Retirement and the Single Woman

Sunrise Senior Living  |  November 1, 2019
Retirement and the Single Woman
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Women find themselves living alone during retirement in greater numbers than their male counterparts. Researchers say forty percent of female retirees are single, compared with thirty to thirty-five percent for men. That gap continues to widen as the age of the retiree increases.

What is behind so many women entering retirement alone?

There are a variety of reasons, some new and some old.

  • Women live longer than men. That’s nothing new. While the disparity seems to be tightening, females still live longer. Women live to an average age of 81.1 versus 76.1 for men.
  • More women are opting not to get married. Women who fall into the mid-baby boomer category spent only an average of fifty-two percent of their adult years in a marriage. That number includes those who never married.
  • The trend of gray divorce is also contributing to more single women of retirement age. Where older women often remained in even the most unhappy marriage, their younger counterparts are not. In fact, researchers say today’s seniors are divorcing at twice the rate of previous generations.

What are the ramifications of facing retirement alone when you are a single female?

Single men and single women share some concerns, such as living in a secure environment and finding support with personal needs as they age. What’s different is the financial outlook. Retirement can be more of a financial challenge for senior women.

Finances and the Single Retiree

Here are a few factors women should keep in mind when planning a financially secure retirement:

  • Since women live longer, they’ll need to save more money. This can be especially challenging since men continue to outearn women. In 2019, women earn only seventy-nine cents for every dollar a man does.
  • Women will also spend more on health care during retirement than their male counterparts. Research shows that number can be as much as $235,000.
  • A single female who never married or never had children may also lack the support network to assist her as she grows older. It may be necessary to pay for transportation services, lawn care, housekeeping, and more. In many cases, it may be more cost-effective to move to independent living where services and support are provided.

Financing Senior Living

If you are a single senior exploring options for retirement living, how to finance it may be a leading concern. We encourage you to visit and review Affording Senior Living: Financial Options. You’ll find ideas for paying for senior living that range from veterans benefits to bridge loans.


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