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Divorce Rates Have Doubled for This Age Group in Just 25 Years

Boomer divorce boom

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Work stress, communication issues, financial uncertaintly and more can all put a strain on a marriage. Despite these potential pitfalls, overall, U.S. divorce rates dropped 18% from 2008 to 2016. However, for a certain segment of the American population, divorce is on the rise — and not in a small way.

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Divorce rates roughly doubled for people ages 50 and over from 1990 to 2015, affecting people in the baby boomer generation. Aptly referred to as “gray divorce,” marital separation in older age may have potentially detrimental effects on an individual’s health and well-being

Physically, gray divorce has been linked to higher blood pressure and weight gain. While mentally, later-in-life divorcees have reported higher levels of depression than even those whose spouses died. 

The ripple effect extends into each party’s finances too. According to the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts, following a gray divorce, women experience a 45% drop in standard of living while men experience a 15% drop. Another 2017 study found that among U.S. women, gray divorcees age 63 and up have a poverty rate nine times the rate of couples who stayed married.

“When you take retirement income that was supposed to be maintaining one household and divide it in half to maintain separate households, and you do it at an age where the amount of earnings prior to retirement is collapsed, it has a more detrimental effect,”  said Carol Lee Roberts, president of the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts. “Dividing your retirement assets at age 30 is not fun for anybody either, but there is a longer period to recoup.”

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Divorce is difficult and disruptive at any age. To better plan and prepare for the journey ahead, here is all you need to know about your finances and your divorce.