Don’t Be Afraid to Retire Solo – You Are Not Alone!
I recently gave myself permission to retire solo.
I had been spending a lot of time thinking about what the future would look like for me as a single woman and a solo entrepreneur. (I am solo both personally and professionally.)
I knew that the quality of my life, both now and in the future, will depend solely on my efforts and that the quality of my retirement – whatever shape that may take – will also be entirely up to me.
That future could be more than 30 years long if even just one of the three online life expectancy tests that I took, prove to be right. I decided to create a plan to make the coming years the best decades of my life.
Skills Needed for a Solo Lifestyle
I realized that I am already solo and strong, thanks to my life experiences. In addition to being a solo Baby Boomer and a solo business owner, I am also a solo parent, solo homeowner, solo traveler, solo consumer working with a single income, and a solo voter and volunteer. At some point, I will also become a solo retiree.
Over the years, I have acquired the life skills that I will need to succeed in a solo retirement. Most likely, you have too. During the time that we spend on our own, we typically learn how to live, dine and travel solo, go to the movies or theater alone. We know how to enjoy parties without a plus one, and celebrate the holidays among couples and groups.
And if we haven’t, we should. Life does not require a partner to participate. The sooner you embrace that in life, the happier you’ll be.
All of these experiences help make us resourceful, independent and strong, and prepare us to create a plan to protect our independence in retirement.
Own Your Solo Lifestyle and Thrive
Regardless of whether you are married or in a committed relationship right now, the reality is that you will likely become solo again in the future. Statistically, 80-90% of all women will be solely responsible for their personal and financial health as they grow older, if they aren’t already.
Envisioning (and embracing) a solo future was an important first step for me. It will be for you as well. Accept that your future is your responsibility and then give yourself permission to begin planning for that time and your needs.
Don’t Carry the Bag Lady Syndrome Inside You
We all worry about ageing alone and potentially struggling with health or financial issues. This is also known as ‘bag lady’ syndrome, where even successful women envision somehow ending up destitute. Fear is a great motivator. Use it to plan for the best possible outcome.
I have personally felt more empowered and more secure since I fully embraced being solo. Why? Because I am now planning for my future much more aggressively.
In my new book, Retiring Solo, I write about how to create community, live creatively and stay healthy and active through our 60’s, 70’s and beyond. Are you ready for a retirement that could be up to 30 years long? It is never too late to add friends, fulfillment and security to your life.
Many of us have spent much of our lives taking care of others and their needs. Creating a plan for your solo retirement requires you to focus on you.
This is truly your time. Give yourself permission to create security and confidence in the future – your future – by developing a plan to retire solo and strong!
Have you been a solo woman all your life or is this a recent development? What qualities do you think are needed for a happy solo lifestyle? Are there any things that worry you about life as an older solo woman?
Lori Martinek is a successful entrepreneur, author and mentor to new and aspiring business owners. She is the owner of Encore Business Advisors, and the founder of @MindingHerBiz, a pro bono project which helps women embrace business ownership. Her latest book, Retiring Solo (2016) is available on Amazon.