Social Security and Divorced Women
Although the U.S. Census has found that divorce rates have dropped since 1996, there is still over one third of women who divorce before age 24. That number drops significantly for older age groups, falling to 8.5% for women in the 30-34 year old age bracket.
Unfortunately, the “if at first you don’t succeed” rule doesn’t apply here. While about 40% of first marriages end in divorce, that percentage climbs exponentially for second, and third timers, with 73% of third marriages ending in a split.
For divorced women nearing retirement, however, time is ticking away, and financial readiness is an essential factor to consider. The good news is that although Social Security can be a rather complex matter, divorced women are eligible for a benefit that equals one-half of their ex-spouse’s full retirement amount, as long as they start receiving benefits at their full retirement age.
A divorced person is entitled to benefits based on his or her ex-spouse’s employment when the ex is eligible for Social Security retirement or disability benefits; the marriage lasted for 10 years or longer; the divorced person remains unmarried; the divorced person is a least 62; and the benefit to which the divorced person is entitled based on his or her own wages is less than the benefit that he or she would receive based on the ex’s.
Divorce can certainly exert a fair amount of stress on a person, and preparing for retirement comes with its own fair share of stressful, sleepless nights. But this piece of information, and other helpful tips from the Social Security Administration’s website, “Information for Financial Planners,” together with sound financial strategy from your advisor, can certainly help ease the stress.
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