Showing posts with label help for single retirees. Show all posts
Showing posts with label help for single retirees. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

How to Avoid Poverty for Single Women Retirees

If you are a single women approaching retirement, you are at much higher risk of living in poverty as you age.  Approximately one out of three Baby Boomer women is either divorced or never married.  While they may have managed just fine on their salaries during their working years, the sad truth is that single women over the age of 65 who were never married, or who are divorced or widowed are three times more likely to be living in poverty

The statistics are even more dire for minority single women than they are for Caucasian women, although a significant number of single women of all races are impacted.

Poverty Rates for Retired Single Women Over Age 65

Caucasians - 1 out of 6
African-Americans - 1 in 3
Hispanics - 1 in 2

Reasons for High Rate of Poverty for Single Women Retirees

There are a variety of circumstances that contribute to the high poverty rates for single women over the age of 65.

*  Women who live with a spouse benefit from his Social Security benefits and pensions while he is alive.  In addition, they are eligible to receive their own payment that equals about one-half of their husband's Social Security, depending on the wife's age when she begins to collect.  If she becomes widowed, her Social Security benefits will usually be increased to close to what her husband was receiving before he died.  She may also have access to the proceeds of private pensions and investments.  Single women do not have the benefit of receiving as much income from a spouse.  Even if they are divorced and were married over ten years, at most they can only collect half of what their former spouse received in benefits, with no increase if he dies before her.

*  In general, women earn less than men, so the amount they have paid into Social Security and the amount they will collect based on their own earnings is often substantially less.  They are more likely to be in either lower paying or part-time jobs.  If they are unmarried at the time of retirement, their benefits are likely to be much lower than the benefits men receive.

*  Women often spend less time in the workforce because they are frequently expected to drop out periodically to act as caregivers ... either for their children, their parents or other members of their family.  On average, women caregivers take 12 years out of the workforce, which dramatically reduces their lifetime earnings and Social Security benefits.  This can have a devastating effect on retired women, since half of elderly women depend on Social Security as their only source of income.

*  In addition to qualifying for lower Social Security benefits, women also tend to have much less money saved in private retirement accounts and pensions.

*  Women tend to live about 3 to 4 years longer than men, on average, which means their meager savings must last longer.

*  The average man over 65 receives $27,657 a year in income from a combination of Social Security, pensions, dividends and other income; the average women over 65 receives only about $15,323 a year from all income sources.

*  Marriage rates continue to decline, which means the issue of poverty in retirement for single women is likely to continue for generations.  In fact, it is estimated that 25% of young adults will never marry.  When this is added to the number of women who will be divorced or widowed, many young women are likely to face the same situation as the women in the Baby Boomer generation.

Proposed Government Solutions to Reduce Poverty for Single Women Retirees

Currently, no one has come up with a solution to the issue of how to help single, elderly women retirees.  Here are some of the ideas that are being tossed around:

*  Expand Social Security benefits for people over the age of 80 or 85 ... an age group that is primarily female.

*  Change the way Social Security benefits are calculated so that women get credit for those periods of time when they are working as full-time, unpaid caregivers for their children, parents or other family members.

*  Giving everyone either a flat minimum payment or a means-tested minimum benefit, regardless of their marital status or how much they have earned during their working years.

What Women Can Do to Lower Their Own Poverty after Retirement

Many women who are struggling to make ends meet month after month may not be able to do very much to improve their situation.  However, until the government makes changes, there are a few things women should try to do, if possible:

*  Work full-time rather than part-time, for as many years as possible, to increase the amount of Social Security benefits they will receive in the future.

*  Look for jobs with the government or employers who provide a private pension or match contributions to a 401(k).

*  Contribute to an IRA or other pension plan.

*  Delay retirement until age 70 in order to maximize their Social Security benefits.

Other Help for Low Income Retirees

In addition, there are programs available to help low income retirees.  You may be interested in reading my article on this topic:

"Public Assistance for Low Income Retirees"


"The Next Social Security Crisis: Why American Women are Bearing the Brunt of the Retirement Crunch,"  Time Magazine, August 3, 2015, pg. 48.

If you are interested in more information about financial planning for retirement, where to retire, health issues, family challenges and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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Saturday, May 3, 2014

New Blog for the Single Retiree

There are so many new adventures in store for people who are retired or planning to retire soon, that it is nearly impossible to cover every possible scenario.  That is one reason why I periodically introduce my readers to new books, articles or blogs that I think you will find helpful.  I have no desire to limit your research to just the articles I have written.  My goal is to expand your horizons and knowledge as much as possible.

In fact, I feel that one of the benefits of reading my blog is that I try to either summarize the information I discover and save you time, or I try to provide you with direct links to sources of information that would be too cumbersome to summarize on this blog.  In this way, I feel that I am providing my readers with comprehensive retirement information from a wide range of sources.  I hope to be the one site you can come to for all types of useful resources to help you get the most out of your senior years.

With that thought in mind, today I want to introduce you to a new blog that was recently started by a friend of mine.  It is:

As you can guess from the title, Elizabeth, the author of the blog, discusses some of the joys and challenges of being a single retiree.  For example, she recently covered the problem of grocery shopping for yourself when you live alone and you have injuries or medical issues that could make it difficult for you to shop for your own groceries.  She explains how online grocery shopping works.

I found this article, and others that she has written, to be interesting and I thought that some of the readers of my blog might also be interested in following Elizabeth.  I hope that you will bookmark both of our blogs on your computer and check back frequently.

After all, it is quite likely that many of us will spend as least part of our retirement as a single person, either because of divorce or the death of a spouse.  Knowing how others have addressed the challenges could make life much easier for us.

I hope you enjoy her blog and consider it an enhancement to what you are learning from mine.  Meanwhile, I will continue to read and research more information that I believe you will find useful.

If you are retired, or planning to retired soon, be sure to use the tabs at the top of this blog to find links to hundreds of additional articles on where to retire in the United States and overseas, financial planning, medical issues, family relationships, travel and more.

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