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How divorce may affect older women financially

Baby boomers were twice as likely to get a divorce in 2010 as the same age group was in 1990, and according to research, this may leave women in a particularly financially vulnerable position. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, women who divorced later in life are more likely to remain in the workforce between the ages of 50 and 74 than women who remained married.

Another issue for women is that they are more likely than men to be the partner who stays home with children. This means that they are not earning money or putting away funds for retirement during that time, but it also means that when they attempt to reenter the workforce or enter it for the first time, they may do so at a low wage. Researchers did note that women in bad marriages tended to be better prepared for divorce than those who were in what they termed low-risk marriages.

According to a Social Security Administration study published in 2012, among women over the age of 80, 15 percent of those who were widowed are poor. The poverty rate for women who never married was 17 percent while for divorced women, it was 22 percent.

Women who are going through a divorce might want to discuss their concerns about financial security with an attorney. The emotions surrounding a divorce can sometimes hamper their pursuit of this security. For example, they might feel guilty about the divorce or want it over with quickly and make more concessions than they should. They might also make an agreement such as keeping the family home in exchange for their share of the retirement account. This may leave them unprepared for retirement and paying high fees for maintenance, taxes and other aspects of home ownership.

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