How Late Divorce Seriously Messes Up Retirement For Older Women

Unless she happens to live in Sicily, in which case, maybe not so much.
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The later in life that a woman divorces, the more likely she is to be working full-time past retirement age, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research study.

The study of survey data from almost 56,000 women by economists Claudia Olivetti of Boston College and Dana Rotz of Mathematica Policy Research found that – compared with women who divorced before age 30 – women who divorced after 50 were about 10 percentage points more likely to be working full-time from ages 50 to 74.

Even as divorce rates for younger Americans have fallen, failed marriages among people over 50 doubled from 1990 to 2010. This may contribute to the reason why about one in five Americans over 65 is working, twice as many in the early 1980s, the researchers said.

The assumption is that women who divorced while they were younger had more years to invest in their work careers and thus build up their own retirement nest egg, whereas women who relied on their spouses for support and then divorced later in life wound up with less.

And while it’s certainly not a silver lining, we were amused to learn that the Italian Supreme Court recently ruled that divorced women in Sicily will receive alimony checks higher than the national average. The ruling came after a man ― ordered to pay his ex-wife a monthly sum of €1.400 (roughly $1,500 a month) ― complained that his wife had never even tried to find work. That argument wasn’t even acknowledged by the court, which gave more weight to the advanced age of the woman at the time of the divorce and the fact that she had dedicated her entire life to the family and her marriage, and had no professional skills of any kind. Plus, the bench ruled, she has a right to higher alimony because she lives in Sicily. Cost of living or Tony Soprano?

Before You Go

Quotes To Strengthen You During Divorce