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How not to let 'gray divorce' ruin your retirement

Newly released divorce figures reveal that splitting up in middle age is becoming much more common in Ogden and around the country. The number of "gray divorces," or divorces after age 50, doubled between 1990 and 2010. Though readers may assume that once we reach a certain age, we are likely to stay with our spouse the rest of our lives, the Baby Boom generation is actually becoming one of the most common age groups to go through divorce. In 2010, 25 percent of divorces were among those over 50.

Of course, the older you are when you divorce, the more likely it is that the division of your marital property will affect your retirement. What was once a retirement plan for two people must be divided in half. And living alone does not cost half of what living with a spouse does. Suddenly, you are solely responsible for your housing, transportation and other major expenses. Experts estimate that living expenses can go up 30-50 percent after divorce.

As a result, many people who are divorcing fairly late in life find themselves having to rethink their retirement plans. Some push back their retirement a few years to save up more money. Others scale back their plans -- maybe that second house in Florida is no longer realistic.

For those who want divorce to impact their retirement as little as possible, some experts recommend hiring a financial planner to go over your situation. If possible, avoid supporting your adult children indefinitely. And start saving more as soon as possible.

Source: USA TODAY, "Boomer divorce: A costly retirement roadblock," Rodney Brooks, Feb. 26, 2013

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