While the overall divorce rate has dropped, divorce for those 55 years and older has increased. Later life divorces (i.e., divorces after age 55) are called “grey divorces.”
There are many causes for this late-life divorce. One cause has been attributed to couples waiting until their children graduate from high school before starting the divorce process.
Another cause is people are living longer and they want to be with a partner that’s more compatible with their interests.
No matter what the cause may be if you’re going through a divorce later in life, pay attention to how much you will have in retirement savings. If you expect to retire when you reach age 65, you only have 10 years to save for your retirement lifestyle which could last possibly 20+ years.
Hire a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner to evaluate your retirement savings. They will analyze if you have sufficient money based on your family longevity, estimated spending, investment assumptions, and projected health care expenses. From this analysis, you’ll identify if you have any shortfalls between what you’ve saved and what you’ll need for retirement.
If you determine you don’t have enough money for retirement, you have choices to make now that will impact your financial situation as you age. You may need to work for several years to build your retirement savings.
If you’re currently working, make sure you max out your contributions with your employer-sponsored retirement savings plan (e.g., 401(k), 403(b)). Take advantage of the “catch-up” contribution limits for those over age 50.
If your employer doesn’t offer an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan or if you are not currently working, consider finding employment with a company that offers this benefit. Give higher priority to employers that offer a matching contribution even if the job isn’t ideal. Employer matching contribution is “free” money to help build your retirement savings.
Some employers may even offer a pension. Be sure to find out how long you have to be employed to receive a pension and how the pension is calculated (typically it’s based on your average income over a certain number of years).
You may need to consider a second job to generate more savings. With the upcoming holiday season, extra help is always needed. Look for “help wanted” signs at local stores. Consider pet sitting or house sitting for friends going on vacation.
Another idea to generate additional income is to drive for Uber or Lyft. There are also online jobs that allow you to set your own schedule and work from home.
Divorce later in life can be challenging financially as retirement is around the corner. If you determine you have little retirement savings, take action now while you’re still healthy. Maximize employer-sponsored retirement savings plans. Also, consider a second job. While working these longer hours may be unappealing, it’s for a short period of time but will have a lasting impact on your retirement lifestyle.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, RICP®, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include developing spending plans, comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, retirement plans. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.’”