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Challenges faced by older people after divorce

Twice as many older couples are divorcing today compared to the 1990s, but this could leave some people in California having to deal with financial matters for the first time in their lives. A survey by UBS Global Wealth Management found that a majority of women said they left financial planning and investing up to their husbands. The survey included 1,500 couples and 600 women who were divorced or widowed. Participants had to have at least $250,000 in liquid assets.

With 61 percent of millennial women and 54 percent of baby boomer women saying their husbands made the investment decisions, this traditional arrangement does not appear to be a trend that is going away. However, women who did not participate in financial decision-making and whose marriages later ended expressed regret that they were not more informed. Over half said they encountered surprises whether it was a positive one, such as a retirement account, or a negative one, such as debt or a spending habit. Some said they were simply surprised at how little they knew about finances.

More than 90 percent said they wished their marriage had been transparent regarding finances in hindsight. Women tend to put this belief into practice in second marriages where 80 percent of them participate in decisions about the marital finances.

Divorcing with little knowledge of financial matters can be a challenge, and this may be even more true when a person is nearer retirement. An older person might face challenges reentering the work force after years away. A retirement that two planned may be more costly when spent separately. People might want to discuss these and other issues with an attorney.

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