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Does divorce hurt a woman's retirement prospects?

If you're getting a divorce, you probably have a lot of questions to ask. One that comes up often is about how the divorce is going to affect a woman's retirement in the future. Can a divorce have heavy implications for retirement? Yes, but there are ways to make sure the impact is minimally damaging.

As a woman, your life expectancy, on average, is higher than a man's. That means that you'll need more money for retirement. This is one argument you can use during your divorce for why you need access to more funds or access to greater retirement benefits from your husband.

On top of this, remember that the gender pay gap is still very real; it can be harder for women to earn as much as men doing the same jobs, so that means that a woman's Social Security benefits may not be as high as her husband's. If you've been married less than 10 years before getting a divorce, you'll no longer be able to collect Social Security benefits that are based on your ex's earnings. That can be incredibly harmful to your retirement, especially if he was the primary earner.

It's important to educate yourself about investing money out of your divorce and into your retirement to take some of the stress off your future. If you start planning early and include your retirement in your settlement negotiations, you may be able to determine ways to have higher income streams when you hit retirement age. You may need to modify your lifestyle later, but making sure you have enough money to live on during this time in your life is vital.

Source: Forbes, "Divorced Women: How Will You Retire?," Jeff Landers, June 16, 2015

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