Elise Buie Family Law | Retirement Planning After Divorce

It might seem like common sense that when a marriage dissolves, all the assets owned by the couple must be dispensed with according to the laws of the state in which the couple lived. But what about planning for the years following divorce? Day-to-day living expenses are not the only concern for divorcing couples; saving for retirement is an enormous consideration, as well.

Often times couples will have planned for their retirement as a unit, and taken into account the income of both parties when saving and structing an investment portfolio. However, divorce can throw a wrench into this plan.

When people are married, expenses are shared, making it easier financially to save money for retirement years. But, when a once united couple splits, each person has to look out for their own financial future. The costs associated with maintaining two separate households are likely to hinder the ability of one or both parties to set money aside for the future, unless they the steps necessary to plan for those tomorrows.

Sure, upon divorce, retirement accounts are to be split according to state law, unless the parties agree otherwise. But the reality that one pension is being split into half means there might not be enough to go around. That means careful and deliberate planning is necessary to ensure a financially secure retirement, post-divorce.

Financial experts advise individuals to save and invest money over time so they can live on an annual income of at least 70 percent of what they were earning during their professional career. When divorcing, it’s advisable for each party to retain their own qualified financial expert to ensure each person receives an equitable share of assets while helping their client forge a viable financial plan for their retirement years. 

A qualified, experienced financial expert can advise people about:

• Investments

• Taxes

• Estate planning

• Retirement planning

• Post-divorce budgets

It’s also wise to wait until as close to age 70 as possible before you begin to tap into your Social Security benefits. The Social Security Administration’s Delayed Retirement Benefits page (www.ssa.gov/retire2/delayret.htm) is an excellent resource for determining when the time is right to start drawing Social Security checks. It’s also important to note that retirees married 10 years or longer who did not remarry may be entitled to Social Security benefits on their former spouse’s record, if certain requirements are met.

It’s imperative to plan for one’s retirement years, regardless of whether a person is married or divorced. However, since divorce spells the end of a two-income family, or at least the end of a unified household sharing expenses, planning for one’s retirement years is all the more crucial. The personal and financial disruptions caused by divorce make it easy for newly single individuals to neglect their retirement planning. To ensure your future,  seek appropriate advice and take all necessary steps to keep your retirement planning on track.


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