Fact: 30% of divorced women over the age of 62 who are still single live at or below the poverty line, according to research by Susan Brown, a professor at Bowling Green State University who has chronicled “gray divorce” throughout the years.
If we were to compare that to married couples in the same age demographic, only 4% live at or under the poverty line.
I just did a piece for the Chicago Tribune and Janet Kidd Stewart on divorce and retirement benefits – and why I think collaborative divorce may be the single best decision divorcing couples over 50 can make. Aside from the fact that collaborative keeps your divorce civil, respectful and private, the process also works to address your immediate and long-term financial needs (including those retirement years).
Two things happen during a typical divorce:
- Spouses get wrapped up in the “here and now” – with the material things that won’t provide for their tomorrows
- Spouses lack the financial literacy and know-how to prepare for their new budget and lifestyle
Collaborative divorce helps couples keep discussions peaceful and productive, which is key when divvying up “liquid assets”, like your retirement benefits. My good friend and colleague, Wendy Wood, had this to say in the Chicago Tribune piece:
“My preference is always to make a clean break” when dividing assets, Wood said. In real life, however, that’s not always possible. Government workers,
for example, might be in line for rich traditional pensions but have few liquid assets with which to cash out a spouse.”
As a divorce CPA and the financial professional during a collaborative divorce, I work with spouses to get the bigger picture of their assets – and help them make informed decisions on how to split these during negotiations. The transparency and financial insight is a breath of fresh air for many individuals.
To read the entire article and other comments I had for individuals over 50 who want to protect their retirement savings during a divorce, head over to the syndicated column in the northern California paper, the Contra Costa Times.
If you’re considering divorce and are anxious about what it could mean for your retirement benefits, please know you don’t have to go it alone. Give me a call at (979) 324-8179 to discuss your situation and concerns – and learn more about how collaborative divorce can serve your needs.