Retirement provides one with ample time to follow one’s passion or routine that they would have possibly not been able to rigorously follow in their working life. But for singles or those who are living alone, retirement brings forth some unique challenges. They may face these issues after retirement, and therefore, they need to plan for it well in advance, too.
According to the estimates of the National Commission of Population, the elderly Indian population would be around 138 million in 2023. Separately, a 2018 study published on the National Library of Medicine (NLM) website found that the elderly people who are single or living alone have to face issues in their social life and financial matters.
Says Shweta Jain, founder of Investography Pvt. Ltd, “The challenges of singles could be sickness, disability, loneliness, etc.”
Let us see in detail the issues the single elderly could face and how they cope up or avoid them.
Financial Burden Of Finding At-Home Caregiver: Whether one is single due to the death of the partner, divorced, or has never married, approaching retirement means older age and a higher need for healthcare. One with family members have the privilege of get at-home care, but for single retirees, it may get strenuous when one is not well, or develops issues, such as mobility. For those retirees living alone, even basic care may feel too demanding due to ill health. To cope with this situation, one can hire a caregiver, but this will put an extra burden on the finances.
Keeping Track Of Finances May Become Strenuous: No matter how keenly you have been doing financial planning all alone your entire working life, it may become difficult to keep track of everything with growing age.
Also, various expenses, which could be shared with family members, and benefits that could be availed of, would remain out of the bound if one is single. Health insurance coverage as a family member, and support from children, are some of the benefits that come at no cost for the beneficiary.
Loneliness: While discussing retirement planning, finance remains the focal point and a basis to deal with other aspects of life, such as health, hobbies, travel, or even something as simple as eating out. However, there are other aspects that may easily go unnoticed.
Many a times, retirees say they miss their working days in office. Notably, it may not always be about the office, but rather about missing social interaction with colleagues. Retirement may get lonely if you are single and have been busy working your entire life, and if you have no other people to talk to besides colleagues.
What Can You Do?
As a single person, your resources are collected by you only, be it financial, social, or others. Retirement will bring you more time; however, if you have not planned on how to spend this leisurely time, chances are you would get weary with nothing at hand but to just look forward to the next day with hope.
Jain adds, “Retirement can be boring if one is not used to a quiet time. A lot of money and a lot of time can be a dangerous combination. Ensuring keeping busy and healthy is critical, as one can become quite lonely, and other ailments could crop up due to this. When you are single, sickness and disability scare you more than death itself. So, ensure you have adequate health insurance and a critical illness policy.”
Besides, have some friends or social life around to stay lively, and find trustworthy people to support you in times of need. So, as a single, while planning for retirement, you need to be mindful to earn enough as well as plan your finances in such a way that the non-financial needs are also taken care of properly.