In the past 25 years, the divorce rate among those over 50 has increased by more than 50%. Getting a divorce past age 50, otherwise known as a “gray divorce,” can happen for a multitude of reasons. Many are similar to younger couples, like financial struggles or falling out of love. However, some are more unique to common situations that older adults find themselves in, like lifestyle changes brought on by retirement or empty nest syndrome.
Before you begin the divorce proceedings, you’ll need to consider many different aspects of your finances. Read on for tips on how to get your finances in order during a divorce.
Sometimes, separating retirement accounts is easy. Other times, it can be difficult. In the case of an individual retirement fund, it may be considered marital property. This means the decision of how the funds are split will have to be included in the divorce settlement. In the case of 401(k) and 403(b) accounts, you might need to contact the plan administrator. Also think about how you want to split the funds in any checking, savings, or other shared accounts.
If you’re concerned about how your soon-to-be ex-spouse will use the funds in checking and savings accounts, contact your financial institution to freeze the accounts until your divorce settlement has been finalized.
Real estate can be more difficult to split than something like a bank account. In order to start the process of splitting real estate, begin by making a list of properties you own together. Next, use Zillow or Realtor.com to determine the value of each property. Then, calculate the loans associated with each property and subtract those from the value. Once you have each property value, you’ll be better able to split the properties fairly.
If your annuity is marital property, there are a variety of ways to split it fairly. You can withdraw the funds, transfer the funds to each person’s IRA, or transfer ownership or start a new contract with the divided funds. Keep in mind that state laws differ in the division of annuities.
Long-term Care Funds
Long-term care is important to consider, especially if you are 50 years old. Long-term care can cost upwards of $50,000 per year. Your retirement funds should be going towards your long-term care plan. If you decide to use other resources for long-term care, think about those resources during your divorce, and plan accordingly.
If you weren’t in the job market during your marriage, you may need to consider an additional source of income for yourself once you get divorced if you won’t have enough to live off or retire with.
Consider working during your retirement years as a way to earn extra income. You work part-time, freelance, or start a side hustle if you don’t want to work full-time. Side hustle ideas include: investing in real estate, creating an online course, flipping furniture, writing (and selling) a book, pet sitting, or babysitting.
Make sure to think about your insurance policies, your social security benefits, and the cost of your divorce in addition to the financial considerations listed above. Getting a divorce after 50 can take up a lot of time and energy. There’s a lot to do, but you’ll want to make sure you’re getting your fair share of everything in the split.
However, once it’s all said and done, it can also be the start of a wonderful new chapter in your life. Look through the visual below to learn more about how you can thrive during your gray divorce.