Single Women Have a Unique Retirement Problem™

Much of the discussion concerning retirement planning is targeted toward men who are retiring from their careers with a spouse who seems to be considered 'along for the ride'. Perhaps that scenario was true in the fifties, sixties and seventies but, for a lot of the population, that is no longer true today.

Among the Baby Boomer generation are millions of single women who must plan for their retirement independent of any spouse. This is a double edged sword. While this independence eliminates the responsibility to provide for another person in your retirement years, it also means that there is only a single source of income to fund the retirement.

Obviously, the earlier that a woman begins to think about and plan for her retirement, the better off she will be when she gets to the retirement "Red Zone". The "Zone" begins 5 years before actual retirement and ends 5 years after your retirement date. At all times before you enter the Zone, time is on your side. If you make mistakes or the market for your investments has a downturn, you still have time to recover.

It is really important that you obtain some really good and independent advice concerning your retirement planning. By "independent", I mean a Certified Financial Planner to whom you directly pay a fee for his or her advice. Do not depend on advice from anybody who derives their income from a commission or fee based on the investment of your funds. This would be like asking a beautician if you need a new hairstyle !

Once you are in the Zone, however, you no longer have the advantage of time on your side and mistakes made during this time can prove very costly. During this time, for example, your investment strategy will likely become more conservative to reduce the potential for large losses in your investment portfolio. Beware of any advice during this time which points toward more risky investments.

While in the Zone, you must avoid doing anything that will disturb your retirement financial plan. Many just-retired women, feeling free of the ties that bound them, rush off to travel the world or invest in playthings (condos, lakehouses, motor homes, etc). You must avoid this temptation unless you are among the most fortunate of retirees!

For most of us, it would be good to consider using your free time to get involved in a post-retirement activity that will generate some extra cash and give you something productive to do so that you can retain your sense of self worth and remain as active as possible. Any extra money that you can earn from such an endeavor (and there are many, many such opportunities out there!), can be used to minimize the amount of your retirement nest egg that you will use each year.

You don't need to 'go to work' at another J.O.B., that is not what retirement is all about! You can find opportunities, though, that will allow you the freedom to do and go where you want and still provide some level of income. You probably won't require a tremendous income when you evaluate your retirement plan in its entirety. But, every dollar that you can keep from spending during the "Red Zone" years will provide a greater level of security for the rest of your retirement years.€™t

By Don Seibert


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