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Embracing independence | The unique challenges of being single in retirement

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By Capital Partners Ambitious Retirees

Being single in retirement means you can make genuinely independent decisions. There’s no risk of someone else spending your savings, you don’t need permission for controversial purchases, and you can maintain a rich and rewarding social life on your terms with your schedule.

Though, there are also many unique challenges to being single in retirement. You cannot combine living costs with a partner, there may be less financial security, and you can’t rely on a companion for social events or if you have a health emergency.

Be involved in financial decisions

According to MoneySmart, the ASFA Retirement standard suggests a single person in Australia should be able to live comfortably on $45,962 or modestly on $29,135¹. Many actions can make a big difference to your savings, such as consolidating your superannuation into one account so you pay fewer fees, making extra contributions to grow your superannuation or changing your investment options. An adviser will review your situation and create your personalised plan.

It is easier for couples to accumulate wealth than it is for singles. If you are ‘suddenly single’, you might not have much experience in financial planning. Advisers at Capital Partners have found that one person typically manages the finances in most couples, while the other is far removed. Statistically, most married women delegate financial planning to their husbands, yet most women outlive their husbands, meaning they become financially independent without much knowledge of their financial status.

Wealth Adviser Kathryn Creasy explains that women can find it overwhelming to make decisions. Engaging the support and direction of financial advisers can help illustrate a path forward. You can read more about why women in crisis should seek financial advice here.

Maintain your social life

Before retirement, your workplace provided an opportunity to interact with others. Now, you may feel lost and isolated, particularly if you don’t have a companion at home for company. If you are naturally reserved, you may find it challenging to take the initiative socially, but you still need a network, even if you want to set limits to your social life. Try joining social or community groups to pursue a hobby or stay active. Going for a daily walk around your neighbourhood is a great way to chat with people and make friends. Retirement specialist, Damon Sugden, has a podcast episode dedicated to the importance of keeping social in retirement.

If you have moved abruptly from married to single, you might feel inhibited about doing things independently. However, you can still live a rich and fulfilling life by being social and putting yourself out there.

The author of So You Think You Are Ready to Retire, Barry Lavalley, says that “self-starters” are the most likely to thrive during retirement. He defines self-starters as people with “hardy personalities [who] believe they have control over their own lives. They seek to control whatever they can, including socializing with others if they want to.”

Capital Partners’ advisers have the experience of assisting hundreds of clients in navigating retirement to help guide you in a direction that suits your lifestyle.

Have a support plan

Quality friendships and a support network are necessary for everyone at all stages of life but is vital in retirement. If you’re single in retirement, ensure you have someone you can call if something goes wrong. This can look like a neighbour or a relative providing support in an emergency.

Further, it is essential to establish a support plan if you are injured or sick and need to go to the hospital. Who will you call to ask for help? Who can you rely on to watch over your house and pets while you’re away? Thorough planning and foresight can result in greater peace of mind, meaning you can handle any issues swiftly and efficiently.

If you or someone you know could benefit from speaking to an independent financial adviser, please do not hesitate to contact us.

The information provided on this site is of a general nature only and may not be relevant to your particular circumstances. The circumstances of each investor are different and you should seek advice from a financial planner who can consider if these strategies and products are right for you.

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