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Jan presenting for AARP in Dublin, Ohio (Sept. 2013)



Send me your questions!

I'm going to be on Money Matters with @jeanchatzky soon to talk about singles and retirement - what questions do you have for me? They don't have to be about money.  Thanks.

Jan on Boomer and the Babe radio show

Interview with "Boomer and the Babe" radio show on December 6th at 1 p.m. ET: "Tips for Single Women's Retirement Bliss"


Single ladies: just because you’re living on one income, doesn’t mean you can’t achieve retirement bliss. FOF Jan Cullinane, author of The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement, shows you how.

And, married FOFs, listen up too! According to Jan, “even if you are married there’s an 80-90% chance you’ll be single at some point in your life.”

1. Separate your wants from your needs. Studies have shown that when women are asked what they ‘need’–they include professional hair coloring, vacations, buying gifts for occasions, high-speed internet. These are things that maybe our parents generation didn’t think of as needs. Really think about your needs compared to your wants as a start to your ‘lifetime planning,’ a term I prefer to use over ‘retirement planning.’ When you think of it this way, you’re less likely to put it off.

2. Pay yourself first. Say you’re divorced or widowed and have boomerang kids who return to live with you. Or, say you want to pay for your kids or grandkids education. Take care of your financial needs first–it sounds selfish but it’s not. You don’t want to become a burden on your children and run out of money. Kids have a lot longer of horizon to recuperate than FOFs.

3. Consider downsizing your home. This can be a great way to save money. Let’s say you’re living in the Northeast somewhere and you could sell your home there and live a lot less expensively somewhere else–really think long and hard about that. Your money could go a lot farther. Also, when you choose a home where you’ll spend your post-career years–make sure you can live there as long as you can. Having a first-floor master bedroom, curbless shower, comfort height toilets or non-slip flooring isn’t always what you’ll be looking for when your house hunting, but it’s important.

4. Be flexible about working. Working can accomplish a lot, and not only benefit you with money. It can give you structure, intellectual stimulation and a social life. So, working in your “retirement” years can be a great thing, even if you are scaling back. There are some part-time jobs such as a classroom aid, crossing guard, Starbucks or Trader Joes employee that provide health benefits. We are not talking about huge bucks, but the benefits can go a long way in making your retirement successful.

5. Stay healthy. By exercising and practicing good nutrition you will reduce the odds of falling ill with expensive diseases and conditions. If you do happen to become sick, if you are in good health, you’ll be in a better position to recover.

6. Delay your social security as long as possible. Some people just can’t do that, but if you can and you live long enough you certainly recoup more.

7. Practice. Practice living on what you feel your retirement income will be. Also, practice feeling resilient so that if you’re knocked down you can get back up again. Single women are great at that, because they are responsible for themselves and have developed great social support.


"CNBC Bullish on Books: The Single Woman's Guide to Retirement: New Book

What is 25 million strong and growing? It’s the number of single (never-married, divorced, and widowed) women over the age of 45 in the United States. Why the increase? I attribute this growing demographic to what I call the “5Ds”: Death of a spouse (women have longer life spans); Divorce (about a fourth of all divorces are between couples 50+); Delayed marriage (women are waiting longer to get married; Dumped (women can be on either side of this equation, the dumpee or the dumper); Don’t want to be married (many women are perfectly happy being single). And, think about this: Even if you’re happily married now, there is an 80-90% chance you’ll be single at some point, and responsible for all decisions.

Click to read more ...

Five Retirement Planning Tips for Single Women (Steve Vernon, CBS Moneywatch)

Single women face significant retirement planning challenges, whether they've always been single or are now divorced or widowed. If you're a single woman, you'll be making most, if not all, of your financial planning decisions by yourself, so you're largely on your own to make sure you're financially secure during your retirement years. To do that, you'll want to learn as much as you can to make the best use of your financial and social resources.

Click to read more ...

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