Statistics have shown that many women face moderate to severe financial setbacks immediately following a divorce. This is especially true if a woman has sacrificed her own career ambitions in exchange for domestic work such as child care. Often, alimony and child support payments are not enough to place the divorced spouse in a financial position that’s anywhere close to her position during the marriage.
While the first few years following a divorce can result in substantial financial challenges, a new study conducted by the University of Connecticut suggests that divorced women who remain unmarried find themselves in a far better financial position by the time that they retire than those who choose to remarry.
The study suggests that there are two ways in which women can improve their financial status following a divorce. Many women choose to remarry and reap the benefits of their new husband’s income. Women in such cases tend to be less involved in the workforce. The second way that many women who divorced increased their financial well-being was to not marry again. They start a new career or pick up on one that they had sacrificed during their marriage.
Women who no longer have a husband or partner to lean on for their financial security tend to earn more money and plan for their retirement to a greater extent than their remarried counterparts. Higher earnings and more time spent in the workforce also mean that these women qualify for larger Social Security benefit payouts when they retire.
This new study seems to suggest that there are numerous benefits for women who choose to remain unmarried following a divorce. Some see the results of this study as a liberating, powerful statement for women. It shows how getting out of an unhappy marriage can open someone up to a life in which they find value as individuals and contributors in the workforce. Divorce can lead to self-sufficiency, which is a liberating reality.
U.S. News World & Report, Money: “How Divorce Can Help Your Retirement,” Sydney Lagier, 1 Jun. 2011