Most people do!
Have you considered your marital status during retirement – and its financial and social impact on you? According to the US Census Bureau, 36% of people over age 65 were single in 2019. And as of 2019, there were almost 15 million widows and widowers in the country. So, whether you are already single or believe you will never be single - this is for you.
If you enter into retirement divorced, widowed, or have never married; you tend to plan better to be single because you are. One thing you may have neglected to think about is what your life would look like beyond your career. How will you fill the “well-being” gap your career has provided you over the years—the social, mental, and physical aspects? We wrote a piece on “Retirement Readiness” several years ago called—Will You Flunk Retirement? We encourage you to read it.
Another overlooked gap is the “Who:” Who will help you when your health begins to fail you—who will help financially, mentally and physically? A few years ago, we saw a victim of elder abuse—a wonderful, intelligent single woman who had no family. A “new” friend in her life began to help her in all ways as her health began to fail. Unfortunately, her legacy won’t be maintained as she intended due to the financial drain this friend put on her estate.
And then there is that chance of marriage... or remarriage. What would this look like since you have already accumulated your wealth? It is always easy to think rationally as long as you are not in love, but when you are; all rationale goes out the door. Moreover, kids from a previous marriage can make this even messier.
It is common that if retirement is heavy on your mind, you are primarily focused on maximizing every avenue you have for income. It may be unpleasant to think about, but it is an important part of planning to consider what will happen when a spouse dies. Things to consider are: Will income be lost? And if so, how to prepare for that scenario. Am I prepared and knowledgeable enough about our finances to take them over if necessary? By sitting down and assessing your situation, goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon, we can help you plan for retirement years, including what to do in the event of a spouse’s death. It’s important to have a solid plan in place to take care of each other. And frankly, if you are married, your planning is harder. You not only need to plan for the scenarios we just talked about, but you also need to address everything we discussed a single person has to plan for as well.
For years we have used the saying what you don’t know that you don’t know is often what will end up hurting you. These are just a few of those little pieces you need to know so it won’t hurt you!