That's especially the situation if both are emotionally focused on each other's well-being. And that can be why Baby Boomer widows and single women, who lack that other, are vulnerable to mistakes in judgment.
The New York Times focuses on the financial plight of widows. Their finances decline about 37 percent after the death of a spouse, versus 22 percent for males whose wives die. The result can be chronic insecurity about funds. That coverage by the NYT should have included single women, that is, those of us who chose not to marry.
During the past 17 months, since I relocated my communications boutique, myself, and rescue dog Lily of the Valley, from the New York Metro Area to Tucson, Arizona, I have recognized how useful a man's thinking would have been. At least if he had been emotionally invested in me.
Had there been that presence in my life, I probably would have opted for Florida. That state provides more business opportunities than does AZ. Also, I wouldn't have had to sacrifice my life-long love of the ocean. The cost of living in much of FL is not higher than what it is here in the Southwest.
I can only speak for myself. However, I have observed the play-out of the choices of another woman who never married. She is my former classmate at Seton Hill University, Greensburg, Pennsylvania, Dr. Kathleen Huebner.
When contemplating retirement, she did the right thing. She told me that she had visited different parts of the U.S. and different kinds of housing concepts. Why she choose the retirement community Saddlebrooke, based in Oro Valley, AZ, puzzles me.
The documentary "King's Point" highlights the disappointment of many of those opting for the then-trendy concept of housing restricted to those over-55. The aura created of The Happy Valley For Seniors has generated over-building. As a result, documents The Wall Street Journal, there is a coming supply glut. Those in senior housing who want out might find it difficult to sell. In addition, the market value of their property may plummet. The playing field in real estate is tilted toward new construction.
When I first came to AZ, Huebner invited me to have Easter lunch at one of Saddlebrooke's dining rooms. Since she was showing me the ropes, I treated her. The cuisine was mediocre and no bargain. With the tip I popped for $70.00. The ambiance - old ladies gushing about food - was scary.
I had bunked in senior housing in New Haven, Connecticut before opting for my new life in AZ. However, I was still taken aback by Saddlebrooke World. Given the cost to buy-in, I had assumed the lifestyle would have been nirvana, compared to my leased 750-square-feet in the asphalt jungle. Wrong.
Unlike senior housing at Bella Vista, in CT, that in Saddlebrooke had no public transportation. Just about every bus in central CT stopped in front of my Bella Vista Building B. That means that when residents such as Huebner can no longer drive, they are stranded.
Also, there are no convenience stores, in fact, no stores at all in Saddlebrooke. At least not the last time I had the misfortune to be there. That lack of a general store can be isolating. In the Bella Vista complex there were a deli and pharmacy. Buses, public and private, transported us to nearby Walmart and Aldi. A hospital was nearby. Residents of Saddlebrooke have to be hauled into Tucson for medical emergencies.
In addition, the layout of Saddlebrooke is cookie-cutter. All the purchased residences are Southwest beige and the same basic structure. The first time there I got so lost a kindly couple in a SUV had to escort me back to civilization, that is, Oracle Road.
To back up, had I a male presence in my life, I wouldn't have chosen the segregated "over-55" concept of Bella Vista. I would have been warned that I needed more diversity among neighbors. Also, a male probably would have done the math for me. The supposed subsidized housing was no bargain for me since, given that I was still working, I paid "market rate."
When I searched for housing in AZ, it was only in multi-generational developments like Sierra Montana. I love watching the children in the courtyard have earnest conversations with their dolls and be engrossed with cartoons on their tablets. For the latter, they tap into the free WiFi from the property manager's office.
The good news is that there are services emerging, like the Women's Institute for Secure Retirement, which can reduce the vulnerability of widows and single women. But, from brutal experience, I have decided to bring more males into my business decisions.
For example, the man next store, also a Baby Boomer, has been explaining why I should shift out of my mutual fund. I'm listening - something I wouldn't have done before the mistake of bypassing FL as the platform for my new life.