A new study sees tough times ahead for baby boomers who retire single, or who become single in retirement. The report, “Single in Retirement,” released today by the BMO Retirement Institute, finds singles face “a unique set of financial, emotional and planning challenges” in retirement. And their ranks are growing quickly.
Among people age 65 or older, 47 percent of women and 18 percent of men age 65 now live alone, according to U.S. Census data–an increase since 1970 of 96 percent for women and 22 percent for men.
The BMO study says that while solo retirement is a growing trend, not all singles retire equally.
It draws a distinction between what it calls “Ever Singles”–people who have never married or who have spent a significant portion of their lives unmarried-and “Suddenly Singles”-people who have singleness thrust upon them by a divorce or the death of a spouse.
“It’s not the woman who’s been single all her life who’s most at risk,” said study director Tina Di Vito. “She’s probably under-saving for her retirement; but it’s the married person who’s been relying on their partner to handle all the financial matters who’s at greater risk. Suddenly they’re on their own and fully responsible for their own financial matters.”
Though single retirees are on the increase, Di Vito said not all financial planners give that fact sufficient weight when advising married clients. Singer did, said Zaslow. It was her husband who insisted that the couple see a financial planner.
Divorce rates for soon-to-retire baby boomers have surged over the past 20 years, even as those for other age groups have stabilized, according to the BMO report.