Divorce is becoming an appealing option for many adults over age 50, who realize they are unhappy in their marriages. The rate of grey divorce, a popular term for a divorce involving a couple age 50 or older, has roughly doubled since the 1990s. The U.S. News and World Report speculated that this may be due to the longer lifespans people are now experiencing. It is only logical people would not want to spend that additional time in an unhappy situation.
However, grey divorce can have some unintended consequences on the financial situation and social life of divorcees. If you are going through a grey divorce, there are some actions you can consider taking to minimize or overcome some of those difficulties.
Prioritize financial security
During your divorce, it is often in your best interest to prioritize your long-term financial security. This may mean letting the marital house go in favor of other, more liquid assets. Many times, spouses will fight for the house at all costs, but when the divorce is over, the spouse who ends up with the house struggles to afford the maintenance or mortgage costs associated with it. Opting for a smaller home in a more affordable area may leave you with more money left over each month. While this extra money can help you live more comfortably right away, you can also combine that savings with other lifestyle changes to quickly rebuild your retirement funds if they end up taking a hit during your divorce.
Consider all career options
If it makes sense for you to re-enter the workforce, expect that there may be some difficulties. Unfortunately, ageism is still prevalent in the workforce, and depending on how long you have been out of the workforce, the qualifications for various positions may have changed dramatically due to technology. It can be helpful to be open minded when you consider your career options. Do not assume you must get a four-year degree to get a new career. Consider taking a certification class or utilizing your network of family, friends and community members to find new job opportunities.
Although unintentional, isolation is an all-too-common consequence of grey divorce. Isolation can be a serious problem that may lead to depression, mental health decline and other health problems. To avoid unhealthy time alone, try to get out of your house every day. Consider joining a social support network, joining a club, taking a class in the community or volunteering for a cause you care about. Adopting a pet, like a dog, can also bring companionship into your life and help encourage you to get out of your house and exercise in your neighborhood.
Those who divorce later in life typically face different challenges than those who divorce earlier in life. If you are facing grey divorce, it is important to consider those challenges as you make decisions during the divorce process and as you restructure your life after your divorce.