Your retirement is meant to be a time for you to enjoy life. You have worked for years to earn enough to have a comfortable life after your career, and while the money you have stored into your retirement fund can be planned, divorce usually is not.
The financial and emotional aspects of the divorce process become so intermittently linked, and at times, the emotions of the situation can influence the decisions made.
This is why it is vital to have a family law attorney with you to help navigate the complexities of the divorce process. They can provide the guidance that you need with your unique situation and give you peace of mind throughout the duration of your case.
Breaking down retirement
The divorce rate for those considering retirement has risen in recent years. According to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, those between the ages of 55 and 64 have seen their risk of divorce double since 1990, with it now being 5 to 11 per 1,000 women in 2012. For those over the age of 65, the risk has tripled since 1990, with it now being 2 to 6 per 1,000 women in 2012.
These numbers do not necessarily discern between the individuals who have gone through divorce previously in their lifetime, with the ones who have not. This can diminish the amount of money being disputed in the divorce process. According to a study by the Center for Retirement Research, the new financial wealth in households that have never suffered through a divorce is approximately 30 percent higher than in comparable households that have.
This makes your retirement fund just another aspect on the line during the divorce process, and the effects of it can be felt even after your decree is finalized. Another study from the Center for Retirement Research found that 9.4 percent of all married couples, where one or both spouses previously experienced a divorce, face a risk with their retirement fund. This is juxtaposed to the 7.3 percent of all individuals who have previously experienced a divorce, and 5.5 percent of single men.
Single women actually experienced a -0.2 percent risk to their retirement, when previously experiencing a divorce. This has led researchers to believe that single women who were divorced are in just as good shape as those who have never married, when it comes to retirement readiness.
The authors of the study attributed the fairly decent state for single women, in terms of retirement readiness, to the notion that women often receive the house in the divorce. Building home equity can add to the financial security, if they ever chose to tap into it.
“Gray divorce” and life satisfaction
This coincides with many of the issues that those who go through a “gray divorce” face. Without the retirement funds that may have been lost in the divorce, you may not have the life satisfaction necessary to sustain the quality of life that you were hoping to have after you quit working.
A study, published in the Journal of Family Issues, by the University of North Carolina analyzed post-divorce life satisfaction in cases of gray divorce among a sample of 150 men and 131 women, who reported a divorce at age 50 or older.
The results of study found that the divorce caused 28 percent variance of the life satisfaction of the women surveyed and 40 percent variance of the life satisfaction of the men surveyed, according to the regression model utilized by the researchers.
If you are facing the challenging circumstances that a divorce late in life may have incited and have significantly less money for your retirement than you previously thought you would, you may have to cut some costs and readjust your expectations.
You also may have the option of modifying your decree, in order to eliminate or decrease alimony payments. Whatever the case may be, you need to come up with the best strategy possible that allows you to save money and recover from the financial damage that divorce can have on your retirement fund.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.