Divorce And Aging Require Good Planning
DIVORCE AND AGING ARE INEVITABLE TRANSITIONS
With more than 2.3 million people divorcing each year, there is a growing fascination with a topic that is becoming more and more complex. And because the long-range effects of divorce can be financially as well as emotionally devastating, there is a need for continuing information. Divorce is here to stay. It is affecting every strata of society, every age bracket, and every socio-economic class.
DIVORCE IS PREDICTABLE According to a 1988 survey of newlyweds...
* 41% doubted their decision to marry even before they married,
* 50% admitted marriage was harder than they expected after only six months of marriage,
* 51% believed their marriage might not last after six months of marriage.
DIVORCE IS EXPENSIVE The national median cost of lawyer's fees in an adversarial divorce is $4,350. Not to mention experts' fees and associated costs.
DIVORCE IS A GROWTH INDUSTRY Single-person households have grown by nearly five million since 1980 and now account for 24% of all American households. A considerable portion of this increase is directly related to the 1.2 million divorces that occur each year. In short, DIVORCE IS BIG BUSINESS...
FOR LAWYERS....If each of the 2.3 million who divorce each year spends an average of only $750 for lawyers' fees, the industry total would amount to more than $1.7 billion. If each of the 13,614 members of The Family Law Section of the American Bar Association averaged annual billings of $100,000 to matrimonial clients, this one group of divorce lawyers would be responsible for more than $1.3 billion.
FOR EXPERTS....In almost every case where there are children or assets, experts are necessary. Psychologists and psychiatrists command up to $1000 per day for their courtroom testimony. And Forensic accountants charge up to $400 per hour.
FOR THE THERAPY INDUSTRY...The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, an organization that specializes in "breakup counseling", has grown from 970 members in 1970 to 8,300 members in 1980 to 17,500 members today.
FOR LANDLORDS & REAL ESTATE AGENTS...Approximately 70% of those who divorce own their own home. In most cases, these homes are either sold or refinanced. And many divorcing/divorced people move into apartments.
FOR PROVIDERS OF ANCILLARY SERVICES...
* The greeting card industry where the "alternate card segment" - which included breakup cards - has grown by double digits each year.
* Long distance telephone carriers where $8 million in long distance bills are incurred if each person divorcing each year spends 20 minutes talking long distance to friends and relatives..
* Divorce prevention courses, some now available in 26 states, can cost up to $1,600 per couple for a 110 hour course.
* The entertainment industry has benefitted because moviegoers wait in line to see others suffer a break-up: Kramer vs. Kramer ($105 million) and War of the Roses ($84 million).
* The publishing business where, each year, new books containing the word "divorce" in the title are pushed into the marketplace. Where magazines routinely publish articles relating to coping with divorce and separation. And where videos, audio's, and websites in growing numbers are now available.
* The insurance and investment business because divorce creates two new sets of needs that must be filled.
PREPARATION FOR 2000 IS COMPLEX -- EVEN WITHOUT DIVORCE
THE "SANDWICH GENERATION": Divorce compounds an already complex society. Think about it.
Middle-aged Americans are "caught" between their parents and their children. Simultaneously, this broad cross-section find themselves 1) educating and supporting their children, 2) helping support their aged parents, and 3) planning for their own retirements. Divorce
While they reach middle age, their adult children don't leave the parental nest. Half of the adults 18 to 24 and 11% of those 25 to 34 lived with their parents last year.
While they reach middle age, their parents become senior citizens, living longer than ever before. The needs of a growing elder population create new opportunities for companies to provide information, insurance, housing, health care, investment, and other services to an expanding customer base.
By the year 2010, 70 million Americans will be over age 65 as compared to 30 million today. Since this increase may strain the resources of the Social Security system as currently structured, future legislation may reduce or eliminate benefits for affluent retirees. This means those planning to retire in the next 10 to 30 years must become informed now about how these trends may affect their economic futures.
As the average life expectancy rises to nearly 80 years, there are many new issues to consider and plan for.
Nursing home costs are increasing by 12% annually.
Although families still provide most long-term care for family members, the need for alternatives is expected to grow rapidly.
Today, 32% of men ages 55 to 64 are retired as compared to only 17% in 1975. But many are not retired in the traditional sense -- many, for example, are changing careers. Those who participated in company-sponsored retirement plans will receive large lump-sum distributions from their former employers. And they must make plans now to protect their assets and make them grow.
People whose lives are affected by these transitions must understand the cultural, economic, and demographic trends that are at work today. Then, they must re-evaluate their goals and strategies to accommodate their changing needs. While mature Americans are the most affluent segment of the population, they must make their affluence last 20 to 30 or more years after retirement.
Without appropriate planning, divorce and aging can be emotionally and economically devastating to the individual and family. And planning for change means continuing needs for information, taking time to research, and finding people in whom to place trust.
© 1998, Flying Solo®
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