According to a recent USA Today story that prompted additional news coverage by The Wall Street Journal and CBS News this week, "baby boomers are divorcing at a surprising rate, and this will have huge implications for their lives in retirement."
A 2012 report "The Gray Divorce Revolution," co-authored by Susan Brown, professor of sociology at Bowling Green State University, found the number of divorces among people 50 or older has doubled from 1990 to 2010. The reasons for this, say experts, is that we are living longer and divorce is more socially acceptable today. Yet, many divorcing boomers don't initially realize the impact of ending a marriage will have on how they spend their retirement years.
"Gray divorce can be economically devastating for some people, especially for women who have been out of the labor force bearing children," Brown notes.
In my experience, a significant number of women over age 50 seeking divorce, often find themselves in this situation. Understandably, retirement isn't top-of-mind when someone is going through divorce, at least not initially.
Yet, the short- and long-term financial aspects of divorce, including dividing retirement assets, are vitally important and must be considered before the divorce settlement is negotiated and signed."
Over the past five years, I have seen an increasing number of baby boomers, especially women, filing for divorce. It became apparent to me that these women could use more than just legal advice. So I launched a non-profit, educational program called the Guide to Good Divorce.
The workshops are designed to assist women in navigating not only the legal aspects of divorce, but the financial aspects as well. The presenters at the seminars include a certified divorce financial planner, a life coach and other experts who provide seminar attendees with vital information they need to plan not only their divorce strategy, but their lives post-divorce. The 5-hour workshops cover a lot of good material and even offer a light brunch and give-ways for only $25.
"There are many financial myths surrounding divorce," says Patricia Barrett, a Certified Divorce Financial Planner who presents at The Guide to Good Divorce seminars. "All assets are not created equal. Some have the potential of appreciating over time, while others depreciate. Divorcing boomers need to calculate personal financial road-maps for future years based on several asset division scenarios."
Commenting on the news headlines this week, one of my clients, Heather S., who is over age 50, says, "It is true that divorce is a financial hurdle for women over age 50. But knowledge is power; and based on my experience, if your divorce team includes expert legal advice and financial assistance, you can make informed decisions during the divorce process that take into account how you can finance your retirement."
Guide to Good Divorce seminars are scheduled for April 27, July 20 and September 28, 2013, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Houston. For details, or to sign up, visit www.GuideToGoodDivorce.com or call 713-932-7177.