How Single Women Can Thrive in Retirement

Author gives tips on managing finances, dealing with divorce, and looking for love.

Older woman on hiking trail
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Your book points out that many single women are concerned they'll run out of money in retirement. What steps can they take to try to ensure that doesn't happen?

First, instead of retirement savings, I like to change the thinking to lifetime savings. People may not work for so many years and then retire. They may be in and out of the workforce. When you think of lifetime savings, it means start now. Start as early as you can. Start putting money away. Live beneath your means. I like the idea of "put yourself first." If you have kids or grandkids and you want to pay for their college education, they've got a much longer time to recover than you do. So even though it seems sort of selfish, you're actually doing them a favor by thinking of yourself first.

Single women should think about having a roommate. An AARP survey found that 57 percent of women are open to a non-romantic roommate—and two can live more cheaply than one.

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You cite that about a quarter of a million women over 50 get divorced each year, and that two-thirds of divorces are initiated by women. Do you think that's a sign that a large number of women prefer to be single in retirement?

I don't know if they prefer to be single in retirement, but I think now women are getting to the point where they may not feel they have to have a man—good or bad—in retirement. I think they feel, in some cases, even if they're going to struggle more financially because they don't have a second income, it's worth the tradeoff. I think they feel more independent than women did in the past.

What overarching message do you hope readers of your book come away with?

I'd like them to think that the book is like a bunch of smart women sitting around and having a discussion with them—giving examples, sharing their experiences, providing resources, and doing it a non-threatening, helpful, supportive way. And for them to know that there is a lot of help out there.