Financial life as a single woman: enjoy today, plan for tomorrow

Article by: Nipapun Poonsateansup CFP®   Independent Finance Planner


If you are a single woman, raise your hand. Do you hesitate? Perhaps it's because there seems to be a subtle stigma to being an unmarried woman. But in fact, life on your own has lots of advantages, and you should enjoy it to the fullest. Just don’t forget to plan your finances well, so that you can continue to be comfortable, especially in your golden years.


Let’s consider the perks of being single. Freedom tops the list. You can live a life that is more independent, carefree and flexible than if you had a family. Above all, you don’t have the domestic obligations of taking care of a husband and children.  Raising a kid takes a great deal of effort, commitment and money. Since you don’t have this burden, you probably won’t have as much financial pressure as a mother does.


Of course, you still want to take care of your parents when they get old. Caring for parents might not be as costly as raising a child, but don’t forget that they get older every day.  Since health tends to decline with age, it’s likely that your parent’s healthcare expenses will rise. So if you are a single lady, you should take this issue seriously. (The same is true if you are a single man!) Save up some money so that you will be prepared. You can manage the risk by purchasing health insurance for your parents. Alternatively, you could start to put savings into a medical fund for your parents, especially if they have ever had any health problems. 

But the most important thing for a single woman is establishing a retirement plan. You want to be able to fend for yourself when you get on in years.  Be disciplined about saving. Don't be tempted to overspend just because you think you are free from family obligations.  Some individuals end up in dire poverty in their later years if they are alone and have failed to save.


You can get your retirement portfolio in shape by taking action:

  • Save up emergency funds that are enough to cover three to six months of spending. Three might be enough if you don’t have parents to care for, but six months is better if you are responsible for them.


  • Obtain appropriate health insurance. Review your coverage at least once a year.


  • Consider buying health insurance for your parents, if applicable.


  • Gradually build up a nest egg. Don't run up debt.


  • Prepare for retirement by saving and investing at least 10% of your income. Start as soon as possible after you begin your career. The earlier you save and invest, the faster you will build up wealth.


  • Draft an appropriate tax planning strategy to turn tax liabilities into savings.


  • Study up on personal investment and make a good plan. If you have few financial obligations and have a long-term investment horizon, you can afford to gear your portfolio toward higher growth by investing more in assets that carry higher risk, e.g., equities.


  • Invest in yourself and your own self-worth by constantly learning, growing and keeping fit. 

In fact, if you have enough retirement savings, you won’t need to worry that no one will be there to take care of you.  You don’t have children, but you might have a niece or nephew. If you have money, their parents (your siblings) will probably nudge their kids to be gracious and dutiful toward their aunty. After all, nieces and nephews make good heirs.


If you have money, then premium care, such as a top-grade nursing home, will be within reach. Nowadays, many entrepreneurs are preparing to serve the elderly affluent market, and more and more full-service nursing homes are being established. Don’t worry that you’ll feel abandoned or lonely. They’ll welcome you with open arms. But you have to be armed with money.


 One final point: apart from health insurance you also need to maintain your health and fitness. If you stay strong and youthful, you’ll not have to worry about becoming a burden to others.


 In the meantime, take pleasure in the happiness of being single. And start getting ready to live comfortably in your golden years.