WorkingRetired Single

WorkingRetired Single

Scream by Edvard Munch 1893

S.K.Watts

Many of us who arrived at retirement age single due to choice or unplanned circumstances along the way have navigated life thus far by way of the old saying “Just Keep on Keeping On” no matter what might have gotten in the way of our original hopes and dreams. If a seemingly unsurmountable obstacle stood in our way, we shifted into ‘survival’ mode for a time and then worked on our new life with new plans, goals and experiences. It’s how we rolled. We might have had to redesign some of our hopes and dreams, but we kept moving and if we were very lucky, things still worked out okay. Not like we had originally planned, but well enough that the future was workable. Most of us left examining what it was actually costing us to keep on keeping on single over the span of years for later.

The state of ‘being single’ is expensive. The ‘single’ tax bracket over multiple decades can be anywhere from $500,000 for someone making around $40,000 a year to almost $1,000,000 over a lifetime of working single if you made $80,000 a year. That amounts to about half of what we original planned to have put away for retirement. When you factor in paying all the costs of housing, utilities, insurances, etc. solo, it likely turns out to be the other half of what would’ve been put away for our retirement years! For those who wonder how many of us are still working if it isn’t by choice… there you go.

In addition, single folks who found themselves physically disabled for any reason likely had their future Social Security Benefits in half when compared to what was in your original financial planning portfolio in addition to the fact that continuing to save for retirement became a lost dream in and of itself. And single folks who footed most or all of the cost of raising children did so with what should have gone into their retirement savings as well.

Then there are all the costs that come with lost relationships of any kind; the actual cost of divorce, death of a spouse, unplanned additional costs of raising children, etcetera, etcetera. The bottom line… If you were able to earn a good income throughout the years of being single, you paid your tax for being single, followed the advice of your financial planner and moved on. Hopefully, still fulfilling your dreams and managing to retire being okay still being single. If you weren’t, however, you are likely in one of two categories:

Keeping on in a continuous sort of ‘still semi optimistic’ mode and/or continuing to work to augment your savings and Social Security until you can’t work anymore. You will continue to live your best life in the moments until you can no longer work where you’ll have to reexamine your options, and hopefully, there will be some better solutions out for the folks who were dealt less than optimal hands of cards in life and will need assistance to keep it all going.

The keep on keeping on motto you’ve attempted to live by is now feeling very shaky. Life is still ‘paycheck to paycheck’ whether you are still working or not, like it was in the beginning, and it’s a daily battle to remain optimistic about the future. But you will focus on the strength that has seen your thus far be so very grateful for good friends and family in your life. You too will continue to hope that the future will present some better options for the folks dealt hands that are quickly becoming too heavy to continue to hold. This is the part of the demographic who, on a daily basis, now realizes how much being single, whether by choice or unforeseen circumstances, has actually cost them.

Every generation experiences life circumstances and surprises that are unforeseen and not able to be planned for ahead by all. And the Baby Boomers were no exception. I for one however, think that since we all set out to make this world a better place, we still have time to work on some of the areas that our demographic could use a little help with today. Like options for those weren’t able to keep on keeping on to the point in time where they would at least be ‘okay.’

Let me pose a few suggestions for any of those who would like to take up the challenge and do something about creating some possible solutions. Working on solutions is still a good thing…

>The trend to tiny houses with less cost up front and cost to maintain has become a big move for future retirees and those who have to budget their futures. Tiny houses still meet resistance with city ordinances, possibly because they cannot be taxed like traditional houses of greater size and are relegated to parks where there is additional rent which is sometimes the monthly finance cost of the house, or even more. Other countries have risen to the challenge and created havens for folks who desire to live more economically and efficiently. Tiny houses have a much smaller environmental footprint and proving to be an excellent choice to apartment living in many ways. Tiny house communities make sense. We need to see more land designated for tiny house living and more tax incentives to living more environmentally conscious. If we can give tax credits for being able to afford an all-electric car, why not a tiny little house?

>If your children have a yard big enough for a ‘Mother-in-Law’ house there shouldn’t continue to be issues with associations for building one. If Mom is going to move in anyway, let Mom continue to have her privacy and be self-reliant. Times are changing. Associations and builders need to change with it.

>We need to work on whatever it takes to raise the funding for services like ‘Meals on Wheels’ and even extend the income to accurately figure out who needs some assistance in order to be able to eat; it isn’t always those below poverty level in today’s world that are going hungry. I am sure that we are paying taxes for some pretty absurd things that would better serve funding feeding folks who need the help.

I am sure we can come up with solutions, hopefully from we Boomers ourselves, that would be a shiny example of how we changed the world for the better when we are gone. Let’s think about it. And check on that neighbor you never see having visitors while you are at it. Visiting for a bit to chat costs us nothing. We all have leftovers we can share if we think about it. The world needs the light we Baby Boomers set out to shine on it. It is never too late to begin something wonderful.

Happy trails to all.

10 Ways Retirement Looks Different for Single Women (msn.com)

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