Suddenly Single and Retirement -
What do I do now?!
by Bruce Macdonald
Whether you've lost your significant other through a death or divorce, it is emotionally traumatic. You've made plans together about retirement, had great hopes and dreams and now all that has evaporated. Now - you're single with retirement approaching and without your partner. What DO you do?
The loss of your significant other, either through divorce or death, will have a huge impact on your life. Understand that you will experience certain common stages of grief. Each person will mourn the loss differently and for varying amounts of time.
There are 5 stages of grief you may go through:
1.Denial Stage - This isn't happening to me
2.The Anger/Resentment Stage- Why is this happening to me?
3.The Bargaining Stage - I promise I'll be a better person if....
4.The Depression Stage - I don't care anymore
5.The Acceptance Stage - I'm ready for whatever comes next
Remember as you go through these stages while the pain felt is real and strong, in time, this shall pass and you will smile and enjoy life again! I know because I've been there. Go easy on yourself and feel the real emotions. It is normal and healthy for you to have these feelings. Give yourself time to feel better. Lastly, treat yourself well. You have spiritual and emotional needs along with your physical health that needs taking care of.
You and your partner may have planned well for your future but becoming suddenly single is emotionally challenging as well as financially challenging. Women have a greater likelihood of being divorced or widowed at some point in their lives then men.
For women following divorce, the standard of living drops 45%, while for the senior citizen the effects are more devastating - 75%! For this reason, be proactive now in the financial arena if you still have your partner. Develop a plan that incorporates your short-term and long-term dreams and goals. Get involved with the process! Know what is happening with your finances.
If you haven't established a financial plan and are faced with being suddenly single, I would recommend a financial advisor. The advisor can tell you where you are financially and what strategies would help to improve your position - now and into retirement.
Hopefully, you have made non-financial retirement plans - plans for yourself and plans involving your partner. If you have, then, at least, you will still have something in place that may only need to be modified.
Is all lost if you don't have a plan now that I'm suddenly single? Hardly! Just don't put it off any longer! It may actually be therapeutic in the healing process by establishing a retirement plan. It will give you hope and help you see a brighter future does await you!
Those of you who still have a partner should ask this question - If my partner were to pass away or seek a divorce would I be prepared? If your answer is no, then you have some homework you need to get busy with! This is something you shouldn't put off - be prepared! Being suddenly single in retirement will add to the emotional stress without having plans to fall back onto.
Becoming single can simplify and complicate the issues of retirement. First, you now only have yourself to think about - no in-laws to worry about, no worrying about your partner's health. You basically can do what you want to do!
Conversely, you now don't have a partner to share things with or for emotional support. It means being deprived of the comfort of a partner and possibly may mean isolation and loneliness.
Do you need to build a stronger network of relationships? Is there someone who you can share your thoughts, feeling and experiences with? If not, should there be? Do you have enough close family members, friends or others who you can depend on for emotional support? If not, perhaps now is the time to start developing them.
Men and women who have chosen the career path that dominates their life may face the most difficult transition to retirement. It is this group of people who spend less time building their relationships that are in a more vulnerable position when suddenly single than those who have built relationships during their career.
Who would you turn to for help and support if you were suddenly alone in your retirement? Solitude can be an oppressor. It is extremely important for divorced and widowed retirees to get out and meet people. You must learn to be a joiner. What can you do to reach out to other people to build your future?
Remember - being alone doesn't mean being lonely.
When you reach the "Acceptance Stage" of grief you'll start to realize that you still have a wonderful, exciting life ahead of you. One filled with many new opportunities that can be fulfilling, rewarding and satisfying. Make plans to take advantage of the life that is ahead of you. Get out a big canvas, bright paints, and your brushes and start painting the most glorious picture of your new life!
About the Author
I work with professionals who are transitioning to retirement helping them develop a strategy for winning the game of retirement and creating a retirement that SIZZLES! Go to http://www.lifesbridge.com to learn more about what we can do together.