The skills needed for navigating and planning for solo aging are new and unlike the way it was for our parents. One reason is you live alone and unlike your parents, it’s all on you--everything. From bills to mortgages to car loans to food and all costs of living falls on you, the solo individual.
Our lives are vastly different from married people because the individual doesn’t have someone to do the simple tasks--pitch in with chores around the house, run an errand, change a light bulb, fix the toilet, to more complex things like drive the person to the eye doctor, or check in on them if sick, to have a conversation with after a tough day, or get help with making medical and financial decisions. So many things folks living alone must face on their own.
A friend says it best, When my husband was alive and I was working, I often came home really exhausted, and found dinner cooking on the barbecue. Even long after the bereavement was over, I missed having somebody to share opinions, ideas and my day with. Since I have no children, I often wonder exactly what on earth I am going to do when I can no longer drive, or need help because I am ill.
Solo Boomers are different from Older Relatives
My dad retired at 63 because he had learned to invest and save those nickels wherever he could. He opened various savings accounts, CD’s, bought bonds and certificates of deposits, and invested in his company pension plan on top of social security. My parents never traveled or went on vacations.
Boomers' Retirement Preferences
Boomers have much different retirement preferences, plus we’re living longer and retiring in our seventies, maybe, but certainly not our 60s. For solo agers we can’t retire that young. Most of us wait till our seventies. Furthermore, we like to travel, dine out, and spend more on entertainment and attractions. At the same time, we enjoy learning new skills. But we’re faced with the question of how much money we’ll need to save for a comfortable retirement lifestyle.
What’s more relevant, solo boomers don’t want to retire and grow older like our parents did--we want more meaningful lives. It’s quite obvious we grew up in a very different world than they did.
In the next post, I'll discuss where solo boomers go from here when planning ahead for the future: Skills Needed to Plan for Aging Alone.