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Why retirement plans are more valuable than the home in divorce

Many older couples getting divorced worry about who will get to keep the house. However, older individuals getting divorced should be more concerned with dividing their retirement plans.

Divorce can have a significant impact on a couple's retirement plans and property division negotiations. This is because each individual has to try and save on their own, which can be difficult on a single income, especially if one spouse was not previously working.

It is important for divorced individuals to plan for their retirement as soon as possible after their divorce to make sure they are creating a successful financial future for themselves. Unfortunately, many divorced people have a difficult time saving for retirement.

A survey by ING found that divorced people on average have $10,000 less in their retirement savings compared to the average married person. What's worse is that the survey reported that the divorced individuals were roughly five years older than the married individuals, showing that it is harder for divorced people to save as much money.

This information can serve as a wake-up call to recently divorced individuals. While divorced people may have a harder time saving as much money in their retirement accounts, there are steps they can take to rebuild their retirement plans.

It is may be in an individual's best interests to go after the retirement accounts instead of the family home during divorce negotiations. Owning a home on your own can be much more difficult on a single income so it may be wise to negotiate the home to try and get more retirement assets during the settlement. This can help set up a new retirement plan that will help you in the long run.

Recently divorced individuals should consult a financial planner as well as their divorce attorney when discussing negotiation tactics during their divorce.

Source: CNN Money, "Rebuild your nest egg after a divorce," Beth Braverman, Feb. 21, 2013

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