Coping with divorce after 50
Tips for managing your finances in a “gray divorce.”
The good news is that divorce rates in the United States are declining; the bad news is that they are on the rise for the 50-plus population. Twenty years ago, just 1 in 10 divorces were couples older than the age of 50. In 2021, nearly 35% of divorces were being filed by people 55 and older, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The phrase “gray divorce” describes this trend and highlights the special issues facing older couples going their separate ways.
Financially preparing for gray divorce
For those nearing their retirement years, divorce comes with its own set of considerations about financial well-being. Here is what you should be asking yourself – and discussing with your planner:
- Set out your goals for the future, both personally and financially. For couples who have been married for decades, it can be challenging to envision what single life might look like. Now’s the time to focus on yourself and what you want to achieve.
- Determine what your income and expenses will be postdivorce. As we’ve said, divorce is expensive, so even if you’ve never kept a budget before, it’s a good idea to get a handle on what your recurring expenses are and how you will cover them.
- Get organized. Gather bank statements, brokerage statements, tax returns, mortgage documents and retirement account information to share with your planner, tax attorney or divorce lawyer. Create a to-do list or keep a notebook handy to help organize your thoughts, smooth the process and take some of the stress out of the situation.
- Take time for yourself. It’s important that you do what it takes to stay healthy, both mentally and physically. Getting divorced is a stressful process and self-care is key.
- Remember your planner is there to help you see the big financial picture and can help you set out an integrated wealth strategy that includes not just investment accounts and IRAs, but education and guidance on insurance, estate planning, tax-smart strategies and mortgages.
Neither Edelman Financial Engines nor its affiliates offer tax or legal advice. Interested parties are strongly encouraged to include your qualified tax and/or legal professionals in these discussions and decisions to help determine the best options for your particular circumstances.