Recently Bill and Melinda Gates announced their separation. While they will not be hurting financially it still came as a shock to a lot of people. Why now? What was the catalyst that drew them apart just as they were becoming empty nesters?

Although Bill and Melinda have no direct impact on most people they have always been portrayed as a solid married couple. If such a couple could separate and shock the world then it could happen to any one of us.

Although Canada doesn’t keep track of ages in divorce, some lawyers do. Shulman Law Firm, here in Toronto, said they have seen a rise from 10% to 40% in just 10 years among older couples. Longevity may have something to do with the increase in divorce among older couples.

An American friend of mine recently had the shock of her life when her husband of 32 years texted and said he was not coming back home. Why are people over 50 now wanting to divorce? For a lot of people, it comes back down to we are only going around this merry go round once. When you realize with the children gone and there is nothing keeping you from living out your best life possible, you leave.

While you may be taken off guard emotionally, you should always make sure that you don’t get let down financially. My friend had relied on her husband to look after the finances. She never bothered to learn about what they had or how it was being managed. Now in her 70’s she opened her own bank account for the first time and has to learn how to manage the household bills.

Knowing how you are doing financially can make all the difference on how well you can cope with your situation. While you may not be able to get your partner back, having to deal with those emotions is bad enough, facing financial ruin at this stage could put you over the top.

Things you could do to be more financially prepared if something should happen to your relationship would be to understand what money comes in and what expenses it pays. What happens to the excess? Where are the savings and investments? Do you understand the risks? Are accounts joint where possible? What debts do you have? Are they joint debts or individual? You should have a basic knowledge on where your money is regardless of a relationship breakdown. It just makes good financial sense.

We certainly don’t always know what the future holds for us, but taking a bigger interest in your finances certainly couldn’t hurt. Nobody plans to be a statistic, but life sometimes gets in the way of our plans.

Call or book an appointment today, if we can help give you peace of mind of how well you are doing financially so there are no surprises later.


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