Atlanta Financial Blog
Why “Equitable Distribution” In A Divorce May Not Be Enough For Women
December 3, 2019
If you’re a married woman, research shows that you are far more likely to seek a divorce than your husband. In fact, women initiate 69% of all divorces in the U.S..
If you do decide to end your marriage, you and your soon-to-be ex-husband will have to take stock of all your assets and then begin the process of splitting them up.
Ideally, there will be a fair and equitable division of assets and belongings between ex-spouses. But for a division to be equitable, you must often consider the intangibles, like earnings potential and child-rearing, as part of your exit plan.
Women and men both suffer financially after divorce. That’s a no-brainer. But research shows that, while men’s post-divorce financial struggles tend to be a temporary setback, the financial consequences of divorce on women are more likely to be permanent.
- Married women are more likely than married men to leave the workforce to stay home with their children. Once divorced, most women who stopped working to raise kids realize they’ll need to get a job. Gaps in their resume may make finding work more difficult. Women may also need to play catch-up in terms of industry and technological advancements.
- For those women who have primary custody of their kids, the cost of childcare options can prevent career progress. In some areas, monthly daycare costs can be almost as expensive as rent or a mortgage payment. And, depending on your state, your ex may not be on the hook for sharing childcare costs. Make sure that your child support payments account for this.
- Women still earn less than men. According to Pew Research, women earned 85% of what men earned in 2018. This is typically because more women than men work part-time (due to childcare responsibilities), or have less education or less experience than men.
- Women still handle more unpaid domestic work than men. That means women have less time to work for pay – which means less earnings potential.
If you’re considering divorce, working with a good attorney may not be enough. While they are experts in the legal aspects of the divorce process, many attorneys are not well-versed in financial matters. Their role is to guide you through the legal process, not provide personalized financial-planning advice. The number one question my clients have when facing a divorce is “Will I be OK?”. Working with a financial advisor can help answer that.
At Atlanta Financial, we have been by the side of women divorcing for more than 30 years. Through our DivorceFIT™ process, we will walk with you through the big picture financial issues all the way to the smallest of details that need to be addressed as you go through divorce and after. Our goal is to help you transition to the next phase in your life on solid financial footing.
The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (“SECURE”) Act was signed into law on December 20, 2019. With all of the discussion in the news around the political uncertainty, impeachment, and the looming trade war, one of the largest changes to retirement savings laws in recent years was passed with very little fanfare. However, some of the changes will be significant. I have tried to highlight what may impact the majority of our clients and readers.
The Act has a lot of positives such as simplifying rules and making 401k plans potentially available to more workers, pushing back the RMD age, and allowing contributions to IRAs past age 70. The negative impact I see is the elimination of the stretch IRA which is a clear move by the government to raise tax revenues by forcing money out of inherited IRAs sooner. I will discuss in more detail below, but this should be a time to review beneficiaries and discuss whether any change in your legacy planning should be made in response to the new laws. What do you need to pay attention to?
A few months ago, I saw a sale sign in front of my neighbor Gina’s house. She’s lived on my street even longer than I have, so I was surprised that she was selling her home. I bumped into her a week later at the supermarket and asked her where she was planning to move. She told me (with some regret) that she was downsizing to a less expensive house. The alimony payments she’d been getting from her ex-husband had ended last year, and she hadn’t prepared for the loss of that income. She soon realized she could no longer afford to live in her home.
I’d like to believe that everyone understands the value in a year-end review of their personal finances. Statistics that I’ve seen indicate that over half of people who make resolutions indicate a change to household finances and saving money is a priority in the new year1. What is a bit of surprise to me is that so many put off (or neglect all together) actually reviewing their finances before year’s end. My conclusion: one of the biggest deterrents is the time it takes to get things organized.
When it comes to being successful with money, strong organization will empower you more than anything else you can do to take control of your finances moving forward. With my personal and professional understanding of the challenges of this process, I’ve put together an 8-step checklist to get your finances organized, take inventory of where you stand, and ultimately get you ready to close the books on 2019.