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5 Financial Advantages of Being Single in Retirement



When it comes to retiring, there are plenty of financial advantages to having a spouse by your side. For example, you may have each contributed to an employer-sponsored 401k retirement plan or a shared retirement account for decades. If your household benefited from two incomes, you may have even paid off your mortgage and own your home outright.

However, being single in retirement can also come with its own share of financial advantages.

1. You don’t need an agreement to relocate

If you’ve dreamed of moving to Florida so you can be near the ocean when you retire, there is no one to put a damper on those relocation plans when you’re single. If you have a partner, however, moving to another state to retire has to be a mutual decision that makes both of you happy.

For example, a spouse who hates hot, humid summer days would probably nix a Florida relocation. Maybe they prefer four seasons in a locale that also comes with cold, snowy winters, which you can’t bear enduring for even one more year.

Find out: 8 Questions to Ask Before Relocating for Retirement

2. There’s no one else to blow through your savings

When a couple is married or living together, they have the advantage of amassing a sizable amount in savings over the years. At the same time, if one person is irresponsible, dishonest about spending or has a secret gambling addiction, their partner may be in for a big surprise when they find retirement or other savings dwindling, or even worse, nearly gone.

When you’re single, however, your bank accounts are your own. So you always know where you stand, since you’re the only person with account access.

Find out: What’s Causing America’s Retirement Crisis? 9 Statistics You Need to Know

3. You don’t need permission to make controversial purchases

With two people in a relationship, you must negotiate whether to make big purchases. For example, if both people agree that spending $120,000 on an RV that will rapidly depreciate, gobbles gas and comes with costly additional expenses such as insurance, maintenance and repairs, that’s great.

You can both pursue your nomadic travel dreams. But if one person digs in and says “no way,” that big purchase won’t happen.

On the other hand, if you’re single and want to spend a chunk of your savings or take out a loan on an expensive purchase, it’s solely your decision. That purchase may not seem wise to others, but it’s your life, and you’re not spending anyone else’s money but your own.

Find out: 7 Reasons to Work Part-Time in Retirement

4. No caregiving responsibilities for a spouse’s parent

Many people’s retirement plans get derailed for years because they must devote time and often, a good amount of money towards an aging parent’s care. Most people want to be there for Mom or Dad when they grow old and need help with health issues such as Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, mobility, or other serious health and safety issues.

But what if your duties caring for an aging parent one day end, and then it’s a spouse’s parent who needs part-time or even full-time caregiving? That responsibility may all be part of “for better or for worse,” but it’s also a huge stressor and can drain decades of savings if you must help pay for long-term or in-home care. The stress of caregiving can also negatively affect your relationship with a partner.

At the same time, there are two sides to this being-single-in-retirement benefit. If you have a partner, at least they may pitch in to lighten your caregiving load with your own parent.

Find out: 6 Caregiver Costs You Need to Plan For

5. Deciding when to draw Social Security is easier

When you’re married, the age at which you begin drawing Social Security retirement benefits could affect your spouse’s benefit, too. For example, if a married person begins drawing Social Security at age 62 rather than their full retirement age, their monthly Social Security benefit will be reduced by around 30%, which could significantly reduce the surviving spouse’s benefit later.

However, if you’re single, the only person who may struggle more financially in retirement due to taking Social Security early is you. So, if you feel confident you’ll have enough money with the reduced benefit, you have no one’s future retirement income to risk but your own.

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