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Solo Boomers have different needs


Solo Boomers – individuals born between 1946 and 1964 who are single, divorced, or widowed – presents a stark contrast to the retirement life of their married parents. It's not merely a reflection of marital status but embodies broader socio-economic and cultural shifts.

Let's delve into the key differences that shape the retirement experiences of these two distinct groups.

1. Financial Security and Planning: Married Parents' Era: Traditionally, the retirement planning of partnered individuals often rely on combined resources. Married couples typically pooled their savings, pensions, and Social Security benefits, providing a more robust financial safety net. The presence of a spouse also offered a form of financial backup in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Solo Boomers: Solo Boomers face the challenge of planning for retirement independently. This demographic must single-handedly accumulate sufficient retirement savings and often has only one source of Social Security income. The absence of a spouse as a financial buffer necessitates more meticulous planning and often a greater reliance on professional financial advice to ensure long-term security.

2. Healthcare and Long-Term Care: Married Parents' Era: Married retirees often rely on each other for care during health crises or the natural decline of old age. This mutual support system reduced the immediate need for external care services.

Solo Boomers: Without a spouse or immediate family member to depend on, Solo Boomers

See MARAK, page A6

Carol Marak Aging Matters MARAK

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must proactively plan for their healthcare and long-term care needs.

This planning often includes long-term care insurance, exploring community resources, and arranging for potential inhome care or assisted living facilities.

3. Social Networks and Community Engagement: Married Parents' Era: The social networks of married retirees traditionally revolve around family, long-standing friendships, and community ties, often cultivated over years of shared experiences.

Solo Boomers: Solo Boomers, especially those without children, may face a more fragmented social landscape.

Building and maintaining social connections require more deliberate effort, often leading to increased participation in community groups, online forums, and new social circles.

4. Housing and Living Arrangements: Married Parents' Era: Couples typically age in place or downsized to smaller homes, with the expectation of living with a spouse or near family.

Solo Boomers: This group is pioneering diverse living arrangements, including cohousing communities, active adult living communities, and even shared housing models.

The emphasis is on creating supportive networks while maintaining independence.

5. Legacy and Estate Planning: Married Parents' Era: Estate planning often focuses on transferring assets to a surviving spouse and then to children. The process was relatively straightforward, with clear heirs and beneficiaries.

Solo Boomers: Estate planning for Solo Boomers can be more complex, involving decisions about distributing assets to non-family members, charities, or friends. It also often includes detailed instructions for healthcare directives and end-of-life care.

The retirement journey for Solo Boomers is markedly different from that of their married parents and even of their married siblings and friends. Solo Boomers represent a significant and growing segment of our society, and addressing the unique retirement planning needs is essential for fostering a secure and fulfilling experience.

Carol Marak is an aging advocate and editor at Seniorcare. com. She's earned a Certificate in the Fundamentals of Gerontology from UC Davis, School of Gerontology. Aging Matters is a weekly column tackling everyday challenges that our growing elderly population and their loved ones face. It is also published in a variety of syndication partners including newspapers all over the country.

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