The number of older couples getting divorced has substantially increased in Connecticut over the last few decades. For those over 50, the divorce rate has doubled in the U.S. since 1990. The rate has increased even more for those over 65, nearly tripling over the last 30 years. Called gray divorce, marriage dissolutions among people who are 50 or older present unique financial challenges not faced by younger couples.
Why do gray divorces come with more challenges?
There are multiple reasons why a gray divorce can be more difficult than divorcing when couples are younger. People who are in their 50s might be trying to balance paying for their children’s college education while also taking care of their elderly parents.
Many older couples also have a significant wage disparity with men earning much more than their spouses because of the gender pay gap or being sole income earners because their wives have remained at home to care for their children and manage the home. People in their 50s and early 60s might be so close to retirement that they don’t have enough time to rebuild their retirement savings, and those who are older than 65 and have already retired might be living on reduced incomes while facing increasing healthcare costs.
All of these issues can be challenging when couples decide to end their marriages.
Financial consequences of a gray divorce and what to do
The financial consequences of a gray divorce can include the following:
- Not having enough income to support the previously enjoyed lifestyle
- Being unable to afford maintenance and upkeep of the marital home
- Not having enough retirement savings to retire on time
- Being forced to re-enter the workforce to make ends meet
- Not having training and education sufficient to enter the workforce
When someone wants to end a long marriage, it’s a good idea to talk to an attorney and possibly a financial advisor. These professionals can help assess the client’s finances so they can understand how the divorce might impact them. Financial advisors can then create a budget that includes planning for healthcare costs, potential downsizing, tax consequences, and other issues following a divorce.