A lot, potentially.
While divorce is a major life event at any age (and tends to max-out every "stress index" I have consulted), when you split the sheets later in life you have fewer years to rebound from the economic impact.
In short, the stakes are typically higher.
You are not alone.
There is an increasing number of older adults who are facing divorce.
In fact, the divorce rate among U.S. adults 50 and older doubled between 1990 and 2010, and about one in four divorces include someone over 50.
The data through 2014 found the rates to have remained consistent in subsequent years.
Enter a recent ABC News article titled “Keeping Some Green in Gray Divorce.”
According to the article, the reasons for the rise in gray divorces include longer lifespans, more women in the workforce, changing notions about marriage and higher rates of remarriage.
So, what money matters should you mind when divorce suddenly becomes part of your retirement plan?
While the issues involved in a "gray divorce" are much like those of a divorce at any age, considerations like limited working years ahead, complicated assets and adult children may make the process much tougher.
Be sure you have a team of professionals to guide you through the process.
This should include an attorney, mediator, financial planner, accountant and a therapist.
In a gray divorce, a financial expert is essential.
Because you have a lifetime of assets built up, especially when retirement funds make up a large portion of your net worth (or the net worth of your spouse).
Retirement finances are critical and complex, and you should seek the advice of professionals.
A big issue with an older couple is who gets to keep the family home.
You should put the emotional aspect of the family home aside and be evaluate alternatives that will leave you in a better position.
Selling a home or choosing other assets in the settlement may give you the income you will need in the future.
Plus, downsizing can significantly help manage your expenses.
The biggest challenge for individuals going through a gray divorce is making certain there is sufficient cash flow to provide a comfortable retirement.
Note to file: Cash flow is king!
Consider and reexamine your options based on the divorce settlement.
Depending on your unique circumstances, you might need to delay retirement, return to work, downsize or make other adjustments.
Oh, by the way, healthcare can be expensive in retirement.
And, if you have been married 10 years or more, you may qualify to receive spousal Social Security benefits.
Make sure you update all the legal agreements and accounts you have set up during the course of your marriage, especially wills, trusts, powers of attorney and beneficiary designations for retirement accounts and life insurance.
When it comes to your estate planning, be sure to work with an experienced estate planning attorney who has been there, done that, and likely has the T-shirt, too.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: ABC News (September 7, 2016) “Keeping Some Green in Gray Divorce”