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Retirement planning differs for single folks

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By Reid Kanaley
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Retiring single has its privileges and challenges. There’s freedom, and there’s financial responsibility, which some people may find daunting. These sites help sort out the issues and answers.
The Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement, at Wiser, provides this retirement planning page with links to retirement calculators, explainers on reverse mortgages, pensions, divorce, veteran’s benefits and a whole lot more.
“Living alone as you approach retirement is hard work,” notes this post at, the financial-service firm for employees of nonprofits. The page aimed at single women in their 60s goes on: “Solid planning and good financial advice are important factors in transitioning smoothly into this next phase of life. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to retirement, so it’s important to make smart moves now to help make your next act be all it can be.” When it comes to making investment choices — which, a cited survey said, more women than men are uncomfortable making on their own — the post recommends some self-teaching at websites such as, and TIAA-CREF’s own Advice & Guidance.
The Canadian website Money carries this post about “going it alone” in retirement. It’s basically a case study about two single sisters — one a widow, one divorced — and their complaint that most of the retirement advice they were reading applied to couples. Writer David Aston admits that’s true. For one thing, you cannot simply look at what a couple need for a retirement nest egg and divide that figure in two to find out what a single person needs. “The fact is, singles will have to save more for retirement on a per-person basis than retirees who can split the load with a partner,” Aston says. That’s one of his “grim facts,” but he’s got good news, too, especially for those single people who haven’t had to spend potential savings on raising children.
The “Single Person’s Guide to Retirement,” at Bank of America’s, echoes the notion of “freedom from certain family financial obligations” as a possible advantage of the unattached life that can help singles save for their retirement. But it also acknowledges the financial challenges of saving on a single income and passing an estate on to heirs who may not be immediate family members. The page has a basic outline for making a plan, making saving a habit, building a safety net that might need to include long-term care insurance, and getting “your legal house in order” with a health care directive and designating powers of attorney for your finances and health.

©2014 The Philadelphia Inquirer
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