Approximately 31% of people living in the United States are single and around half of them aren’t planning on changing their relationship status.
Being single has its appeals—you can form deeper relationships with family and friends, have more independence, and enjoy richer life experiences. But there can be challenges as a single-income earner, like difficulty building wealth, buying a home, or even taking care of daily expenses.
There are financial steps you can take to ensure you can have the life and the retirement you want, while maintaining your singlehood.
Share Expenses with Others
Chances are if you’re single, you have friends and family who are, too. Consider ways you can work together to share expenses:
- Go grocery shopping – Buy bulk and divide large portions, and freeze what you don’t need right away.
- Split a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box – CSA boxes often contain more produce than one person can consume at one time. Split a box with a friend!
- Join in potluck cooking – Create a rotating meal plan with friends who like to cook.
- Set up a carpool – Consider sharing a vehicle, and associated expenses, or tackling your errands together.
- Share a data plan – Family cell phone and data plans tend to be cheaper.
- Scan for group discounts – Vacations, spas, and other experiences are often cheaper when purchased as a group.
- Consider a roommate – Having a roommate can help you save money on rent or a mortgage, utilities, and repairs.
- Split subscription costs – Streaming services and other products often offer friends and family plans. Ask if your friends would want to go in on a service you all enjoy.
Focus on the Future
The following tips are good for everyone to consider, yet for a single person carry a bit more weight:
- Establish an emergency fund – Putting just $50 a month into a savings account can put you well on your way to establishing an emergency fund. You’ll want three to six months of expenses saved.
- Set up a budget – It’s a good idea to know how much money you’re earning and spending each month. It helps to imagine your savings as buckets—one for vacation, one for monthly expenses, one for fun experiences. Imagine being able to save enough for your dream vacation because you were able to cut back spending in other areas! The Federal Trade Commission has a budget worksheet that can get you started.
- Work with an advisor – A financial advisor supports your financial planning. They can be especially helpful if your finances are complex. Learn how to find a trustworthy advisor.
- Save for retirement – Your CalPERS pension is a great starting point for the retirement you desire. Retirement savings plans, also called deferred compensation plans, work alongside your CalPERS pension and personal savings to provide you with income during retirement. Discover which plan is right for you.
- Set up a college savings fund – ScholarShare 529 is California’s tax-advantaged college savings plan. It’s designed to help families save for future qualified higher education expenses.
- Plan for your future health care needs – Increased costs in later retirement generally revolve around health care. CalPERS Medicare plans cover many costs, but you may still need to plan for copayments and coinsurance. You may also need to plan for home health services, care in an assisted living facility, or other long-term support. Consider the type of care you might need in the future.
- Update your beneficiaries – You can change your beneficiary online through myCalPERS. Check out our video, When to Change Your Beneficiary Designation After Retirement, for a quick overview.
- Create an estate plan – It isn’t an easy topic to think about or discuss but having an estate plan, as well as a health care proxy, in place can help ease your mind as you approach your later years. Discuss your wishes with your family and friends.
Being single has its advantages and challenges, and making smart decisions with your savings can help you enjoy financial security and a fulfilling life. By doing the basics, like setting up an emergency fund and saving more for retirement to supplement your CalPERS pension, singles can keep their independence well into their golden years.