Divorce among the older population
The divorce rate among all couples may be on the decline, from a peak in the 1970s and 1980s, but for those who are over 50 years of age it is rising. The rate among those over 50 has doubled between 1990 and 2010. Those who are over 50 may face unique challenges at the end of a marriage. The first challenge is that an older person who is divorcing can suffer a serious financial blow. A younger person has many years to recover financially, where an older person has the risk of ending up in poverty even if they receive spousal support. Another consequence of an older divorce is that a person who may not have been working prior to the divorce can have economic problems after the divorce as they try and re-enter the workforce after many years away.
In order to help prevent the financial hardship that a divorce may bring, there are certain things that a person can do while married. First they may want to keep a separate bank account and maintain a credit account in their own name. Also it is important to have insurance that includes life insurance, disability and long-term care insurance. Social Security and other retirement savings is very important and both spouses should make sure they are adequately saving. Also, many times a divorce has serious financial consequences and it becomes important for a spouse to adjust their lifestyle to live within their means.
A divorce, regardless of age, does not have to mean a person will have to suffer extreme financial hardship. With careful planning and advice from a financial planner and a legal professional, a divorce will allow a person a new start in life.
Source: Forbes, “Gray divorce: A financial double whammy for women,” Jeff Landers, July 13, 2016