Sixties, female and suddenly single – what now? How to Handle Baby Boomer Divorce

The first thing you need to do is … nothing. So get yourself a financial advisor

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COVID-19 has accelerated a lot of things, including, unfortunately, divorce. Couples who once thought to retire together are breaking up, suddenly leaving behind a group of baby boomer-aged women, many of whom relied on their husbands to manage the money.

Trauma and confusion can be expensive, and costly, which is why it is so important that women – especially those who have never been involved in family finances and need to make sure they are well prepared. for their retirement – take the right steps to secure their financial future.

“I finished.” After more than four decades of marriage and children, it can end as simple as that. This happens more often during the pandemic, with a spouse’s car often jam-packed and a new apartment already rented by the time the announcement is made. As financial divorce specialists, we see a steady increase in the number of suddenly divorced 60-year-old couples as they reassess how they want to spend their retirement years.

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The implications for baby boomer women are unique in that many, especially in higher income brackets, often occupy more traditional roles within the family. Thirty percent of women today are breadwinners, but the main job for many women aged 60 and over is at home. As a result, as both spouses grapple with emotional loss in divorce, wives face the additional hurdle of being less financially informed.

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That’s why we recommend that the first thing women do is… nothing. Don’t sign any paper, don’t make any decisions, and don’t leave your financial future in the hands of your future ex-spouse. The second thing to remember is that you need professional partners who have been doing this for years and who can help you navigate a difficult and complex process. You don’t need to do it alone or become an expert overnight in family finances, budgets, or retirement savings.

Start by interviewing three financial advisors and choose the one that works best for you and will best protect and defend your interests, as they will need to be defended. Everyone starts by saying that it will be an amicable divorce, but it is rarely the case. It’s going to get tough at some point, even with spouses saying they’re committed to splitting everything in the middle, 50-50. It’s often when they realize what 50 percent really means that things get controversial.

Our advice: choose a female advisor. It’s going to be a long and very personal relationship, so you’re going to need to work with someone who will listen to you, and understand how you think and what matters to you. Equally important, you need an advisor who will keep an eye on the price, keep the ball rolling, and have a game plan that not only focuses on the little details, like who gets the favorite artwork or the thing. family pet, but the big picture: life insurance policies, properties, numbered companies, retirement savings, unregistered investments and tax filing.

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At the first meeting, advisers shouldn’t be looking for a full list of assets and liabilities, even if it will. Their first question may be: Did you sleep? Or: do you eat? No one can make informed decisions if they are in the middle of a traumatic situation and their mind is in fight or flight mode. Sometimes counselors just listen and offer emotional support.

From there, counselors should develop a checklist. A holistic counselor and planner will start by making sure you have the support you need for all of your needs, from the right to health and well-being. They will work with trusted partners, ranging from psychologists to accountants, who will form your support team. We’ve seen clients rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees – unnecessarily – before hiring a financial advisor, and we often make recommendations.

Two key considerations revolve around wills and the importance of retaining the services of a forensic accountant. If you’re going to get half the assets, that means making sure you find them all (sometimes they’re hidden) and making sure they’re valued accurately. This is usually where disagreements start. The best way to mitigate this is to hire an independent third party to assess the value of assets such as real estate, artwork, and business accounts.

  1. Separate after 50 years - often called

    Divorce After 50 Completely Destroys Baby Boomers’ Finances

  2. Retirement planning is particularly important for women, who, with a longer life expectancy associated with the gender-related salary cap, make it more difficult for them to build wealth.

    Why women shouldn’t be surprised by a solo retreat

  3. Divorce later in life poses problems that other age groups often do not face, such as sharing a very good pension.

    ‘I’ve seen people clean up’: Divorce Later in Life Comes With Its Own Set of Problems

  4. The fight to share lottery winnings has not been without controversy.

    If you win the lottery, your ex could hit the jackpot too

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As for your will, it is one of the first documents to update. As we’ve learned from the pandemic, life can be unpredictable and it’s important that your assets are left in good hands in case something happens. We know that the future of your children is a priority, and it is important to make sure that your wishes for your half of the estate are updated and taken into account.

This process can be intimidating, but getting a divorce in your 60s doesn’t mean you are no longer happily navigating your retirement years. Endings bring new beginnings. Just make sure you’re getting what you’re entitled to, and if you ever think about taking the plunge and remarrying, consult your financial advisor to make sure you’re well protected.

Ida Khajadourian and Kathy McMillan are both Directors, Wealth Management, Portfolio Managers and Investment Advisors at Richardson Wealth.

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