Ok, ladies, this article is mostly for you. Whether you’re living single this very minute or not, odds are that you will at some point in your life. Statistically, women outlive men by about 7 years, so we need to embrace our longevity, celebrate it, and plan for it.
When I talk with my single women clients, one theme resonates repeatedly, and that is one of independence and self-sufficiency. “I don’t want to be a burden to my kids” or “I want to maintain my financial independence” are common expressions.
What’s it like living single? To be expected, cash flow is typically tighter. The household has one Social Security check instead of two, tax rates are higher for a single person, and expenses don’t turn out to be half of what a two-person household requires. Fixed expenses such as property taxes, homeowners’ insurance and utilities stay the same regardless of the number of occupants.
You need to know your income strategy. If you’re married now, look at the cash flow you’ll have with one social security check and understand whether your spouse’s pension income will continue or cease at his passing. Will you receive life insurance from your spouse? Is your house paid for, so you won’t have a housing payment? If you’re unsure of what the future looks like, don’t just hope for the best – reach out to a financial planner, whether me or your current advisor – and have them help you think through the “single” scenario and how your lifestyle could continue undiminished. This is too important to leave to chance. The single retired women I work with know this to be true.
You also need to plan for long-term care costs. I know I’m a broken record on this topic, but I have to be. There’s a reason that it costs women more for LTC protection than men – because insurance companies know women are more apt to need it and use it. Remember my favorite type: asse-based LTC insurance. Its cost is guaranteed at issue, and has a death benefit for your heirs if you never need it. This is a gift you give yourself AND your family. Let’s be honest, your kids love you, but they don’t want to be your caregiver. Am I right?
We can do this, ladies. We’re all in this together.