Single People and Retirement Question

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Limoncello402
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed May 03, 2017 3:58 pm

Single People and Retirement Question

Post by Limoncello402 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:53 am

I'm not an early retiree--I like my job, it is low stress, etc--but will be retiring in about 4 years now. I've started to do some general planning, and the finances are in very good shape.
My work as an academic has been all consuming for about 40 years--graduate studies, then in this university for nearly 30 years. I moved here specifically for the job and hence the vast majority of friends were made at the workplace. I realize now that I am scared of retirement due to the question of what to do? I really envy those with partners who can plan for golden years of travel and fun together. I don't have that. I would really like to do significant travel but will either be doing it alone or joining travel groups of some type. I dream of being a snowbird for a couple months each year, but dread going to a place where I will know no one and just experiencing loneliness. I expect also to do some volunteer work, but am undecided right now where to start getting involved in that. Most of my hobbies were put on hold so long for my all-consuming academic work that I hardly know how to return to them.
My typical recreation now is: regular exercise in a club that I really like, reading, movies and dinners with friends. But those things will not sustain me in retirement. And once I'm done with working (unlike some academics) I have 0 desire to continue my academic work, like writing and publishing. Been there, done that.
Would love to hear from other singles about how that envisioned retirement and how it has worked out. I need inspiration.

thewizzer
Posts: 257
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2012 10:11 pm

Re: Single People and Retirement Question

Post by thewizzer » Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:00 am

Why are you assuming you will stay single? Is that your desire or are you just resigned to it?

It’s never too late to find love.

mouses
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Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 12:24 am

Re: Single People and Retirement Question

Post by mouses » Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:17 am

I'm not sure why you think you need a partner. I've been single all my life, and I enjoy traveling by myself. It's a much better way to meet local people than if you're with someone or in a group. By meet people, I do not mean dating situations, but just getting to chat with folks. Plus you can do what you want, when you want.

gotester2000
Posts: 118
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:59 am

Re: Single People and Retirement Question

Post by gotester2000 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:29 am

Find a partner☺ - how were you passing time after work all those years?

My wife is nagging me all the time and kids constantly demanding, but without them my time wont pass at all.

ResearchMed
Posts: 5830
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: Single People and Retirement Question

Post by ResearchMed » Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:54 am

Limoncello402 wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:53 am
I'm not an early retiree--I like my job, it is low stress, etc--but will be retiring in about 4 years now. I've started to do some general planning, and the finances are in very good shape.
My work as an academic has been all consuming for about 40 years--graduate studies, then in this university for nearly 30 years. I moved here specifically for the job and hence the vast majority of friends were made at the workplace. I realize now that I am scared of retirement due to the question of what to do? I really envy those with partners who can plan for golden years of travel and fun together. I don't have that. I would really like to do significant travel but will either be doing it alone or joining travel groups of some type. I dream of being a snowbird for a couple months each year, but dread going to a place where I will know no one and just experiencing loneliness. I expect also to do some volunteer work, but am undecided right now where to start getting involved in that. Most of my hobbies were put on hold so long for my all-consuming academic work that I hardly know how to return to them.
My typical recreation now is: regular exercise in a club that I really like, reading, movies and dinners with friends. But those things will not sustain me in retirement. And once I'm done with working (unlike some academics) I have 0 desire to continue my academic work, like writing and publishing. Been there, done that.
Would love to hear from other singles about how that envisioned retirement and how it has worked out. I need inspiration.
As one idea (there are others), perhaps you might see if your university's Alumni Group has any travel groups.
If so, you'd have an automatic "connection" in many ways, and conversation would almost start itself, above and beyond the travel topics, which would also add opportunities.

You might also start to meet new friends that way, in addition.

If you enjoy that, then other affinity groups (e.g., Smithsonian, National Geographic, etc.) might be easier than just some commercial group tour, although those might also be enjoyable.

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

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midareff
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Re: Single People and Retirement Question

Post by midareff » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:55 am

I was "between" wives for 17 years and worked 60 -70 hour weeks most of the time. I like to travel and did organized group tours that catered to singles. I went to China 2X, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Egypt, Kenya and Tanzania, South Africa, Victoria Falls, Botswana, Zululand, Swaziland, Scotland, Ireland, England, France and a few others out of country I'm probably missing at the moment. Made lots of friends on these trips. The China trips were very small group and great fun... about 12 people first trip 7 the second. Just Go man, Go.

Cyclesafe
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Re: Single People and Retirement Question

Post by Cyclesafe » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:13 am

When I retired I took multiple "times out" touring around the US and Canada solo on a bicycle for months at a time. Being alone enables contacts and associations that are simply unimaginable if one were with a partner. I think its a great way to transition into solo retirement. Adventure Cycling has organized group trips that will teach one the skills needed to eventually do it on their own. Alternatively, you might easily meet people on these trips who would be eager to set off with you on a future "independent" trip.

But the difference between me and you though, is that I had a spouse to return to if/when I wished. Not having that safety net might be tough. But depends on the person.

Society is certainly not kind to single people, especially as they get old. One learns that the average person one meets couldn't care less about you and is sure to assume that you are some variety of deviant or another. I think a thick skin is mandatory.

You are four years out, so its great that you are thinking this through. My brother is a professor and he claims that he will never retire. He seems to think that his younger colleagues will continue sucking up to him even as he gets older and older and that they will not envy and covet the senior slot he is taking up at his university. Knowing when to fade away is important.

Midlife: A Philosophical Guide by Kieran Setiya is a recent, useful book that emphasizes "atelic" activities over telic activities. IOW's do not dwell on activities that have a beginning, middle, and end, but instead focus on processes. For example, don't "remodel your kitchen". Instead, wake up in the morning to improve your physical environment - whatever which has priority in the moment. When one recognizes that these tasks need to be performed by somebody, sometime, then an overall orientation to doing something every day that improves ones condition is an atelic activity. No beginning, middle, and end.

Another example is health. Forget goals whatever they may be. Instead recognize that optimizing whatever level of health one was blessed with should be an objective for every human being on the planet. So again, don't resolve to lose X pounds by Y date, instead manage your food intake and exercise on the margin. Make the mindful choices throughout the day that are healthy - shun those that are harmful. Think atelic.

More to the point. Being single, by choice or by happenstance, requires a different mindset than what our couples-oriented society enshrines as "normal".

sergio
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Re: Single People and Retirement Question

Post by sergio » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:11 am

My uncle divorced when he was in this late 30s and never remarried. Retired in his mid 50s after a very successful career. Spends most of his time traveling and spending time with female "friends" around the world (China, Philippines, Peru etc.) Not that I condone his lifestyle, but I'd say he's by far the happiest person I know in our family.

fposte
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Re: Single People and Retirement Question

Post by fposte » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:22 am

I'm another single academic with an all-consuming job approaching retirement. Unlike you, I'm going to go on the early side (pre-60), which is somewhat heretical in academics where, as you intimate, you're supposed to publish until you're 90. I have some of the same concerns as you so I'm doing some of the same mental work.

I like travel and usually travel alone, but I have some physical challenges that can complicate it, so I'm going to start easy. Weekend driving trips, countries I've already enjoyed and wish to return to, visits to places with friends I haven't seen in a while. Maybe I'll go bigger later and maybe I won't; I've got nobody to please but myself, and while I don't worry a ton about the single female factor it matters more when you're in physical difficulty.

I'm also looking at local volunteer, continuing ed, and musical possibilities; even if I can't start them now, I can start to identify people who have that involvement or identify possible interesting classes so I'm not walking in cold. There's also a ton of house and garden stuff I want to do (everything on the "get around to it" list).

I'm also consciously noting and staying in touch with colleagues who have retired in ways that might work for me. It's easy only to see Professor Nevergone, who at 90 still totters into the office the department desperately wishes they could repurpose, but there are other people who, at my university, hit full pension and said that was enough, thank you.

I suspect the first few months to a year I will overplan out of the fear of underplanning, but then I'll revisit that approach.

CULater
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Re: Single People and Retirement Question

Post by CULater » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:46 am

Glad you started this thread. I am in your situation flashed forward. My background was academics and research also, so I'm the introverted cerebral type. Retired, getting old, and single. Had a long term relationship but she decided to demote me to "friend" status, while I desire to have a full-time companion and partner. I've done the snowbird thing and you're right -- you are by yourself and lonely in a different place. Things seem very superficial even when you do things with others. I dread getting old without a caring partner. Never was the outgoing, socially-participating type so it's harder. As I age, attractiveness to others is waning and their attractiveness to me is waning too. I look at women my age and they look like my grandmother. Of course, I'm only 40 in my mind's eye so I don't realize that I look like their grandfather to them. My mother is 100 and has been living in senior homes and assisted living for several years. I've seen them all and know my fate -- it's really unacceptable. Do everything in creation to meet people, get involved in meaningful pursuits, find a good companion while you have the time. It only gets more difficult and after awhile you just don't have the motivation to do it anymore.
May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, The foresight to know where you're going, And the insight to know when you've gone too far. ~ Irish Blessing

HongKonger
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Re: Single People and Retirement Question

Post by HongKonger » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:09 am

Never married and don't plan on partnering. Retired early. Single the whole time. LOVE it! I don't have to consider anyone else in anything I do, or plans I make. I'm certainly never lonely.

truenorth418
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Re: Single People and Retirement Question

Post by truenorth418 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:10 pm

Interesting thread idea. I am happy to share some random thoughts as a 53 year old never married retired guy.

-While working, my work colleagues were basically a proxy "family" for me. After retiring 7 years ago, I missed those daily human interactions. I missed some of my work friends. But then I remembered that many of the people I worked with were douchebags, which was one of the reasons I wanted to retire in the first place! At least in retirement I can choose the people I want to spend my time with.

-Soon after retiring I found a new girlfriend. We dated for about 4 years. She is a very nice person, but she never completely accepted my early retirement status. I love to travel for weeks at a time, while she has to work and couldn't accompany me on some of my trips. This contributed to some friction between us. I have found the same dynamic with other women I have dated since retiring. In fact, I am happier without a girlfriend or wife at this stage of my retirement. I love to come and go as I please, travel for weeks or months at a time. I don't have to check in with anybody. One of my dreams has been to be a perpetual traveler for a couple of years, live for months at a time in the great cities of the world. I probably couldn't pull off something like that if I had a wife or girlfriend.

-If I did want to date more actively, there are plenty of online dating sites and apps. There are apps for short term hook-ups as well as the more traditional ones for long term relationships. And a retired person has the time to do as much online dating as they want.

-Having more free time has allowed me to meet lots of new people from many walks of life. Are you familiar with meetup.com? I have met several new friends via a couple a groups I found on meetup. I have taken classes and met people that way. I have taken cruises alone, and several cruise companies such as NCL have excellent solo cruiser programs where it's super easy to meet people. There are several travel companies that cater largely to singles. Even when I travel alone I take organized tours which is a great way to meet like-minded people.

-Being retired has allowed me to spend more quality time with my extended family and friends. So the quality of the relationships I already had has become even better. I recently completed a week in Mexico with some buddies, and I am now setting up 10 days in Colombia with another couple of friends. I could not have done these things were I still working at my old company because I wasn't allowed much vacation time.

-I have a few married friends who would like to retire but are hesitant to so so because of spouse issues. One hates his job but he feels compelled to keep working because his wife is not ready to retire yet. I have another friend who recently retired and he is finding it a difficult adjustment to be home all day alone with his wife. He said it has changed the dynamic of their relationship and that she is constantly making snarky comments about him lazing around the house all day. So just because someone is married doesn't make early retirement any easier.

-When I am older and unable to travel so much and have a more stationary lifestyle, I will look into retirement communities where there are a lot of activities and social interactions built-in, such as the Villages or something like that.

Now, don't get me wrong, being an single retired guy, yeah sometimes I get lonely, but I always remind myself that this is largely under my control - it's a function of my own decisions with what to do with my time and energy. I can choose to stay busy, join clubs, do online dating, travel, reach out to family, make an extra effort to meet up with friends. And with a little effort my social life has become better than ever.

mark4269
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Re: Single People and Retirement Question

Post by mark4269 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:21 pm

I'm single guy in his 40s. No problem except in four out of five stories about retirement, the story approaches it from the perspective or a real or stylized married couple, and that doesn't translate to my situation at all.

Barefoot Cane
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Re: Single People and Retirement Question

Post by Barefoot Cane » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:27 pm

I suggest that you start looking for things to do now before you retire. I am single and always had a number of things I was interested in but had no time to do. For example, the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, art in Santa Fe, Monterey Car Week, Barrett Jackson and other car auctions, Ameila Island Concours, the Presidential Libraries, Osh Kosh air show and on and on. It is a lot of fun. There is always someone to talk to and as you are looking at something the conversation naturally develops. I fill in the gaps between trips with art shows, concerts, plays and an occasional book signing in the city where I live. There are discount web sites and a single ticket is often at a discount in a good location in the venue. I have lunch once or twice a week with professional friends and walk every morning at seven with another professional friend. I looked into volunteer work but orientation made it sound like it would not be fun and more like a job so I decided not to do it.
As far as having a companion, I have friends both male and female (but mostly men) that complain that there spouse does not want to go anywhere or do anything. Easier to make plans when the only person to consult is yourself. If you run across someone that is fun and easy to get along with by all means take her along.
I was a late retiree too, but I started with events I was interested in a few years before I became "unemployed". I was glad I did. If you have been successful in your career you can be successful with your retirement. You need to develop a plan and work it. Just like your work you will have successes and failures but you just keep going forward with the plan. Just like Bogleheads always do.

Dottie57
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Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:43 pm

Re: Single People and Retirement Question

Post by Dottie57 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:31 pm

Cyclesafe wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:13 am
When I retired I took multiple "times out" touring around the US and Canada solo on a bicycle for months at a time. Being alone enables contacts and associations that are simply unimaginable if one were with a partner. I think its a great way to transition into solo retirement. Adventure Cycling has organized group trips that will teach one the skills needed to eventually do it on their own. Alternatively, you might easily meet people on these trips who would be eager to set off with you on a future "independent" trip.

But the difference between me and you though, is that I had a spouse to return to if/when I wished. Not having that safety net might be tough. But depends on the person.

Society is certainly not kind to single people, especially as they get old. One learns that the average person one meets couldn't care less about you and is sure to assume that you are some variety of deviant or another. I think a thick skin is mandatory.

You are four years out, so its great that you are thinking this through. My brother is a professor and he claims that he will never retire. He seems to think that his younger colleagues will continue sucking up to him even as he gets older and older and that they will not envy and covet the senior slot he is taking up at his university. Knowing when to fade away is important.

Midlife: A Philosophical Guide by Kieran Setiya is a recent, useful book that emphasizes "atelic" activities over telic activities. IOW's do not dwell on activities that have a beginning, middle, and end, but instead focus on processes. For example, don't "remodel your kitchen". Instead, wake up in the morning to improve your physical environment - whatever which has priority in the moment. When one recognizes that these tasks need to be performed by somebody, sometime, then an overall orientation to doing something every day that improves ones condition is an atelic activity. No beginning, middle, and end.

Another example is health. Forget goals whatever they may be. Instead recognize that optimizing whatever level of health one was blessed with should be an objective for every human being on the planet. So again, don't resolve to lose X pounds by Y date, instead manage your food intake and exercise on the margin. Make the mindful choices throughout the day that are healthy - shun those that are harmful. Think atelic.

More to the point. Being single, by choice or by happenstance, requires a different mindset than what our couples-oriented society enshrines as "normal".
I have always been single. Life is good. I have friends who are single and friends who are married. Both are good to have.

Pkans for rettirement include

- sewing clothes again - maybe some classes. I used to be excellent at this.
- using my handloom again.
- auditing college classes
- working on health issues
- CSA - cooking fresh food. Part of health"
- seriously thinking of taking h&r block class on taxes this summer. Extra money or volunteering at tax time.
- fix up sewing and weaving room.
- Get together with friends for breakfast.
- Continue with local Bogleheads meetings
- Library volunteer.
-learn IOS programming

Not a big traveller.

btenny
Posts: 4332
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 6:47 pm

Re: Single People and Retirement Question

Post by btenny » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:51 pm

I have a older single friend who is a retired academic. He moved to Lake Tahoe (from LA) to ski and play in retirement. He teaches snow skiing part time for fun and to keep busy. He meets lots of people that way so he is pretty plugged into the local area. He is a member of the summer sailing league and owns a small sail boat. He travels a lot as a single. He flies to visit his kids back east once or twice a year. He drives to visit his other kid/grand kids 2-3 times a year. He takes his grand kids to play golf and the beach. He is a long term volunteer at a disabled summer camp for kids. He goes there every year for two weeks. He also goes back to his old school and visits for 2-3 weeks every year. He sees his friends and goes to some events with them. Then he takes trips with those friends to Hawaii or some other location. He basically is on the go all the time.

So do not worry. Get involved. Enjoy and Good Luck.

Freefun
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:55 pm

Re: Single People and Retirement Question

Post by Freefun » Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:05 pm

Am in a similar situation. I found Meetup helpful to find folks with common interests. I've travelled and while I've done many trips alone, I've also used companies such as Backroads which have small groups ~20 or so. There's numerous other trip companies like REI, VBT, etc. and I plan on trying different ones. I understand the challenge as I'm also in my 50s and it's not as easy making friends as it was when growing up.... but I think if you get out there and do things you enjoy doing with other people then you increase your odds for success.

Lynette
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Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 9:47 am

Re: Single People and Retirement Question

Post by Lynette » Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:39 pm

There are so many, many things to do. At the moment I'm auditing a classes in photography and Spanish at a community college. I'm not really good at photography. My recent assignment was to take a photography and superimpose something on it not to size. It's snowing and despite this I discovered a lot of places close to my house that I did not know existed. There is a half mile trail close to me I did not know existed though I've been in the same house for over 25 years. The kids in the class take photos indoors so I decided to do the same. I've got to cut out an image in Photoshop. Try to get the light and shadows correct - mine had a gleaming streak of light through it. Then watch innumerable Youtube videos on how this is done. Of course, the presenters all cut the photo out with a clean background. Then I spent four hours trying to get a remote to trigger my DSLR so that it would take photos .. I won. Then spend hours and hours in trying to learn Photoshop.

Then there is learning the subjunctive in Spanish. I'm good at grammar but have arranged with two older members of the class to meet for conversation practice. The list goes on and on and on ...

quantAndHold
Posts: 1354
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Re: Single People and Retirement Question

Post by quantAndHold » Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:41 pm

I assume that now that you're close to retirement, your job could be less "all consuming" than it has been. How about taking half a step back from work and starting to put your retirement life into motion? Put some thought into what you might like to do, and then some effort into starting to accomplish those things.

The most fun I've had in retirement, which Lynette also alluded to, is in taking adult ed classes in things that I'm really bad at. Getting over the idea that I need to be good at stuff is really freeing.

MandyT
Posts: 155
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2016 2:29 pm

Re: Single People and Retirement Question

Post by MandyT » Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:18 am

I retired from a tenured faculty position at 55 last summer. It seems typical for tenured faculty to teach and do research well into their sixties and seventies, but that wasn't me--I may do some part-time teaching at some point, but I have no desire to continue to do research.

I was married for quite some time but have been happily divorced since 2002. At this point, I have no desire to share my living space with anyone, and I've really enjoyed traveling by myself. I hope it's not too morbid to point out that some couples plan to enjoy their golden years together until death or incapacity interferes with their plans. You may benefit from reframing your situation from "Look at all of those happy couples doing fun things together, I don't get to do that" to "I'll get to plan my retirement based on my own preferences, abilities, and limitations". And, who knows, maybe you'll meet someone who enjoys doing the same things you do!

I had originally planned to move to a nearby large city when I retired, but I'm keeping busy enough in the town of the campus where I worked, and the rent is low enough, that I haven't been in a hurry to move. Once the drive to the large city for cultural and sporting events gets to be annoying enough or problematic enough, I may move. For now, I'm happy to stay here and I love being retired!

I'm not sure if some people realize how all-consuming a faculty position can be; in some ways it's a cushy job, but one can spend literally all of one's waking hours on teaching, grading, advising, research/publishing, and committee work. You might need to allocate an hour or two a week to thinking about what you want your retirement to look like and researching different things you might want to do. That might ease the adjustment once it comes and convert some of the apprehension to excitement.

UpperNwGuy
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Location: Washington DC

Re: Single People and Retirement Question

Post by UpperNwGuy » Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:16 am

My experience:
— divorced at age 47
— worked long hours with frequent business travel from age 47 through 60
— dated several people during those years, but never remarried
— retired 5 years ago at age 61
— gave up on dating
— travel to Europe twice a year for 2-3 weeks at a time, always alone
— only domestic travel is to visit family

I like my life. The only mystery is how long my good health will last and how fast I will decline once the decline begins. My father is still alive at age 96 and didn't move from independent living to assisted living until age 94, so I hope to follow his good example.

By the way, my father's transition from independent living to assisted living required only a slight upward bump in his monthly budget, and that was because he is single (widower). On the other hand, when my late mother transitioned from independent living to skilled nursing, the cost increase was considerable because my father had to pay for both his independent living apartment and her bed in skilled nursing. Fortunately Medicare and Blue Cross paid much of her costs.

WhiteMaxima
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Re: Single People and Retirement Question

Post by WhiteMaxima » Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:54 am

Each individual situation is different. As long as you feel life is happy.

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