If you’re over 60 years old and have separated from your spouse, you may be feeling apprehensive for the future. Rest assured, you are not alone.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of people aged over 65 who are divorcing has risen in recent years. It is suggested that older individuals are more connected, economically and socially, than they were before, and therefore could perhaps be more likely to seek independence.
So, as you enter this new chapter, it’s important to look to the future and get ready to embrace your retirement following divorce.
With a wealth of information online, it can be difficult to know where to begin in your planning. Read our short guide to help you prepare for the future and take control during this transition period.
Declutter and organise your mind
First things first, as you consider your retirement plans following divorce, you’ll want to get organised. With so much going through your mind, the first step to embracing your new chapter is organising your current situation, which can give you clarity and ensure you’re prepared going forwards.
Know the value of your assets
Couples that have been together longer, will likely have a greater number of shared financial assets and obligations. You’ll want to consider the best solution for dividing up assets as well as for clearing or managing shared debts.
So, start by going through your filing and collate all paperwork relating to your pensions, investments, property and money. This will help you to work out what assets you have and their potential values. It’s important for both parties to be aware of the options so you are able to divide the assets up fairly.
Alongside your assets, you’ll need to consider all outstanding debts. These might include an outstanding mortgage, credit cards and loans, and these debts may be personal or joint. Any debts in your partner’s name are their responsibility, whereas you are both liable for any in a joint name and are both responsible for settling them.
For further financial advice, it is worth contacting an independent, professional financial advisor. If you’re searching for an advisor, websites such as unbiased.co.uk or vouchedfor.co.uk can help point you in the right direction.
Check benefactors and update your Will
As you organise your financial paperwork, be sure to check any policies with named benefactors, such as life insurance policies. You may want to change these to someone else if your partner is the named beneficiary.
Similarly, if you have a Will, you may want to consider revising it to ensure your assets are bequeathed to the people you wish to have them, after you’ve passed away. Remember to confirm who is named as your executor in your Will, as you may wish to appoint a new one if this was previously your spouse.
Equally, regarding your personal financial or health and welfare decisions, you may want to consider transferring power of attorney to someone else if your wishes have changed since divorce.
When you are considering legal matters, you should always seek independent, professional legal advice. The Law Society has a simple search facility on their website which can help you find a qualified solicitor in your area.
Move forward towards happiness
Once you have your paperwork in order, you’ll want to look at the wider picture and begin thinking about your future happiness.
After divorce, many people will want independence and a fresh start in their own home. Have you considered where you’d like to live during retirement?
A home for the future
If your marital home was mortgage-free and sold (or is selling) for a high enough price to fund the purchase of two separate homes, then you will be in a fortunate position when choosing your new home. However, more often than not, this is not the case for couples who are divorcing in retirement.
With the sale of one property funding two moves, you could find yourself facing a shortfall when it comes to your onward purchase budget. This is especially the case if you are dealing with a debt accrued from outstanding mortgages or unpaid loans, including credit card or equity release debt.
If you are likely to find yourself with a shortfall in funds, don’t worry, there are options available to you.
When you’re planning to move home in retirement, it can be difficult to secure a mortgage. Mortgages and loans aren’t as readily available to those later in life and if you do secure a mortgage it may be for a shorter term with higher repayments.
A mortgage is not the only option available to you – you may wish to rent in retirement or perhaps consider a Lifetime Lease option, where your affordability can be boosted.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that 42% of over 65s move into rented accommodation when they sell their home. While this might provide an attractive short-term option, the cost of rent is likely to increase over time, and monthly rent payment will soon add up.
While you may be enjoying work now, there may soon come a time when you wish to stop and simply enjoy your retirement. In this instance, renting in retirement may not be the best long-term option for your future.
If you’re thinking about moving home and are looking for security for the future, a Lifetime Lease could be the perfect solution for you.
Applied to the purchase of a new home, a Lifetime Lease is a legally binding agreement which secures a person’s right to live in the property without any rent, mortgage or interest repayments for their lifetime.
A Home for Life Plan from Homewise is a Lifetime Lease option that is available to anyone over the age of 60 and can be applied to the purchase of pretty much any property in England and Wales. A Lifetime Lease can offer benefits that have a huge influence on the quality of your retirement, such as enabling you to move closer to family or friends.
Find out how Homewise could help you save up to 59%* on the price of your next home with our Home for Life Plan. Call 0800 043 4488 or fill in our contact form today.
Are you considering relocating in retirement? With its scenic countryside views, picturesque coastline, delicious British food and wonderful places to visit, the South East of England is popular with holidaymakers and retirees alike.
Or, with a strong community spirit and wonderful surroundings, perhaps the South West is the perfect location for you? Popular for the sandy beaches of Cornwall and rolling moorland of Devon’s National Park, the South West may be the ideal retirement destination for you.
Socialising in retirement
Whether you are moving home locally or relocating in retirement, change can cause disruption to your routines. It is important to establish and maintain friendships and hobbies for happiness in retirement, particularly when entering this next chapter after divorce.
Age UK offers advice on a range of topics to help as you adjust to the change in circumstance, including information on meeting new people and dating in older age, to support with managing your finances and other concerns.
As a ‘silver surfer’, you’re more likely to be comfortable with the Internet, which makes finding social groups to join and internet dating more accessible. Action for Happiness is a movement of people committed to building a happier and more caring society and has local groups that like-minded individuals can join.
Divorce in retirement can also be the perfect time to pick up a long-forgotten hobby or discover a new one - why not try your hand at one of these 8 fun hobbies to enjoy in retirement?
While retirement should be a time to relax, it’s important to maintain good health and wellbeing as we get older. Take inspiration for looking after your physical and mental health with these 5 ways to exercise your brain in retirement, as well as our simple guide to introducing exercise into your routine.
Many over 60s are also choosing to work longer, which brings financial security as well as offering the social benefits of a workplace environment. Volunteering is a wonderful way to give something back while giving you a focus too.
If you’re looking to continue learning in retirement, organisations like the Women’s Institute and the University of the Third Age provide UK-wide social and educational opportunities which may inspire you.
As you embrace this next chapter in retirement after divorce, remember you are not alone. Many are in similar situations and are looking for friendship, guidance and support too.
Discover more guides on enjoying retirement here in the Homewise blog.