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By: AgFed Credit Union

Welcome to AgFed Credit Union's MoneyDig blog! 

Get confident about your personal finances with a number of articles, tips, advice and more.


The Retirement Primer - 5 Tips for a Successful Single Retirement

 Feb 13, 2024
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Preparing for retirement is a major life event that requires decades of planning. Retiring alone can be even more daunting because you’ll need to take specific steps to ensure you’re ready to leave the workforce and to live out your years on your own. Here are five tips for a successful single retirement. 

  1. Ensure you have adequate financial resources 

Your first step to consider when retiring alone is making sure you have adequate resources to support you through retirement. Take stock of your retirement savings and consider all income streams you anticipate having during retirement, such as pension plans, Social Security payments and retirement account withdrawals. At this time, you may also want to sell some investments and place the proceeds into stable funding so you can live off them during retirement. 

  1. Create a budget

Next, establish a realistic budget that can help you live a financially responsible life after retirement. 

As with all budgets, you’ll make two columns: one for all income streams and one for all anticipated monthly expenses. Be sure to include all sources of funding you’ve already identified. For your anticipated monthly expenses, use the costs you currently have, incorporating any anticipated changes that will take effect, such as a lower housing cost. Also, make sure your income column adequately covers your expenses and make adjustments as necessary. 

If you’re having trouble establishing a reasonable budget for retirement, you may want to consult with a financial advisor. Strategic planning can help pave the way to years of living without financial stress.

  1. Designate an emergency contact

Living alone can be rewarding and freeing, but it does come with downsides. One of them is not having a nearby relative in case of emergency. It’s a good idea to choose a friend or relative to serve as your designated emergency contact before you retire. Let this person know you’ve chosen them for this role and that you entrust them to make emergency decisions about your health and welfare. 

Once you’ve chosen your emergency contact, draw up a medical power of attorney contract so they can legally make decisions on your behalf. Save your friend’s contact info in your phone under “In Case of Emergency,” or “ICE,” so someone can easily find this number in your contacts should the need arise. 

  1. Build a strong social network

Retiring alone doesn’t need to mean retiring in isolation. You can be proactive about building and maintaining a strong social network for an enjoyable retirement. Actively seek out social opportunities in your community, such as clubs, classes or volunteer work. Attend local events and gatherings to meet like-minded individuals who share your interests. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with a fellow browser at your favorite clothing store or a frequent patron of the cafe you stop by a few times a week. Common interests and life circumstances can create a mutual bond that can turn into a genuine friendship.

Technology can also be a valuable tool for staying connected, especially if you have friends and family who are scattered across the globe. Embrace social media platforms, video calls and online communities to foster meaningful relationships. Joining local or online groups can provide a sense of friendship and help combat feelings of loneliness.

Lastly, to ensure you have a strong social network throughout retirement, consider a single-friendly retirement community. This can be a great way to meet other solo seniors who are also your neighbors.

  1. Pursue your interests and hobbies 

Finally, a great way to ensure your retirement is fulfilling is to continue pursuing your interests and hobbies and to develop new ones. Use this time to explore activities that bring you joy, learn more about your favorite passions or even take a class in an area that captivates you. This will make your retirement more pleasant and help you use your golden years well.

Retiring alone is a significant life transition. With careful planning, though, it can be a fulfilling and rewarding chapter of your life. Follow these tips for a smooth and successful single retirement. 

Your Turn: Are you a single retiree? Share your best tips and tricks in the comments.