Survival During a Gray Divorce
Duncan E. White, Owner
Inkpointe Divorce Solutions, LLC
IRMO, SC – As we settle into this new Millennium, one trend has become clears: Baby Boomers are divorcing at double the rate from the late 20th Century. As our life expectancies continue to increase, our attitudes about the divorce process continue to evolve. 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 are close to a planned retirement!
You set aside a comfortable nest egg for retirement that calculated golden years spent together, as one. Now, those same funds will have to support not one, but two households. You’ve suddenly gone from our financial plan to my financial plan. That’s huge difference in the planning world!
Following a divorce (and possibly during the process) your expenses can be significantly higher than if you stay together. 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 away at a retirement fund at an alarming rate.
More than likely, you will face some difficult choices. You can either reduce your standard of living (which no one likes to hear about) 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.
Illness and disability could also force some very difficult choices. As a couple, there is comfort in knowing that if one of you becomes ill or disabled, the other partner will be able to help with the care. After divorce, that burden could fall to your children or hit that nest egg again when you need to hire help.
If you find yourself considering divorce after age 50, the best thing you can to do to minimize the damage 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 along with that attorney or mediator.
With the children likely grown, the main devastation of a gray divorce will be the finances and your emotions. A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA®) is specially trained in the finances of divorce and can help you make sure you are covering all 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 a pension. Some attorneys or accountants have the credential but, if not, it can be well worth the money to add a CDFA® to your team. Ultimately, your best bet for survival is to let the professionals handle the finances and legalities. That way you can take care of you during this difficult process.
Duncan E. White is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®) and has been a licensed financial advisor since 2010. He leads a Second Saturday Divorce Workshop each month for the benefit of those seeking information about the divorce process.
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Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. LPL Financial and Inkpointe Divorce Solutions do not offer tax, legal or mortgage lending services or advice.