No one in a marriage or other committed relationship expects to retire alone, except in the worst-case scenario of widowhood.
Financial advisors typically include in their projections the possibility of one partner preceding the other in death. But, there’s another impossible-to-plan-for scenario that can put the best laid retirement plans on the skids: Gray divorce.
Among U.S. adults ages 50 and up, the divorce rate has roughly doubled since the 1990s. In 2015, for every 1,000 married persons in that age category, 10 divorced — up from five in 1990, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau. Among those ages 65 and older, the divorce rate has roughly tripled since 1990, reaching six people per 1,000 married persons in 2015.
(CNBC, June 21, 2017)
The reasons more people are splitting in their “golden” years vary, but a common denominator seems to be couples discovering they have nothing in common after the kids leave home. They may have been clicking in their roles as mom and dad, but not so much as lovers, confidantes or even friends. The thrill is gone, as the song says, and a desire for an emotional “do over” – before it’s too late – sets in for one or both partners.
Divorce can be devastating at any age, but for older adults the ramifications multiply as all retirement bets are off and futures seem uncertain.
Financial concerns are paramount, of course. Experienced attorneys (divorce and tax) can help along with a qualified financial advisor who is familiar with complicated issues pertaining to late life divorce.
Attention and care must be paid, as well, to the other areas of retirement success – Self Identity, Health & Nutrition, Social and Personal Relationships. Divorce impacts everything and it’s imperative to plan in all of these categories as you prepare to strike out on your own. Ask yourself the following questions:
Who will you be when you’re not one half of a couple?
What toll is divorce taking on your health and how are you dealing with it?
What effect will your divorce have on your social life?
How is the change impacting your relationships with family members and close friends?
It is possible to have a happy, fulfilling retirement, even in the throes of a gray divorce. And, from all reports, it does get better. Comprehensive planning is the key to any major life transition. Get started today and take the Fit-To-Retire readiness assessment.