The Financial Risks of Gray Divorce for Women

As we age, many aspects of our lives change, including our relationships. One trend that has been on the rise in recent years is the phenomenon of “gray divorce” – a term used to describe divorces that occur among couples aged 50 and older. According to a study published in The Journals of Gerontology in 2022, the rate of gray divorce has doubled since 1990 and tripled for adults over the age of 65.

The study also found that in 2019, 36% of Americans who divorced were 50 or older, compared to just 8% in 1970. While divorce rates have declined among younger adults, the implications of gray divorce can be particularly challenging for women.

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Research indicates that women’s household income typically drops by 23% to 40% in the year following a gray divorce, while men may see their income rise. This disparity is due in part to the traditional roles many older couples adhere to, with men often being the sole breadwinner.

These financial challenges can be especially daunting for women who have been out of the workforce or have lower incomes due to the gender wage gap. Divorced women may also have less savings and limited time to make up for financial losses before retirement.

Despite the difficulties faced by women after a gray divorce, there are steps they can take to protect themselves financially. Financial advisors recommend getting actively involved in household finances, ensuring access to their own funds, and being strategic about claiming Social Security benefits.

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It’s also important for women to consider options like investing in a retirement account, saving alimony payments, and potentially exploring prenuptial or postnuptial agreements to protect their financial interests in the event of divorce.

By taking these proactive steps, women can empower themselves to navigate the financial challenges of gray divorce and secure their financial future.

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