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Gray divorce: A costly retirement roadblock
Old 02-26-2013, 08:45 AM   #1
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Gray divorce: A costly retirement roadblock

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Gray divorce can be economically devastating for some people, especially for women who have been out of the labor force bearing children," says Susan Brown, professor of sociology at Bowling Green State University and co-author of the 2012 report "The Gray Divorce Revolution."

Boomer divorce: A costly retirement roadblock
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:57 AM   #2
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From my experience, it seems that women come out of it pretty well.

H
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:01 AM   #3
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Remember the line "Two can live as cheaply as one"? Well, I don't think it's true.

Looking at our expenses, many seem strictly separable:
Food
Clothing
Medical care
Contributions
Gifts to children
Personal care (shampoo, toothpaste, haircuts, ...)
Hobbies

One seems entirely joint:
Housing

The rest are some combination:
Cars (we own two, most local trips are separate, but longer travel is shared)
Travel (air fare and meals are separate, lodging and cars are shared)

I took the time to look at our actual spending since we retired. Applying some ratios from above. I get that we'd each spend about 64% of our current total.

BUT, that assumes we would own two houses just like our current house. I think the message of the article (other than to hire a planner) is that you shouldn't just assume you can afford that.
Especially for women (who seem to have a greater affinity for the house where "I raised my children"), downsizing housing can be a difficult decision. If we did that, we could get our single expense below 60% of our joint expenses.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:08 AM   #4
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From my experience, it seems that women come out of it pretty well.
+1

The only men I know who have come out of a divorce well are the ones who were already filthy rich, or who had a spendthrift spouse. And the ones who found a rich lonely widow who was willing to share house and hearth for some companionship.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:27 AM   #5
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My parents considered divorce when they became empty nesters. They were VERY close to it. If it hadn't been financially hard - they probably would have done it.

My mom had been a SAHM for about 15 years - but was back in the workforce. But her earnings were lower than my dad's. She'd have been entitled to half of his retirement accounts. That made my dad take pause.

Eventually they figured out first how to get along again... and eventually, how to really love each other again. Retirement was a big factor in that - removing work stress, improved their relationship.

Being cheap kept my parents married. The last 10 years of their marriage were probably the best - as they traveled, enjoyed common hobbies, enjoyed each other. They were happy.

As far as who comes out of the divorce "well"... I don't know anyone who feels richer after divorce than before... male or female. Housing (and the equity in a house) is a big deal.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:29 AM   #6
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Divorce is an unfortunate setback at any age no? Though admittedly probably harder to recover financially once retired. Always a sad development...
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Old 02-26-2013, 03:21 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by rodi View Post
My parents considered divorce when they became empty nesters. They were VERY close to it. If it hadn't been financially hard - they probably would have done it.

My mom had been a SAHM for about 15 years - but was back in the workforce. But her earnings were lower than my dad's. She'd have been entitled to half of his retirement accounts. That made my dad take pause.

Eventually they figured out first how to get along again... and eventually, how to really love each other again. Retirement was a big factor in that - removing work stress, improved their relationship.

Being cheap kept my parents married. The last 10 years of their marriage were probably the best - as they traveled, enjoyed common hobbies, enjoyed each other. They were happy.

As far as who comes out of the divorce "well"... I don't know anyone who feels richer after divorce than before... male or female. Housing (and the equity in a house) is a big deal.

I have met a number of women who feel 'richer' after a divorce... not due to money, but peace of mind and enjoyment of life... and isn't that more important than money

Heck, we have one here that had a thread going on her divorce etc... (just can't remember her handle)....
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Old 02-26-2013, 03:31 PM   #8
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Works sometimes put distance between the married couples in term of time and space. When they retire and spend more times together, they find things to fight over and that often tip marginal relationships over the edge.
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Old 02-26-2013, 03:35 PM   #9
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Sometimes divorce is the right thing. But when the parties get vindictive, no one really wins but the lawyers...
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Old 02-26-2013, 03:44 PM   #10
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From my experience, it seems that women come out of it pretty well.

H
Wow. I know so many divorced women who will work till they are 70 since they did not do so well in the divorce. I also know one women whose husband cheated on her, divorced her, and since she made double what he did, he got alimony.

I think it's tough to generalize....
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Old 02-26-2013, 04:07 PM   #11
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From my experience, it seems that women come out of it pretty well.

H
Really? She can't get more than everything you already have and everything you'll earn in the future. Or can she?
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Old 02-26-2013, 04:54 PM   #12
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..........I think it's tough to generalize....
No it's easy - just dangerous.
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:44 PM   #13
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+1

The only men I know who have come out of a divorce well are the ones who were already filthy rich, or who had a spendthrift spouse. And the ones who found a rich lonely widow who was willing to share house and hearth for some companionship.
My XH got me to pay for his medical school and cover all his expenses through school, residency, and fellowship (had to pay me back part of his tuition.) I made over 85% of our income during the 11 year marriage, but he got to take half of everything. And then when he finally starts making a doctor's income, I get none of that. He really made out well financially in divorce. He could not have planned it better -- essentially get a free ride, cook/maid/etc., and a large parting gift. Your friends are living in the wrong state (or I am...)

Luckily I am young enough to rebuild, but the wife screwing the husband is one generalization I wish would have happened in my case, but it was exactly the opposite!

Now, if you're talking non-financial, then I clearly came out ahead in that calculation!
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:52 PM   #14
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This is one the many reasons why I have decided not to marry. Ever. I have had quite a few girlfriends though.
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:29 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Independent View Post
Remember the line "Two can live as cheaply as one"? Well, I don't think it's true.

Looking at our expenses, many seem strictly separable:
Food
Clothing
Medical care
Contributions
Gifts to children
Personal care (shampoo, toothpaste, haircuts, ...)
Hobbies

One seems entirely joint:
Housing

The rest are some combination:
Cars (we own two, most local trips are separate, but longer travel is shared)
Travel (air fare and meals are separate, lodging and cars are shared)
I've thought about this. Not from a divorce standpoint, but in terms of what if my husband were to die. In almost all married couples, one of the two will die first and that will often result in a loss of income, if only from loss of one SS income.

So part of prudent planning for retirement is determining if you could make it on your own.

In doing that, I realize that one way that costs get reduced when there is only one is that you only have to make yourself happy. For example... we own a house on acreage and in a subdivision with no pet restrictions because having large dogs is important to DH. I would have been happy with a less expensive house in a "regular" subdivision since having the dogs is not that important to me.

On the other hand, DH didn't care that much about some of the aspects of the house (the kitchen, for example) that were important to me. If he was buying a house alone, he would have the house on acreage, etc. but would probably have a house that had less granite and stainless steel.

So his ideal house and my ideal house are each cheaper than the house we bought that kept both of us happy.

A lot of the expenditures are that way. Things that are important to DH may not be important for me and vice versa. When projecting it I realized that my expenses alone - while a bit more than half of our combined expenses weren't much more than half.
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:50 PM   #16
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So his ideal house and my ideal house are each cheaper than the house we bought that kept both of us happy.

A lot of the expenditures are that way. Things that are important to DH may not be important for me and vice versa. When projecting it I realized that my expenses alone - while a bit more than half of our combined expenses weren't much more than half.
This is interesting, but I think it will mainly affect affluent couples. Lots of people can't fford either acreage, or granite. For them, 2 apartments or condos will cost more than one, and furniture, and cable, etc. I think as you go up the income scale, people are able to be more differentiated in what they like to spend money on. And some couples are almost peas in a pod.

Ha
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:53 PM   #17
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Wow. I know so many divorced women who will work till they are 70 since they did not do so well in the divorce. I also know one women whose husband cheated on her, divorced her, and since she made double what he did, he got alimony.

I think it's tough to generalize....
You maybe didn't notice my phrase "From my experience..." I am not a sociologist, just a guy, and my experience is me and my friends and a son and and some cousins. So I am really not generalizing at all, just reporting on a limited set of events. I am not much of a generalizer.

If someone is interested in accurate generalization, I am sure data are available, and fairly sure that more spousal support is paid to ex- wives than to ex-husbands.

Ha
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Old 02-26-2013, 11:20 PM   #18
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My XH got me to pay for his medical school and cover all his expenses through school, residency, and fellowship (had to pay me back part of his tuition.) I made over 85% of our income during the 11 year marriage, but he got to take half of everything. And then when he finally starts making a doctor's income, I get none of that. He really made out well financially in divorce. He could not have planned it better -- essentially get a free ride, cook/maid/etc., and a large parting gift. Your friends are living in the wrong state (or I am...)

Luckily I am young enough to rebuild, but the wife screwing the husband is one generalization I wish would have happened in my case, but it was exactly the opposite!

Now, if you're talking non-financial, then I clearly came out ahead in that calculation!
Well he really DID plan that well. Why would he stoop to taking half the assets after all you'd done to set him up financially for life.
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:28 AM   #19
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My XH got me to pay for his medical school and cover all his expenses through school, residency, and fellowship (had to pay me back part of his tuition.) I made over 85% of our income during the 11 year marriage, but he got to take half of everything. And then when he finally starts making a doctor's income, I get none of that. He really made out well financially in divorce. He could not have planned it better -- essentially get a free ride, cook/maid/etc., and a large parting gift. Your friends are living in the wrong state (or I am...)

Luckily I am young enough to rebuild, but the wife screwing the husband is one generalization I wish would have happened in my case, but it was exactly the opposite!

Now, if you're talking non-financial, then I clearly came out ahead in that calculation!
I'm braking the man law here but one of my closest female friends first two husbands put it to her big time on the financial end. She basically started over twice. Happily married now to 3rd husband...yah!

Based on what you said above I feel your pain through my lady friend. It happens, there are some bad dudes out there that look good on the surface but once you peel back the union it's just smoke an mirrors.

Sorry guys, I'm talking about the player crowd and the "car salesman".

I have a lot of respect for marathoners too. Not for casual fitness person!
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:12 AM   #20
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Well he really DID plan that well. Why would he stoop to taking half the assets after all you'd done to set him up financially for life.
Why would her lawyer allow that nonsense? I thought courts took things like degrees into account when a couple divorced.
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