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A boom in baby boom divorces

Take a look at your 50 to 65-year-old friends in Greenwood Village. Are you surprised by the number of baby boomers who have divorced, some after more than 20 years of marriage? If you are one of the graying divorcees older than 50, you're not alone.

Apparently, the divorce rate has doubled for baby boomers. A recent news article points out some of the reasons that baby boomers choose to stay married, as well as why they are choosing to call it quits.

First, let's take a look at why the divorce rate might be so high among this age group.

  • People are living longer, which means more potential years spent with an incompatible spouse.
  • The children are gone, so the day-to-day parenting demands are gone.
  • More women are working and thus more able to fend for themselves.

Reportedly the divorce rate for late in life re-marriage is even higher than long-term marriages. The re-marriage divorce rate is 60 percent. There are, however, equally valid reasons to stay together.

  • Financially speaking, when you divorce, you split the assets but the expenses are not cut in half. In fact, they increase.
  • Lack of savings is an issue. A nonpartisan survey, the 2011 Retirement Confidence Survey, showed that more than half of those who work have less than $25,000 in savings.
  • Who will take care of you? Some couples stay together for health and caretaking reasons.

The statistics do not tell the same story for men and for women. Men will fare better financially, although women tend to live longer and have a wider network of caregivers. Financially speaking, the outlook is not as bright for women. The Institute for Women's Policy Research maintains that 20 percent of women will end up living in poverty.

If there is a lesson here, it is that there are short and long-term consequences for divorce. If you are a baby boomer that may be considering divorce, it may be a good idea to obtain professional advice before deciding to call it quits so that you can make wise choices.

Source: The Orange County Register, "What happens when Boomers divorce?" Jane Glenn Haas, June 15, 2012

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