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Are Wives Prepared for Life Alone As They Age?
It's no secret women traditionally live longer than men. The questions they need to consider is how well they'll be living if their husband passes earlier than they do.


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Wives should have an understanding of their retirement situation the includes a plan without their husband.


They need to understand their financial situation, what would happen if their spouse dies and where all the important papers are kept.”
The trends are clear: as women age odds are they will be living alone, largely because of either divorce or widowhood.

What may be less clear for many of them is whether they are prepared for that life aloneóboth emotionally and financially. Although both men and women could live three or four decades in retirement, itís more likely for women because they have longer life expectancies. A caveat is they often have less in savings, and smaller or no pensions so their longevity can work for them and against them.

Almost half (46 percent) of women who are 75 or older live alone, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Servicesí Administration for Community Living. But women, many of whom are heads of households, donít always do a good job of planning for their retirements because they spend so much of their time thinking about the needs of othersótheir children, their spouses, and their aging parents.

Women need to realize that their happiness and security in their later years can hinge on so many things, and not just their savings. So many factors come into play. Some mistakes women make in planning for retirement, and the following are pitfalls women should look out for now, including:

Failing to participate in planning. Many women traditionally have left the retirement planning to their husbands and thatís a mistake. Women should be actively involved. They need to understand their financial situation, what would happen if their spouse dies and where all the important papers are kept. When a meeting happens with a financial professional, they should be part of that and help make the decisions.

Underestimating how long they will live. For some reason, many women have trouble imagining just how long retirement might last. Life expectancy for women in the United States is about 81, and thatís an average. Many women will live into their 90s and some will pass 100. When planning and saving, women need to consider that they might still be living 30 or 40 years after they retire.

Failing to protect their health. Maintaining your general health and well being is important because medical costs can eat into retirement money. The nest egg that someone thought would be more than sufficient can start disappearing quickly when there are significant medical issues. Women need to make sure they get exercise, eat healthy meals and keep up with those doctor visits.

So much of everything above is connected. When women feel that they have a good financial plan in place, they are more likely to feel secure and thatís good for both their physical health and their emotional health.

Susan L. Hickey is a financial professional at Your Own Retirement, LLC. She helps guide clients, many of which are single women or female heads of households, on the many facets of planning for retirement. Because of her advocacy Sue combines numerous elements of retirement income planning through the use of insurance products, which includes strategies for claiming social security benefits, Medicare costs, long-term care concerns as well as traditional income needs.† She holds her life and health insurance licenses, and has earned the distinguished Retirement Income Certified Professional designation.


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