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10 Things I Know to Be True: By Darlys Harmon-Vaught

September 4, 2013

Darlys S. Harmon-Vaught is our featured 10 Things columnist this month. Darlys is Owner of Financial Solutions for Divorce and works as a divorce financial strategist and mediator, guiding individuals and couples through the complex decision-making process of financial issues, especially in high-net-worth cases, before and during the divorce procedure.

With her specialized training in financial, forensic and fraud analysis, Darlys is able to provide divorcing individuals/couples with a forward-looking analysis of their finances during the divorce process. Based in Louisville, Kentucky, she worked in the financial securities industry for over 20 years before opening Financial Solutions for Divorce.


10 Things I Know to Be True:

1) Divorce among couples age 50 and older has been steadily increasing since 2006.


2) Financial concerns for the “gray divorce” (divorce over 50) include estate planning for nontraditional (cohabitating) and blended families.


3) Many Americans plan to retire later than age 65 because of not having sufficient retirement savings.


4) One needs to be married for at least 10 years to have the opportunity to draw off a former spouse’s lifetime earnings as an ex-spouse and divorced survivor for Social Security benefits. This strategy would be especially beneficial if it leads to monthly payments that would be higher than the earnings of the other spouse.


5) The planning challenge for those divorcing over 50 is to project cash flow from Social Security benefits, investments and pensions.


6) The number of men and women over the age of 65 that are living together/cohabitating has increased in the last decade. Several reasons that stop these individuals from remarrying are the prospect of financial loss by having to give up a former spouse’s medical insurance or pension.


7) Baby boomers do not consider retirement to be “cool.”


8) Lack of experience with making financial decisions and the emotions surrounding money management are obvious impediments to a smooth divorce process.


9) Gift and estate tax savings, as well as income tax savings, need to be considered in the division of marital assets and maintenance.


10) A divorce financial strategist is skilled in budgeting, investments, taxes, estate tax and gift tax. This special body of knowledge, plus comprehensive expertise about finance strategies in the divorce process, allows the strategist to analyze the many dimensions of financial challenges facing those in the “gray divorce.”


10 Things We Know to Be True is a series of posts sharing the accumulated wisdom of our partners, peers and colleagues, as well as members of the Investment Answers team.