How Do Solo Agers Plan for Retirement?

For many people, retirement isn’t an easy transition. Aging can be a challenge, and the financial burdens that come with it can weigh down even the healthiest of people. In many cases, retirees have family members who help them through the aging process. There’s a support system in place for when you need medical assistance or can’t live on your own anymore.

Solo agers, however, don’t have the same family ties that many retirees do. Traditional family life isn’t always for everyone, and that’s okay! It just means that, if you’re a solo ager, you have to think ahead and do some more planning for your own retirement.

Who Are Solo Agers?

Solo agers (sometimes called “elder orphans”) are retirees whose parents pass away and are left without any other family. For you, this may mean that you never married, and don’t have kids. Maybe it means you divorced when you were young and are now separated from any family you had.

Either way, solo aging doesn’t necessarily mean lonely aging! There are so many different ways that you can build a community and grow a tight-knit group of friends. However, just because you’re 100% fulfilled in your life doesn’t mean that solo aging doesn’t require additional planning.

Planning For Retirement

There are several different ways you’ll need to plan ahead for a successful retirement as a solo ager. You’ll need to plan for both emotional and physical support, and to have an ironclad financial strategy.

Emotional and Physical Support

As we age, we all need some level of emotional and/or physical support. You may be faced with dementia, or the need for surgery or physical therapy. You may even just need some emotional support to deal with the different frustrations of aging. Regardless of what you may need now or in the future, you can plan ahead to make sure you’re covered! Here are a few steps you can take:

  1. Make sure you have a rock solid support network. Tap into a group of fellow retirees, colleagues, and friends. Staying socially active can be a game changer for your mental health in retirement.
  2. Consider finding a trusted therapist or counselor to help you through the aging process.
  3. Create a plan for where you’ll live when you can’t care for yourself anymore. This might mean an assisted living facility, a group home or a continuing care retirement community (CCRC).
  4. Think about moving in with a roommate, or to a retirement community. This can help you if you need help with small daily activities (like heavy lifting) but still want to have some freedom.
  5. Look for an estate attorney who can serve as a trustee and potentially provide guardian services if needed.

Financial Planning

Without sharing a spouse’s financial plan, or your kids to fall back on, you need to make sure that your retirement plan is airtight. This might mean creating a robust savings plan, ensuring that you have a pension plan lined up, or thinking through how you want to take your Social Security to create a consistent income for yourself. Your financial plan will need to include any potential medical or assisted living expenses, as well.

Leaving a Legacy

Although many retirees leave their estate to their spouse or other heirs, you’re in a unique position as a solo ager. It’s important to know that you can absolutely leave a legacy behind, and that estate planning is equally important for you. As a solo ager, you can build an estate plan that focuses on making an impact in a way that is meaningful for you. That may mean using your wealth to support a cause or organization you’re passionate about, to set up a scholarship fund at your alma mater, or any number of other ways.

Partnering With a Planner

Solo agers can benefit from partnering with a financial planner. Together with your planner, you can build a strategy for covering any potential expenses that could catch you off guard as a retiree.

Want to learn more? I encourage you to get in touch! I’m happy to walk through how a financial advisor can help you create a plan for a fulfilling (and financially safe) retirement as a solo ager.

Wood Smith Advisors, a woman-owned Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), is a fee-only financial services firm that partners with its clients to simplify their financial lives. We focus on women, entrepreneurs, and individuals with complex financial situations, providing objective and competent advice, education and services to help them develop and build their businesses and reach their financial goals. We can be reached by clicking here.

"Finance Made Simple" blog posts are intended for educational purposes and not for specific advice. Each person’s situation is different. Consult your financial advisor for advice relating to topics discussed.

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