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5 steps to avoid poverty after a divorce

Everyone knows that divorce can be expensive. But few people realize how costly it can be for women, especially women over the age of 50.

According to data, the divorce rate for the baby-boomer generation has skyrocketed, with divorces among people over the age of 50 doubling between 1990 and 2010.

Why are women at risk of poverty after a divorce?

While younger people have decades to make up for the financial impact of a divorce, people nearing retirement age have few working years left to recover their losses. Women nearing retirement age are especially vulnerable, particularly if they stayed home for a period of time to raise their children.

In fact, according to Jeff Landers, a Forbes contributor who provides financial advice to women going through divorce, 27 percent of divorced women live in poverty, while only 11 percent of divorced men endure the same hardship.

What you can do to avoid poverty after a divorce

According to Landers, there are five steps women can take to avoid this scary outcome. The steps include:

  1. Protecting yourself while you're still married such by opening your own financial accounts and having your own money that your husband can't access.
  2. Making sure you have insurance coverage after the divorce, including health, life, property, disability and long term care insurance.
  3. If you are awarded child support or alimony as part of your divorce, making sure it is protected with a life insurance policy.
  4. Understanding your retirement benefits and how they apply, including the fact that you may still be able to claim Social Security benefits based on your ex-husband's earning record.
  5. Watching your spending and getting used to a more frugal lifestyle, if you believe a divorce may be in your future.

    Finally, we would add that one of the best ways you can protect yourself from financial ruin following a divorce is by working with the right lawyer. Your divorce lawyer should fight to make sure that you get every penny that you deserve.

    Dividing marital assets is not the time to be gracious or passive. You will need an advocate who will stand up for your rights and your future.

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