How Online Dating Affects Your Retirement
By Carrie Smith
The summer season is one of the most popular times of year for weddings and vow renewal celebrations. In fact, my parents just renewed their vows, and it was a joyous time to celebrate with friends and family. It was also a reminder that as humans we prefer to spend our lives with a partner, although it’s not always easy to find one.
If you’re single or divorced, like I was for a while, attending a wedding makes you wonder when and how you should put yourself out there and dive into the dating world hoping to find your soulmate (again!). Deciding to embark on an online dating adventure not only takes guts, but it can be time-consuming and a drain on your budget.
Baby Boomers are Actively Dating Online
Baby boomers are more likely to be single, divorced, or widowed than other generations. A 2012 survey, by Bowling Green State University’s National Center for Family and Marriage Research in Ohio, states that one in three single baby boomers has never even been married and one in four people over age 50 are getting a divorce. That puts 50% of Baby Boomers in the dating scene.
Getting back into dating can be scary but exhilarating, especially with so many online dating services and different ways to meet people. Online dating was once considered taboo and very few couples felt uncomfortable explaining that’s how they met their partner.
However, the proliferation of dating sites - and their respective success stories - has shifted this initial perception. Now, two-thirds of adults between the ages of 50-64 use the Internet, with a good portion of those testing the waters of the online dating world. In fact, the 50+ segment is the fastest growing group of subscribers for online dating.
Online Dating Tips To Protect Your Finances and Retirement Nest Egg
Once you jump into the dating pool, the main complaint of both men and women over the age of 50 is dating partners with too much baggage from previous relationships, according to a study done by AARP. Besides the emotional toll, going through a divorce usually ends in financial distress, as people are often left with additional debt and poor credit.
As we all know, dating in your 40s, 50s and 60s is very different from dating in your 20s. More so when it comes to your finances. When you were young you had more time to make up for financial mishaps, but as you get older, the costs can add up quickly and you have less time to recover from them. So how can you find your soulmate when you’re over 50 without breaking the bank and derailing your retirement dreams?
We have a few helpful tips that will keep your budget in good shape as you navigate through the online dating scene.
How to Save Money When Looking for Your Soulmate
1. Be Selective with Dating Websites
There are lots of options available if you’re over 40 -- so many that it’s difficult to pick one. AARP, eHarmony, Match.com, OurTime, SingleandOver50, Maturesinglesonly, BabyBoomerPeopleMeet, are the top online dating services used by older individuals looking to find a partner.
Average cost per month: between $12 - $40.
Solution: Try different online dating sites to see what works best for you. But don’t sign up for all of them at once. Instead test out different ones during the free trial period and then cancel the subscription afterwards if it doesn't work for you. Many people forget that they signed up to various sites and end up being charged a lot of money. Set yourself a reminder so you don’t get charged before the trial testing period ends.
2. Save Money - Watch Out for Additional Fees
Besides charging a monthly subscription fee, some dating sites also charge you for additional services like a profile consultation. Do you really need a profile consultant to optimize your results? It’s not likely. At least not until you’ve been out there for a while and are convinced that you really need professional help.
Average cost per month: between $20 - $100.
Solution: Test your own profile for a couple of months to see what works, tweak it and ask a close friend for feedback. You could even set up two profiles (if it doesn’t cost extra) and see which one gets the most hits. Remember to be honest and show your true personality, that’s what will draw the best match to you in the end.
3. Save Money on Your Online Dating Profile Picture
While you may prefer to spend a lot of money to get professional photos taken for your online dating profile, this is a completely unnecessary expense. Your profile photos should reflect who you are and things you like to do.
Average cost: between $100 - $1000.
Solution: Choose a picture that says something personal about you. Enjoy the outdoors? Use a photo from your last camping trip. If you just want a new photo, ask a friend to take a few pictures, or consider bartering services/skills you possess in exchange for a free photo shoot. Aim to get a clear and personable shot, you don’t need to pay anything extra for something fancy.
4. First Date Tip - Don’t Go Overboard
You may want to impress your date by choosing a fancy restaurant or expensive bar to meet, but you’ll just end up spending way too much on a date that may not go anywhere. Or set your date’s expectations really high from the get-go.
Average cost: between $100 - $200 per person for dinner and drinks.
Solution: Try to split costs, go out for coffee instead, or choose a place that’s not too expensive. If your date is judging you based on how much money you spend on your first date, that’s probably not the right person for you anyway.
5. Resist The Urge to Splurge on Brand-New Clothes
Unless you’ve been off the market for a long time and really need a wardrobe update, don’t go crazy buying new outfits for your first date. You want to look presentable but you don’t want your date to judge you solely on your looks.
Average cost: between $200 - $500 per outfit.
Solution: Shop your closet and look for ways to mix and match items you already have in your closet. Or buy one new piece that can be worn different ways with items you already own. Additionally, you could purchase new accessories or shoes, for a fraction of the cost of a new outfit.
How Online Dating Can Affect Your Retirement
If you add up the total costs here, you’re looking at a minimum of $1,084 a year of potential expenses you could incur from online dating - just by going on four dates. This could easily get out of hand if you’re matched up with lots of people and develop an active dating life very quickly, which is not necessarily a bad thing. You just need to remind yourself to be cautious and strategic about how much money you spend on each date.
Don’t let the online dating scene - and its related costs - discourage you from finding your soulmate. Just use these money-saving tips for online dating. You can also leverage social media sites by joining groups that share same interests like golfing, dancing, food and wine. Look for Meetup groups near you and meet new people who share common interests - all for free!
You don’t have to spend your retirement years alone. But it’s better to take a frugal approach now while you’re dating and still getting to know each other. When things get serious, you can splurge on sharing life experiences together.
Get your personal finances in order and protect your retirement dreams. Go to aboutLife to find out.