sixtyandme logo
We are community supported and may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Don’t Be Afraid to Retire Solo – You Are Not Alone!

By Lori Martinek September 11, 2022 Lifestyle

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 themselves 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 book, Retiring Solo, I write about how to create community, live creatively, and stay healthy and active through our 60s, 70s, 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!

Let’s Have a Conversation:

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? Please share with our community and let’s have a discussion.

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Judith Louise

Solo to me.….its fine when you are mobile, have personal freedoms and good health. Being solo – my beloved husband of 52yrs is seriously ill in hospital. Not being blessed with children we lack an immediate support system. I have a rare spinal disease and don’t drive, holiday or shop. To visit my husband I must travel 50mins. I don’t see him as often as I like because I continuously have to find someone to drive me.. Friends have busy lives. Family have health issues. Of course they have all driven me once. For over a month my husband has been in hospital. So ten drivers multiplied by one journey equals ten visits in thirty days. According to the doctors he will remain in their care for another five weeks. A rare blood disease has run its poison through his organs. Requiring dialysis and open heart surgery as treatment. I have never felt more vulnerable and alone in my life. I am 70yrs young but my body is much much older.


I enjoyed your article, thank you so much for your enthusiasm and support for going solo in retirement. I retired unexpectedly due to a layoff eight years ago at 62. Divorced after 34 years, on my own with a mortgage, dear friends having moved and family far away, I was terrified at how I would make it. I’d already started over once after my divorce eight years earlier. So after great thought and discussion, what did I do? Sold my condo and moved in with my then fiancé, eleven years my senior, got married after a year … which worked nicely for a time until I realized it didn’t. And there I was without my home to return to and once again (secretly) trying to figure out what to do.

Thankfully one day, in a fit of unexplained anger, he ‘invited’ me to leave – which I quite happily did – and never looked back. I drove 10 hours to the city where my family and longtime friends lived and started all over … again. And I’ve been truly HAPPY from the minute I left until now, four years later. Despite currently going thru a very long divorce process with nothing coming from him, I discovered that being solo suits me just fine.

I’ve managed to find a very nice affordable apartment to rent, have friends nearby, am closer to family now and am able to earn spending money by babysitting their pets (they’re thrilled to have a great pet sitter – win/win!) and doing a couple of housecleaning jobs for friends.

Even tho I’m lucky to f have close friends nearby, I love doing things on my own – movies, concerts, shopping, travel, restaurants – it’s great to be in charge of my own life. I stay up as late as I like, sleep in if I feel like it, watch what I like on TV and eat popcorn if I feel like it for supper. I answer to no one but myself and I love it.

I have learned that my fears were unfounded and despite living on a fixed income I now know I can manage now that I’ve gotten over the fear and relied on all my life experience as an intelligent woman of 68. Things work out. Hard times don’t last. As one wise older woman said, don’t be a nurse or a purse. I tried both and I’m much happier now on my own! I’m rooting for you!

Julie Hocking

Enjoyed you article very much and agree 1000%
I guess I’m one of the lucky ones as well it not at all afraid of being/ doing/ coping with being solo.
The only time I do wobble a little is if I’m not at all well, however I have a “ special friend” and he helps if needed and a few close girlfriends I can rely on at the time. Other than this situation it’s all YOU GO GIRL! lolol
jules from Oz.


I created Twifties, a concept for the “Fun People over 50!” many years ago when I realized there was so little “out there” created just for us.

One of my concepts is Twifties Activity Companions, where we can easily find people who like the same activities that we do. We can find them right there, at the event! For example, at a concert, if there is a Twifties Chill Spot set up, people can socialize with others of like mind, and find new buddies to go to events with. Groups of friends, not dating.No risk, no downside, no fees! If you are interested, find me on Instagram or Facebook!
MsTwifty on Instagram
Lauren Teton IRL, founder of Twifties


I was married at 18. We divorced after 36 years. I have worked abroad since 2007. Now I have returned to the USA. Living solo seems preferable to living with my kids and their families. I see that I am going to need to learn how to make friends while making ends meet. I appreciate this website. Turning 65 has been scary and a little confusing. I’m glad to know that others are in this journey with me.

The Author

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 small business ownership. Her latest book, Retiring Solo, is available on Amazon.

You Might Also Like