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Women facing divorce want to avoid financial surprises

A 2018 study of women in various stages of divorce revealed that a large number of participants experienced trying financial issues they did not expect.

Women of different ages participated in the study, which found that younger women faced more “nasty” financial surprises than those in the over-55 age group.

Study overview

The online marketplace Worthy developed the study “Building a Financial Fresh Start” and enlisted the help of 1,785 women who were either going through divorce or who were already divorced. About 22% of the participants were 55 or older. Women of all ages reported that their biggest concern was being able to live on one income. Their second-biggest worry was the cost of the divorce itself.

Financial surprises encountered

When asked if they had encountered “financial surprises” as the result of divorce, 38% of the 55-and-over age group confirmed that they had. However, nearly 50% of the women in younger age groups said they, too, had experienced unwelcome financial shocks. Financial control during marriage appeared to be a factor in this result: 23% of the participants between the ages of 18 and 54 said that they had handed all financial matters over to their husbands while 18% of the 55-and-over women had relinquished financial control. Now, these women have to take full responsibility of earning a living, paying bills, saving money and investing wisely for their own futures.

Main financial surprises

There are six main reasons why women experience anxiety over future finances:

  •         They were unaware of their total marital debt.
  •         They assumed that they could keep their home.
  •         They thought the payment of alimony or child support would be higher.
  •         They did not anticipate having to go back to work.
  •         They underestimated the cost of healthcare insurance.
  •         They underestimated the cost of obtaining a divorce.

Looking ahead

Some women have a more realistic view than others concerning the future and the future financial picture. The fact that so many women in the Worthy study faced troubling financial surprises as the result of divorce shows the importance of legal guidance and the need to learn as much as possible about post-divorce finances and how best to manage them.

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