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Old 08-03-2017, 07:16 PM
 
Location: Central IL
15,247 posts, read 8,538,301 times
Reputation: 35677

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
It's impossible to boil the matter down to a dollar-figure, even approximately. It varies greatly, depending on myriad factors.

But it does seem to me that a reasonably well-established person, in midlife or beyond, is going to have a house (probably paid off), cars and so forth, and that with fastidious stewardship, these things can endure, without too much uncertainty (though there is always SOME uncertainty!). This means that the "capital costs" of living are going to be the same, for a couple as for a single person. Two presumably eat twice as much as one, but two don't consume twice as much propane to heat the house in the winter, or twice as much gasoline to drive for a dinner-treat at a restaurant - and that's just the petroleum products. Going further, two can motivate each other to perform preventative maintenance, whereas as single person might ignore the matter, resulting in a large future repair-expense. Two can better handle lawn-care, or a search for grocery-coupons, or shoveling snow on the driveway (instead of paying a laborer to do it). OK, now I'm starting to sound like Ecclesiastes! The point is that economy of scale, for two adults, is a remarkable thing - except, maybe, for healthcare.
Thanks for the great pep talk!
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Old 08-03-2017, 07:32 PM
 
Location: OH>IL>CO>CT
5,238 posts, read 8,409,707 times
Reputation: 7191
Originally Posted by eliza61nyc

I'll start his social security as a widow when I hit 60 while letting my grow until 70.




Quote:
Originally Posted by newcomputer View Post
I don't think it works this way but I would be very happy to be wrong
That's exactly how any widow/er can draw Deceased Spouse benefits while letting their own Retirement benefit accrue Delayed Retirement Credits (DRCs)

That's exactly what I did when my wife passed at age 60, I'm now 72.

BTW, be aware that if working for wages from age 60 to your FRA age, your benefit may be reduced until FRA age. Also if you start receiving benefits "early" between age 60 and your FRA, benefits will be reduced from spouse's FRA amount.

Last edited by reed303; 08-03-2017 at 07:41 PM..
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Old 08-03-2017, 07:45 PM
 
659 posts, read 325,222 times
Reputation: 1974
Great idea for a thread. When you are single, you still have to maintain a home that could fit two people just as well as one; and you are the sole bill payer. No back-up.


Its so important for singles to save for the future. That's the advice I received--start early. Now in retirement, I am still learning how to navigate financially.
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Old 08-03-2017, 07:46 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque NM
1,661 posts, read 1,527,059 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reneeh63 View Post
I've been divorced for many years and feel fine handling my own finances. What I'm finding though as I'm getting closer to actual retirement is that most strategies stated are implicitly for married couples and I need to dig deeper to be sure they apply to me. This is especially in regard to tax situations where filing single drastically lowers your brackets to the point where there is not a lot of room to maneuver.
Yes, I'm envious of all those strategies to stay in the 15% tax bracket and pay no taxes on SS benefits. I'll never be in that bracket and have run FIRECALC and i-ORP scenarios to evaluate delaying SS and doing Roth conversions but the impact on retirement income is very small. Web articles on financial planning for singles emphasize saving earlier and more since there is only one income but have little to say on tax strategies. The ER forum has some single retirees who weigh in on financial planning threads and I pay close attention to them but no clear cut strategies that would apply to most singles.

As a single female, I have budgeted more for home and car repairs as I'm not mechanical and keep my medical directive, power of attorney, and beneficiary forms up to date. I get to keep my health insurance in retirement and one advantage of being single is that my premiums for self are much lower than couples with no kids who pay family rates that are almost 3X higher than self.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffD View Post
There are several things that are taken off the table that impact couples:

The odds of making it into your 90's decreases significantly for 1 person compared to planning retirement finances for a couple.

You don't have to plan so much for long term care and Medicaid. If you're single and run out of money, Medicaid picks up the tab. If you're married, you can get close to wiped out if your spouse lands in long term care.
I see your point but most of the literature states that LTC insurance is very important for single women who are likely to live longer and will not have a spouse to look after them if they should become incapacitated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boater1 View Post
I think you don't see as much for Singles is that as couples, you obviously have 2 accounts and there are a myraid of combinations of those 2 accounts with different ways of obtaining a comfortable retirement.

As a single, you have 1 account, you have 1 path and that's it.
Not to many options for different scenarios except the usual, if you can, hold off not taking SS until 70 (if you can)
About the only decision to make after working to 70 is if you are a widow/widower and whether to take survivor benefit or not, or your personal benefit or not.

and as a single, you do not have to figure the "what if" my spouse passes away, how do I live. What income will there be
and the reverse, "what if" I pass away, how does my spouse live on what income.
this requires some planning on the future of the spouse that survives.

As a single, you pass away, your heirs get what's left, done.

But one thing single seniors should at least think about is what support will there be if you are sick or disabled.
Instead of a spouse caring for you in your home, you might have to give up the house and go into assisted living
Yes being single is easy-peasy. Fewer decisions but fewer options. I'd like to find some nice, deserving guy who is in financial straits through no fault of his own and have a sham marriage just so he could get my pension and SS survivor benefits.
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Old 08-03-2017, 07:52 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque NM
1,661 posts, read 1,527,059 times
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On economies of scale of marriage, the figure I have seen is that a married couple can live on 160% of a single person's income for the same standard of living.
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Old 08-03-2017, 08:01 PM
 
Location: Central IL
15,247 posts, read 8,538,301 times
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Doing a google search on "retirement advice for singles" almost everything was of the type "5 great tips...":

Here are six strategies to consider when planning for retirement on your own.

1. Start by making a plan. Write down your budget now and what you expect your budget to be in retirement. How much can you save each month? Aim to save 10% to 15% of your monthly income toward retirement....

2. Save regularly and invest. Cash won't deliver the returns you need. Talk with a retirement specialist about how you can invest your savings to reasonably expect to hit your target by your retirement date.....

3. Understand what Social Security benefits you may be entitled to. If you’re a single who never married, you’ll only have access to one Social Security benefit based on your own work history. But those divorced (after being married for 10 years) or widowed may be able to apply for spousal benefits as well. Know what you’re entitled to. (YES - this was old info)

4. Take full advantage of any tax-deferred savings accounts. These can include IRAs, 401(k)s, and even health savings accounts (HSAs), if eligible. A single person's income becomes subject to higher individual tax rates more quickly than a married couple’s....

5. Plan for potentially higher health care and retirement living expenses. Singles won't have the option of a spouse to care for them at home if needed later in life. ...

6. Singles need to protect their income stream in case of disability. Review your employer's disability insurance plan and consider how to supplement it if needed.


So super basic, half a dozen things in a 2 screen article - nothing in-depth... Interestingly, they were mostly geared toward single women, I guess because of the chance of becoming a widow?
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Old 08-03-2017, 08:02 PM
 
Location: DFW - Coppell / Las Colinas
32,019 posts, read 36,653,418 times
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Being 64 I was grandfathered the recent SS law change where I can draw my Ex spouse SS as long as I don't remarry which I plan to do and let mine grow to 70. She was born 1 year later and cannot do.

I think I'll just smile and not mention to her.

Also, being a senior single... I get the whole closet, can finally park in the garage and leave 3 pairs of shoes in the living room if I desire.
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Old 08-03-2017, 08:05 PM
 
Location: NYC
2,916 posts, read 1,590,302 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rakin View Post
Being 64 I was grandfathered the recent SS law change where I can draw my Ex spouse SS as long as I don't remarry which I plan to do and let mine grow to 70. She was born 1 year later and cannot do.

I think I'll just smile and not mention to her.

Also, being a senior single... I get the whole closet, can finally park in the garage and leave 3 pairs of shoes in the living room if I desire.
.....and leave the seat up!
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Old 08-03-2017, 08:07 PM
 
Location: NC
4,534 posts, read 7,324,734 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crusinsusan View Post
Great thread.

The thing I've been trying to find out is: how much is needed for one in retirement? Of course, every situation is different, but the general notion I've found is that a million+ is necessary for retirement. Well, is that for one or two? It seems to always be for couples, but I have to ass-ume, because the article/etc isn't clear.

I mean, would this number they throw out be halved (or not)? Or some other fraction based upon some figure about 2 living as cheaply as one? Then there's the more modest sum that I've seen spoken of: $500k. Again, that seems to be for couples. So if single, then is it $250k?

I just want some round figure that is clearly for singles, the way that the round figure is thrown out for couples. I'm not talking about percentage of income; that's out there. I'd like to know their best guess for the "final" sum.
As someone mentioned, the advice for saving a certain amount isn't the best advice (for everyone). I would start with what you currently earn vs spend/save on monthly needs. If you will have similar expenses in retirement, will you have a similar monthly income from SS, pension, retirement accounts. If not determine how, with the time you have till retirement, you will make up the difference by reducing expenses, upping your savings and investments.


From there, you can project what your retirement income will be, and what will be paid off by retirement, what large purchases you can project during retirement (replace car, etc.), and when your house will be paid off. You probably know that the goal should be to be mortgage free before or no later than by retirement. One extra payment per year will reduce a 30 year mortgage to around 17 years - depending on $$ value, etc..
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Old 08-03-2017, 08:11 PM
 
13,321 posts, read 25,569,771 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newcomputer View Post
I don't think it works this way but I would be very happy to be wrong
That is how it works as far as I know (my estranged sister is in this position. She thought she could collect both, but you get whichever is more, which is her own Soc. Sec. still more than the widow's amount).
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