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Retirement funding advice for gray divorcees

For individuals who divorce in their 30s or 40s, matters related to child custody and the division of marital assets such as a home, property and financial accounts often top the list of chief concerns. Individuals in this age bracket still have years ahead of them to work and regain their financial footing and may fall in love and marry again. However, for individuals who are nearing or in retirement and facing divorce, financial considerations are often a much more immediate concern.

With few to no working years left, these so-called gray divorcees must be strategic and smart when negotiating a divorce settlement. With shared children grown and raising families of their own, gray divorcees' main focus shifts to financial matters and how to ensure one is able to live out their remaining years comfortably.

For individuals facing divorce who are over the age of 50, a spouse's retirement benefits are an attractive option to funding one's retirement. In Minnesota, a husband or wife is entitled to receive an equitable share of his or her spouse's retirement benefits. While at face value, dividing retirement assets may seem simple enough, after taking tax implications into account, the actual values of retirement accounts can vary significantly.

For anyone facing a divorce, it's normal and natural to get caught up in the emotional aspects of divorce and fight to retain ownership of a previously shared home, properties or personal belongings. Most often, however, these individuals take a financial hit when a home needs major repairs or property values tank.

Gray divorcees would be wise to enlist the assistance of a financial professional as well as a divorce attorney who handles complex and high asset divorces. These financial and legal professionals can answer questions and provide advice on which assets have the least tax implications as well as those that have the best growth potential. 

Source: Forbes, "The Big Money Mistake Divorcing Women Make," Kerry Hannon, July 3, 2014

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