

Even a little bit of certainty can help to boost your confidence during these life changing events.

3.       Plan and communicate your long-term aged care needs

Many couples in retirement expect that they will be able to care for each other in case of a long-term care event.

This is simply not the case for someone who is single.

It’s even more important to figure out how you want to be cared for and how you are going to pay for it.

The retirement phase of life ‘should’ be an easing of pressure, enjoyment, freedom, and security. 

However, life can throw us a curve ball.

Having to retire on your own is challenging and even scary, however, there is help, guidance and direction available to you from your financial advisor.

Parkside InvestorPlus has helped couples with their retirement planning as well as recently widowed women and single women heading into or in their retirement phases. Give us a call, or pass on our contact details if you know someone who needs guidance and help.

Author:Parkside InvestorPlus
About: As advisers, we act as a fiduciary sitting on the same side of the table as our clients, providing peace of mind, greater control and visibility.

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