The Prudential Insurance Company conduct an annual study which for the past 10 years has tracked the finances, future plans and aspirations of people planning to retire in the year ahead. It shows that for those expecting to retire in 2017 anticipated retirement income is £16,300.00 for those who have previously divorced compared with £19,400.00 for those who have never suffered a marriage break-up.
Additionally, 32% of the people surveyed who had been divorced expected to retire with debts compared with just 1 in 5 of those who have not been divorced.
A pension specialist at the Prudential pointed out that the financial impact of divorce can be devastating in the short and longer term lasting well into retirement.
When a couple divorce deciding on living costs and child care is difficult enough, but a pension fund is likely to be one of the most complicated assets a couple will have to split in the event of a divorce.
From a Lawyers perspective, next to the family home, the pension is often the biggest asset in a divorce case. If a pension has been built up during the marriage it is commonly split equally. With recent pension changes and the increased flexibility of some pensions, there is now a trend for divorcing wives to seek a pension rather than look for offsetting, i.e. taking other assets in place of pensions.
New pension rules allow some pensions to be passed down one or two generations in a tax efficient manner. This is attractive to an increasing number of divorcing wives who are keen to secure pension provision rather than secure other assets in the marital split.
Statistics from the Office of National Statistics show that overall the divorce rate is falling, the only age group seeing an increase in divorce rates is women aged 55 and over. A large number are likely to be planning their retirement or already retired. Where older couples are divorcing and approaching the end of their careers and regular earned income, pension provision is especially important. Both parties have to focus on financing separate lives in retirement which could last for a number of decades.
I specialise in financial settlements, including pension provision. If you are in the situation described and require advice please contact me on 01205 311511.