Whether you are going through a divorce later in life or simply looking toward the future, you must consider what will happen with your retirement. The choices and agreements that you make during your divorce could have a major impact on what happens when it is time for you to retire. To avoid these issues, you need to think ahead when crafting your divorce settlement.
You have some control if you and your spouse work together to reach an agreement. There are various steps you can take, from fair property division to requesting alimony, that will help you as you plan for your future.
Understanding your finances
Money magazine suggests that you figure out your new budget after the divorce. It will more than likely change significantly; most people see a drop in income of around 25 to 50%. This can put your retirement accounts at risk. People often dip into their accounts to help them get by during and immediately after the divorce.
Be ready for this new budget so that you do not need to take money from your savings or retirement accounts. Use this knowledge to help guide you as you make property division decisions.
During property division, the court will expect you to be fair and equal. This does not mean that you have to get the same amount of property. It means that the value needs to be equal. This is important if you want to protect your retirement accounts. You may be able to trade other assets to retain your full account.
Thinking back to your new budget, it may make sense to let some assets go. For example, it may be best to sell your home instead of keeping it. The expenses of keeping it up may be too much after the divorce, and you can take the money you earn from the sale and put it into your retirement accounts to give them a nice boost.
Finally, if you really need it, you should ask for alimony. This is something to help you, especially if your ex-spouse will have a significantly higher income post-divorce than you. Do not be afraid to ask the court to give you spousal support.