Referred to as the “Gray” or “Silver” divorce, the number of divorcees in their 50s is on the rise. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 17 percent of people age 50+ were either divorced or separated as of 2011. A 2014 Bowling Green State University study indicates that more than 1 in 4 people who are in divorced are 5o years of age or older.
According to these studies, our baby boomer generation doesn’t hold the same beliefs in the sanctity of marriage as our parents did. Baby boomers want to have it all–follow their hears, so to speak, and with new medical procedures, we can look younger longer. While part of the baby boomer generation, if you have read my story, I didn’t get divorced because I “wanted it all” or was a restless baby boomer. I divorced because of addiction and abuse.
But, the repercussions of divorce in your 50s are numerous, especially for women. Financial hardships being the most obvious. I, for example, am divorced and still have a child to put through college. I don’t envision being able to retire at age 65. Many lose their support systems–couple friends that they have had most of their married lives are no longer there. Many end up feeling lonely with no one to call should they need company, support or physical help.
It’s important as women that we find a strong support network. Just the other day, my back went out on me, and I literally had to crawl to my bed. The fact that I was alone was scary, and my son joked that he was going to have to get me “life alert”. I didn’t find that any too humorous.
But the realities are there. Being single in your 50s, you don’t have the same resources as single women in their 20s or 30s. Our health will begin to fail, and we don’t have as long to build a retirement nest egg. Keeping yourself healthy by exercising and eating right is essential, and keeping your mind young and your business skills fresh, particularly in the area of technology, is also essential.