Securian Financial Group surveyed people who had been married longer than 10 years. About 35 percent of the respondents had been married longer than 20 years.
The survey found a couple of significant things that anybody who is approaching retirement and considering divorce might think about. For one thing, 89 percent of those surveyed had not remarried. Secondly, 51 percent said that their financial situation after the divorce was a little worse or much worse than it was before the divorce.
Jane LaLonde, a CFP and financial adviser with North Star Resource Group in Minneapolis, is working with a number of older men and women who are getting a late-life divorce. She says too many of them have ceded family financial management to their spouse and as a result they don't understand their situation -- and what they don't know can hurt them. "They trusted that person to take care of them and it didn't work out," she says. "You can't afford not to be a participant."
She says anyone, but particularly someone facing divorce, needs to learn the details of these retirement planning basics.
- How much insurance, savings and investments the couple has and how to locate the accounts.
- What the available retirement and pension plans are and how they are structured.
- How the family business is set up and how much it is worth.
LaLonde believes that too many people facing late-life divorce just give up. "In an attempt to not disrupt family life even further and not have their children be even more angry, people -- particularly women -- settle for less than they are entitled to. They are taken advantage of," she says.