Many boomer women are at a financial loss after a split
By Warren S. Hersch
The loss of a spouse following a marriage breakup frequently is traumatizing both emotionally and financially. More often than not, advisors say, the transition is hardest on boomer women divorcees.
“Eighty percent of the female clients I counsel are alone or in transition,” says Candace Bahr, a managing partner at Bahr Investment Group,” Carlsbad, Calif. “A great number of them, particularly divorcees, are unprepared to manage their finances individually,” or to deal with a steep drop in income and assets. Bahr observes that, whereas many men exit a relationship in as stable a condition financially, the standard of living among women declines on average 27% after a divorce. And that can be distressing.
Says Dorothy “Dot” Mechtenberg, president of Denver-based Mechtenberg Financial Group: “A lot of these women say they fear ending up as bag ladies.”
The more recent the divorce, say advisors, generally the more difficult is the transition. Thats all the more true for female boomer divorcees who never before had to contend with the myriad aspects of financial planning: saving for retirement; funding a childs college education; caring for aging parents and their own long-term needs; and estate planning.
Maria Umbach, vice president and head of marketing for individual life business at Prudential Financial, Newark, N.J., adds that the emotional impact of a divorce can undermine the boomer womans confidence in her ability to make financial decisions, especially in cases where she did not choose to divorce or had no time to adjust.
Among boomer divorcees, the need for counseling applies as much to women who are financially well-positioned subsequent to the divorce as to those in lower income brackets. Indeed, Charles Failla, a principal at Sovereign Financial Group, New York, says affluent boomer divorcees constitute a growing percentage of his clientele.