Are you in your 60s and single? Whether you find yourself solo by choice or by chance, embrace your independence! You’re certainly not alone.
There were just over 40 million adults ages 65 and older in 2014, representing 13 percent of the U.S. population according to the US Census. That percentage is expected to increase to 20 percent in 2030, when the entire Baby Boomer generation will be 65 or older. America is getting older, much older – and it is also becoming more single.
The same Census data revealed that single persons made up more than half of the population in 27 of the 50 states and that 34 million people (28 percent of the U.S. population) were living alone – up from 17 percent in 1970. More Americans are living alone and liking it. Life does not require a partner to participate.
Today’s singles (of all ages) are leading full lives, are happy with their lifestyle and are enjoying their independence. And – they are far from lonely or isolated. Studies have shown that single men and women tend to be more social and involved in their community and with their families than married couples, who often “turn inward” after coupling up. Solos tend to be a caring, social bunch.
The reality is that most Americans will spend more time solo than in a married or committed relationship over their lifetimes, and especially as they grow older. Solo is no longer just “a stop” on the way to “a happy ending.” For many, it has become a lifestyle choice and, often, the destination. For some, it’s an unexpected development or the unavoidable result of growing older.
If you are navigating your 60s alone, this is truly your time — whether you are retired or still working. Make it all about you. Plan for your financial and emotional goals. Create a strong sense of community so that you have a social, emotional or caregiving support network when you need one.
Retiring solo – and growing older in general – is all about choices. It is about choosing how to spend your time and with whom, and choosing to protect your health and strengthen it, so that you don’t have to fight to regain it in the future.
Most importantly, it is about choosing to begin. Regardless of what your life may be like right now, you have the power to make choices that improve it. Or as George Burns famously said, “You do have to get older, but you don’t have to get old.”
My new book, Retiring Solo, outlines how to plan for a happy, healthy, independent future that includes good health, friends and community. It focuses on the benefits of being solo.
You don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself. Your days are yours to plan and enjoy. You can eat what you want, when you want and with whomever you want.
You have confidence that comes with age and experience. You’re not scared to ask for what you want or need, or to say “no” when necessary. Likewise, you can accept a “no” without being devastated.
Your money is yours to save, spend and care for. Financial decisions are yours to make.
You can travel when and where you want to. And you can be messy or neat. You can spend as little or as much time as you want with friends, dating or gloriously alone. It’s your call.
You’re happy with who you are and what you want from life. As a result, you no longer need to care about the Joneses and what they have, or what other people may think. You have confidence in yourself and you are happy. You may even be sassy. That’s a term that the Daily Mail coined to describe women who are in their “single sexy 60s.” I hope that it applies to you!
Embrace your single, 60 self and get ready to have your best year ever. You can make 2017 anything that you want it to be. Remember: The choice is yours – and yours alone – to make.
What do you like about being single in your 60s? Do you find yourself spending more time with other women who are in the same situation? What advice would you offer to someone who is in their 60s and newly single? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section.