Bill and Melinda, Plain old Joe’s like the rest of us.
We all recently heard the news that the tech world’s “royal couple”, Bill and Melinda Gates, are ending their marriage. The Gates live a life that only some can dream of and only 1% of the 1% get to experience. Yet, for as unique as their lives may be, this divorce is as common as white bread and milk. They have fallen among the ever-growing number of Americans who make up the growing phenomenon of the Grey Divorce.
Grey is the New Black
The Grey Divorce is a term commonly used to describe divorces where the couple are over the age of 50. While divorce is in decline in the United States, the rate for divorce filings for those over 50-years-old is greater than for other segments of the population. In fact, it has doubled since the 1990’s when divorce was at a high for the country. High profile divorces like that of the Gates’ are only unique in the amount of wealth being divided. These couple have joined the multitude of others their age who are looking to restart their lives at or after 50.
If Not Now When?
It would be wonderful to be able to say that there is one determining reason why these couples are walking away from their marriages after decades. If only there was one thing, we could tell them to work on, in the hope of sparing them and their families the pain that accompanies divorce. Unfortunately, there is no simple cause for this phenomenon. I have worked with numerous clients who have found themselves in this exact situation. The one thing I find them (or their spouses) coming back to is: if not now, when?
Retirement and middle age have been redefined by Baby Boomers. Life expectancy and the quality of life in your 50’s is changing the outlook they have on the future. Life is not ending, it’s just beginning. Many of these couple would tell you that they grew apart and have different interest. They have different perspectives on the future and are reluctant to spend the next 50 years in an unfulfilling and unhappy relationship.
The Truth We Don’t Acknowledge
I am a huge advocate for finding one’s happiness and living your best life. Staying in an unhappy and unfulfilling marriage is not something anyone should endure. Yet, there are repercussions to divorcing. Some of which are especially detrimental ones for women from a financial standpoint. We know that women who divorce after the age of 50 see a decrease in annual income of over 40%. According to the social security administration, 25% of women over 50 that live in poverty are either divorced or widowed.
In these situations, women are victims of the dreaded Mommy Penalty, financial apathy, and the societal pay disparity. They are left scrambling after divorce, scrambling to understand their finances, to find good paying jobs and to get career traction, all of this at 50 or older. These are the reason that women must start taking an active part in the financial planning of their households.
Melinda Gates will have a huge team handling her divorce and helping provide her expert advice. Going through this process without a team puts you at a disadvantage, especially women who are not comfortable dealing with finances. These women should hire a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst that can help them with the financials of their divorce process. A CDFA is a divorce professional that specializes in helping organize financial documents, make lifestyle analysis and analysis of settlement. A CDFA will help you reach a divorce settlement that is equitable and keeps your future in mind. They will help you find a future that doesn’t have to be filled with grey skies.
If you or someone you know is considering divorcing or in the process of divorcing, please take a look at the FREE programs and offer. Divorce doesn’t have to destroy you, together we can help you come out empowered for the future ahead.