Your Complete Guide to Retiring Alone

Saving for retirement involves lots of planning and calculations for every adult; however, if you are not married and don’t have children, you’ll need special strategies for retirement saving and planning.

If you are anticipating a single retirement, you are not alone. According to the U.S. Census, approximately half of all American adults are married. In addition, close to one-third of baby boomers don’t have children. Others may age alone due to the death of a spouse, a divorce or estranged or unavailable children.

Here’s what you need to know about retiring alone:

Create your own support system

One of the greatest challenges of retiring alone is not having a built-in support system through a spouse and children. Isolation and feelings of loneliness can be one of the strongest factors in early aging and general unwellness, so it’s a good idea to build your own support system if you’re planning on retiring single. This can take the form of a close group of friends who live near your home and are happy to join you for fun outings or occasional errands. If you don’t have this group of friends, make new ones by attending local social events through Meetup.com, befriending your neighbors in your community, or spending time at a senior center for active adults.

Identity your most trusted friend

It’s a good idea to choose one friend to serve as your emergency contact and to make decisions on your behalf in case you become incapacitated for any reason. Failure to appoint this person can mean decisions about your health and welfare can be relegated to your closest living relative, which may be someone with whom you have no relationship at all.

Choose your trusted contact and draw up a medical power of attorney so they can make decisions for you if the need arises. Save this person’s contact info in your phone, titled “In Case of Emergency,” or “ICE”, so someone can easily find this number in your contacts should the need arise.

Get creative about your housing options

When looking for a place to retire alone, there are loads of options to consider:

Move abroad to a country with a low cost of living where you can check out the sights, get to know the culture, and experiment with the cuisine.

Team up with a friend or two for built-in companionship and shared living expenses.

Choose a retirement community with senior-friendly amenities and walkable conveniences.

Consider long-term care insurance

Did you know that most adults turning age 65 will need long-term care at some point in their lives?

Long-term care can be expensive. As a single retiree, you’ll likely feel more secure knowing you have coverage for a long-term care facility or at-home care should the need arise. A long-term care policy may not be cheap, but may be worth the security it brings you.

Know your Social Security claiming options

If you have never been married, or have never had a marriage that lasted 10 years or more, your Social Security claiming options are simple. You are likely best waiting until age 70 to claim, unless you believe your life expectancy will be shorter than average. If you do claim your benefits before reaching full retirement age, and you continue working, make sure your income does not exceed the Social Security earnings limit at the time, or you may end up owing money.

If you have a previous marriage that lasted 10 years or longer, you may be able to claim a spousal benefit based on your ex’s earnings record and switch over to your own benefit amount when you reach full retirement age. If your spouse is deceased, you may be eligible for a widow/widower benefit based on your late partner’s earnings record.

Be sure to review your options carefully before making your choice.

A single retirement may look a bit different than a retirement shared with a life partner, but by planning ahead and following the tips outlined above, these can be the best years of your life.

Beware Stimulus and Tax Scams

It’s stimulus season and tax season at once, and scammers couldn’t be happier. They know that taxpayers are eager to get their hands on their stimulus payments and tax refunds. As consumers are working to file their taxes before the May 17 deadline, all that paperwork and payments mean people may be letting their guard down. For a scammer, nothing could be better!

The IRS is warning of a surge in scams as the tax agency continues processing tax returns and distributing stimulus payments to eligible adults who have not yet received them. Here’s all you need to know about the latest round of stimulus and tax scams:

How the scams play out

In the most recent IRS-related scams, scammers will con victims into filing phony tax returns, steal tax refunds or stimulus payments or impersonate the IRS to get victims to sign documents or share personal information, such as Social Security numbers or checking account numbers. The scams are pulled off via email, text message or phone. Sometimes, victims will be directed to another (bogus) website where their device will be infected with malware. Other times, the victim receives a 1099-G tax form for unemployment benefits they never claimed or received, because someone has filed for unemployment under their name. Unfortunately, the losses incurred through most of these scams can be difficult or impossible to recover.

What you need to know

As always, information is your best protection against these scams. Here’s what you need to know about the IRS, the stimulus payments and tax returns:

  • The IRS will never initiate contact by phone or email. If there is an issue with your taxes or stimulus payment, the agency will first communicate via mail.
  • There is no “processing fee” you need to pay before you can receive your stimulus payment or tax refund.
  • The IRS is not sending out text messages about the stimulus payments. If you receive a text message claiming you have a pending stimulus payment, it’s from a scammer.
  • There is no need to take any action to receive your stimulus payment. Likewise, aside from filing your tax return, there is nothing additional you need to do to receive your tax refund.

If you’ve been targeted

If you receive a suspicious phone call, text message or email that has allegedly been sent by the IRS, do not engage with the scammer. Block the number on your phone and mark the email as spam.

If you are a victim

If you are the victim of identity theft related to taxes or stimulus payments, there are steps you can take to mitigate the loss.

If you received a 1099-G for unemployment benefits you’ve never filed for or received, it’s best not to ignore it. Contact your state’s unemployment office to report the fraud. It should be able to send you a corrected 1099-G showing you did not get any benefits.

First, report the scam to the correct authorities. If a fraudulent tax return was filed in your name, the IRS will mail you a Letter 4883C or 6330C to verify your identity. You may also need to call the toll-free number provided on the letter and visit an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center . After reporting the fraud, you’ll likely need to file a paper tax return. Complete an Identity Theft Affidavit (Form 14039) and attach it to the back of your paper return.

If you’ve mistakenly shared your information with a scammer and they’ve stolen your stimulus check, you will likewise need to let the IRS know. Visit Identitytheft.gov where you will receive a personal recovery plan that will hopefully minimize the damage done by the scammer and help you reclaim your lost funds.


It’s tax season and stimulus season, so it’s also scam season! Keep your guard up and follow the tips outlined here to prevent yourself from falling victim to one of the many circulating scams. Stay safe!

USAgencies Credit Union will never contact you to ask for any personal or account information, when in doubt, connect with us at (503) 275-0300 or toll-free (800) 452-0915.

Credit Union Protection Plans

Q: What exactly is a credit union protection plan like GAP, Mechanical Repair Coverage, and Debt Protection?

A: Purchasing a credit union protection plan can be a great way to ensure your loans and income are covered in any eventuality, but navigating the choices can be confusing.

Here’s what you need to know about the protection plans available at USAgencies Credit Union.

What is GAP insurance? 

GAP (guaranteed asset protection) insurance is an auto insurance add-on that pays the difference between the depreciated value of your car and what you still owe on the car in the event that your car is stolen or totaled. GAP insurance is only available for the current borrower on an auto loan, or current leaseholder, on the new vehicle. Coverage can also be available for eligible motorcycles, boats, RVs and campers.

GAP insurance is often recommended for drivers purchasing an expensive, new vehicle, considering that most new vehicles depreciate by 19% in their first year of ownership. This causes many drivers to be under water on their auto loans toward the beginning of the loan’s term.

Is GAP insurance for everyone?

GAP insurance is a great idea for all borrowers, but especially recommended for drivers who are, or may be, upside down on their auto loans. Drivers who have made a down payment of less than 20% on the auto loan, and/or who have a loan term that is 60 months or longer, will usually fall into this category.

GAP insurance is also a good idea for drivers leasing a new vehicle. Some leases will automatically include GAP coverage in their contracts.

What is Mechanical Repair Coverage? 

Collision insurance covers damage to your vehicle caused by accidents. Comprehensive coverage will pay for damage caused through other means, such as a windshield shattered by a rock. But who pays for damage caused by the natural wear and tear of a vehicle?

This is where Mechanical Repair Coverage (MRC) comes in. MRC will cover almost any kind of breakdown in your vehicle due to wear and tear so you don’t have to pay for these repairs on your own. Similar to purchasing an extended warranty on a vehicle, coverage can include a faulty transmission, a broken carburetor or a brake repair. MRC will not cover regular maintenance and upkeep of the car, such as replacing spark plugs, refiling fluids and changing the tires.

Is Mechanical Repair Coverage for everyone? 

Mechanical Repair Coverage (MRC) is especially recommended for drivers financing a new vehicle, as the repairs on these vehicles can be quite costly. An extended warranty may offer the same coverage, but is usually more expensive than an MRC plan.

In addition, it can be a good idea to purchase MRC for a vehicle the driver intends to keep for more than five years. MRC will also help ensure that the car remains fully functioning for years to come.

What is Debt Protection?

Life can be wonderful. But it can also get complicated when unexpected things happen. Protecting your loan payments against
death, disability, or involuntary unemployment could help protect your finances. Debt Protection provides income in the event that a policyholder is unable to earn an income due to a injury, disability or job loss.

According to the Social Security Administration, more than one in four 20-year-olds will experience a 90-day disability before they turn 67.

Is Debt Protection for everyone?

Purchasing Debt Protection can be a financially responsible move for any policyholder. This protection could cancel your loan balance or payments up to the contract maximums. Protect your loan payments today so you can worry a little less about tomorrow.


Protecting your loans, debts and earning potential can seem like a daunting task, but with the right plans in place, you can maintain your financial wellness for years to come.

Connect with USAgencies Credit Union for a quote or info on all your Loan Protection Needs today!

10 Ways to Celebrate National Virtual Vacation Day

March 30 is National Virtual Vacation Day, and the past year has taught all of us that almost anything can be done virtually. You can attend a crucial client meeting, your best friend’s wedding and even take a college course over the screen — and you can even take a dream vacation!

Whether you’re stuck in quarantine, you just feel safer at home, or you want to save a buck on travel costs, here are 10 tips and trip ideas for celebrating National Virtual Vacation Day.

1. Set the scene

Wherever you decide to “go,” you can immerse yourself in the experience by setting the scene. Choose a spot in your home that is separate from your work and sleep areas. Then, try to recreate the setting you’d have if you’d actually taken a trip to your chosen destination. For example, if you’ll be virtually traveling to a rainforest, you can play soundtracks of real animal calls you’d hear in that setting. Are you going camping? Kill the lights and turn on the fireplace to get that campy outdoorsy feel. To go all out, recreate the aromas and tastes you’d encounter on your trip by whipping up a dish you’d find at your destination.

2. Grab a friend

It’s always more fun to travel with company. Share the experience with a friend by jumping on a video call together as you set out on your trip. You’ll compare your impressions as you travel and share the sights and sounds for the ultimate adventure.

3. Dress the part

We’ve all had the opportunity to master the “Zoom look” this year — yes, the one with the business-suit top paired with sweatpants and fuzzy slippers. But just because your trip is taking place in your living room, it doesn’t mean you need to dress like you’re binge-watching your favorite series on Netflix. Dress up as if you were actually traveling to your virtual destination, sunglasses included. It’ll make the experience feel a lot more authentic.

4. Scuba dive in Palau

Have you always dreamed of exploring the wonderful world beneath the sea? Now you can — without dropping a boatload of money on scuba gear. Check out this tour on YouTube for a fantastic 360-degree virtual scuba-diving experience in the clear waters of Palau.

5. Tour the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania

Go on safari without getting jet lag! This 360-degree tour will help you get up close with the wildebeest, gorillas and other animals native to the African plains.

6. Explore the Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska

If winter wonderlands are more your thing, you can hop on over to Alaska for a virtual tour of beautiful ice caps, enormous glaciers and frozen vistas you don’t see back home. Don’t forget your parka!

7. Across Europe in a Day

It’s time to take that jaunt through Europe you’ve always dreamed of taking! Here are some great virtual hotspots to visit while you travel through the continent:

  • London, England — Enjoy a guided tour through the city’s most famous landmarks.
  • The Windsor Castle — you closely follow the royals or you’re just mildly curious to see how they live, you’ll enjoy this virtual tour of this royal home and fortress.
  • Milan, Italy — This fascinating tour will take you through the metropolitan city of Milan and its most celebrated buildings and art exhibits.
  • Spain — Explore this beautiful country through these nine virtual tours.
  • The Louvre — Don’t forget to leave time for the famous Louvre museum in Paris.

8. The show must go on

If you love being entertained, you may want to include one of these venues in your virtual vacation:

  • Broadway — Broadway HD offers a seven-day free trial and front-row seat to plays like Macbeth and Swan Lake.
  • Detroit Symphony Orchestra — The DSO offers viewers a wide range of options categorized by orchestral style (baroque, classical, romantic), women composers and composers listed in alphabetical order.
  • The Metropolitan Opera — The Met is offering free encore presentations from the company’s Live in HD series. Each performance is available for viewing for 23 hours.

9. An out-of-this-world adventure

If you’ve had enough of the wonders on planet Earth, check out what Mars has to offer on this mind-blowing virtual tour.

10. Transition gently

When you travel for vacation, the time you spend flying or driving back home serves as a gentle transition from vacation to your home life. If you’ll be vacationing virtually, you’ll need to actively create that in-between time for yourself to avoid a bumpy return. When your getaway is over, take a few minutes to relax, mentally review the sights and sounds you enjoyed and exhale slowly before getting back to your everyday routine.

It’s Virtual Vacation Day! We’ve got tips and trip ideas for you to enjoy the vacation of a lifetime — from the comfort of your living room.

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