SPLITS CAN TAKE TOLL

Di­vorce im­pacts on emo­tions and as­sets

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - THE GOOD LIFE -

Af­ter a long mar­riage, the last thing cou­ples ex­pect to have to deal with in their re­tire­ment is di­vorce. But more over-50s are find­ing them­selves sud­denly sin­gle, and forced to start over fi­nan­cially or ad­just their plans for re­tire­ment.

The av­er­age age of di­vorcees has in­creased over the last 25 years, data from 2013 shows.

The av­er­age fe­male di­vorcee was 42 years old while the av­er­age male di­vorcee was 44, com­pared 32 for women and 34 for men in 1990.

And while the di­vorce rate for peo­ple in their 30s and 40s has now de­creased, it has jumped for those 50 and older.

This is mainly be­cause peo­ple are mar­ry­ing later, which means the di­vorce age has also got­ten older.

There may have been a time in the past, where cou­ples would have ‘stuck it out’, that isn’t the case now.

Ac­cord­ing to an ar­ti­cle by Robin Bow­er­man, Prin­ci­pal of Van­guard In­vest­ments Aus­tralia, sep­a­ra­tion means that a for­mer cou­ple’s as­sets – in­clud­ing the fam­ily home, their su­per­an­nu­a­tion and other in­vest­ments – are split.

“Solely from a re­tire­ment per­spec­tive, a re­la­tion­ship break­down means that not only are re­tire­ment sav­ings di­vided but each per­son has to pay for sep­a­rate ac­com­mo­da­tion,” he says.

“Many sep­a­rated in­di­vid­u­als, of course, can no longer af­ford to own a home. And the re­al­ity is that it typ­i­cally costs much more to fi­nance the re­tire­ment of two sin­gle peo­ple than a cou­ple.”

The truth of it is di­vorce for the over 50s (and at any age) is al­ways go­ing to be hard. While any chil­dren are likely to be older and cus­tody is not an is­sue, fi­nan­cially, both par­ties come out less well off due to the na­ture of di­vid­ing and sep­a­rat­ing as­sets.

Fi­nan­cial plan­ner James Walk­erPow­ell from More4Life Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices says he has been privy to many sep­a­ra­tions in his pro­fes­sional ca­pac­ity.

He says more of­ten than not, an un­happy re­la­tion­ship can lead to over­spend­ing in the re­la­tion­ship.

“The is­sue is, gen­er­ally speak­ing that when peo­ple are re­ally un­happy it is com­pen­sated by spend­ing money and they never get ahead,” he says.

He re­calls one client who was strug­gling in his re­la­tion­ship and in his fi­nances.

“He just couldn’t get ahead and then he broke up with his wife, moved in with a new part­ner and even though he gave 70 per cent of his wealth away – five or 10 years down the track he’s in a much bet­ter sit­u­a­tion be­cause of he’s in a much bet­ter space.”

He says he’s had clients who felt stuck in the ca­reers, be­cause they were the ma­jor bread­win­ner.

“And when they’ve split, they’ve had the free­dom to go and pur­sue other ca­reers and pas­sions be­cause the pres­sure was off,” he says.

“Rigor mor­tis had set in when you’re stuck in a re­la­tion­ship or stuck in a job and then it breaks down, ev­ery­thing is as­sessed.”

“Life’s too short to be mis­er­able and they get on with what their pas­sions are.”

Life’s too short to be mis­er­able and they get on with what

their pas­sions are

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