In the story-book narrative, couples get married, usher their children out of the nest and enjoy the prime of their lives together until death do they part. In reality, the rate of divorce among Americans age 50 and older has more than doubled since the 1990, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center.
While there may be many contributing factors—including longer lifespans, age-defying drugs and procedures—Pew attributes this rise in so-called “gray divorce” to baby boomers on their second or third marriages. Among people over 50, people who are remarried are twice as likely to divorce.
Whatever the cause, divorce can have a devastating financial impact—adding a whole new kind of stress to retirement planning. “There is a division of assets, and a division of income, but without a comparable drop in expenses,” says Paul Gaudio, a CFP and wealth planning strategist with Bryn Mawr Trust in Princeton, New Jersey. “If your financial situation wasn’t great before the divorce, it isn’t going to get rosier afterward.”
Here’s how to part ways without derailing your retirement.