retirement tips

3 Retirement Tips if You’re Single, Divorced or Widowed

Let’s face it,saving for retirement isn’t easy. It may be even tougher when you’re single.

According to the 15th annual Transamerica Retirement Survey published last year, 45 percent of unmarried workers age 50 and older do not have a retirement strategy, compared with 36 percent of older married workers.

If you have never been married, or are divorced or widowed, these three strategies can help you keep your finances on track as you plan for retirement.

Know Your Number

Everyone needs to know how much money they’ll need for retirement. When you’re part of a couple, one person usually picks up that duty. When you’re single, you’re on your own.

“I tell singles the act of sitting down and engaging in financial planning and getting to the number they’ll need for retirement is powerful,” says Manisha Thakor, a chartered financial analyst (CFA) and director of wealth strategies for women at Buckingham & the BAM Alliance. “You’ll say: ‘Wow, I need to save $10,000 a year,’ and break it down per month, and then it affects how you spend daily. The ones who know the number act differently.”

How so?

“When you start splurging at Marshalls or Target or T.J. Maxx, it makes you ask yourself: ‘Do I really need five of these? Do I really need it at all?’ ” Thakor says. “It can be even more important for singles who have their head in the sand.”

Max Out Your Contributions

Even if you haven’t aggressively saved for retirement, you can make big strides by contributing the maximum amount, including any catch-up contributions, to tax-advantaged retirement plans.

In 2015, you can contribute $18,000 per year to your 401(k), plus an additional $6,000 if you are 50 years or older, for a total of $24,000. Once that is done, open up an individual retirement account (IRA) and save more, says Stacy Francis, a certified financial planner.

For IRAs, the maximum contribution is $5,500 per year plus a $1,000 catch-up contribution for those 50 and older.

“That’s over $30,000 a year for retirement. That’s a nice chunk of money,” Francis says. “You might not be able to save more. So you want to make sure all your savings are working as hard as possible for you.”

Continue reading Retirement Tips for Singles on AARP.

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