Divorced Couples Approaching Retirement Face Financial Risks

Three-quarters of divorced people in this age range don’t know enough about handling their personal finances.

Americans over the age of 50 are twice as likely to get divorced as they were in 1990, which is why the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) conducted a survey of its members to ask how their divorced clients handle their finances.

Both men and women who have divorced say they didn’t have as good a handle on their spending (24.9% and 25.7%, respectively) as when they were married. However, the similarities ended there.

Divorced women become more proactive about improving their financial situation by seeking out a job (40.2%), whereas only about half of men (20.6%) do so. More than 40% of women (41.3%) increased their retirement savings, compared with 16.4% of men.

Women were almost four times more likely than men to improve their spending habits (42.3% vs. 11.7%)—and roughly 14 times more likely than men to seek out financial advice (60.4% vs. 4.4%).

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The survey asked Certified Public Accountant (CPA) financial planners what their divorced clients should have done to better prepare themselves for retirement. The most frequently cited step was to understand how to manage personal finances (75.6%) followed by understanding the financial consequences of a divorce settlement (73.0%) and understanding the tax consequences (56.9%).

Further, they said they should have updated wills or trusts (51.2%), increased retirement savings (50.7%), decreased spending (42.8%) and should have signed a prenuptial agreement (36.1%).