As we get firmly settled into this new Millennium, one trend has firmly settled in with us: Baby Boomers divorcing at double the rate of their parents. As our life expectancies continue to increase, our attitudes about divorce/dissolution continue to evolve. And while it’s not still rapidly increasing, Boomer divorce is likely here to stay. So is the sad fact that divorce after age 50 can be financially devastating, especially if you’re close to retirement.
A close friend of mine recently went through this. He and is wife are in their mid 50s. They weren’t fighting (too much) and didn’t have any major differences, so they tried counseling. That didn’t seem to help so they just decided to go their separate ways. They each felt they had only a short number of years left and wanted more.
Selfish? Not for me to decide. This is their life and their decision.
What they did discover is the money they set aside for a comfortable retirement is cut in half. Now those same funds will have to support not one, but two households. That comfortable nest egg must now fund two of everything: Two homes, two cars, separate vacations, separate trips to see the grandkids, etc. This duplication can eat into a retirement fund at an alarming rate.
More than likely, you will face some difficult choices. You can either reduce your standard of living, or retire later and increase your savings. You may both have to consider selling the marital home to split the proceeds so both parties can downsize. That equity can throw off income to live on, so selling may make a lot more sense than one party trying to keep it.
If you find yourself considering divorce after age 50, the best thing you can to do to minimize the damage in the process is to be as cooperative with your spouse as possible and get prepared with organized financial documents. Most importantly, to minimize the financial toll, be sure to hire a financial advisor with a CDFA® designation along with that attorney or mediator.
If you have read any of my other blogs I strongly recommend collaborative divorce. ( You are on the right site to learn all about it)
With the children likely being grown, the main devastation of a gray divorce will be the finances and your emotions. Certified Divorce Financial Analysts (CDFAs) are specially trained in the area of finances in divorce and can help you make sure you are covering all of the necessary issues. They can help you see with certainty if you can keep the house, if spousal maintenance is necessary, and how to split the Pension. Some attorneys or CPAs have the credential but if not, it’s well worth the money to add a CDFA to your team. Ultimately, your best bet for survival, let the professionals handle the finances and legalities, that way you can take care of you.
This article was submitted by Donald Morris CDFA® and financial advisor. Donald is currently serving as president of winwindivorce.org