The latest ABS statistics on marriages and divorces released in November last year shows that the only age groups for which the rate of divorce has increased over the ten years to 2012 were those aged 55+.*
Couple this with what the statistics don’t show, the incidence of convenience relationships-where the relationship has broken down but couples stay together essentially leading different lives - and we have an issue.
So why have more people in the 55+ demographic considered divorce as an option? Perhaps because:
Children are now grown and have flown the coop, divorces involving children have steadily declined
There is a growing societal acceptance that divorce is an option to an unhappy relationship
Growing wealth means it is financially viable for assets to be split with both former partners remaining relatively secure
A longer life expectancy means an improved ability to recover financially and chances of commencing a new long-term relationship
It is a natural time of reflection about what has been achieved so far and what one may want from life with the approach of the end of working life
It is concerning that at a time when many couples are gearing up to start their new life of retirement that more are choosing to end their marriages.
I believe that part of the solution is communication. Not just discussion about the weather, but full conversations leaving nothing out.
I am sure there is not enough acknowledgement that part of Life’s journey is to learn and grow and in the process your world view must evolve and change. How much of your changing world view is noticed by you, communicated to your partner and accepted by them as the new you?
How much of our agreements about how we are going to treat each other remains unsaid and left to chance? How much of our retirement vision has really been communicated? How often do partners acknowledge each other for their success?
The job of having open and honest relationships is also hampered when we presume we know what our partner is thinking, or we avoid conversations because of a previous outcome.
I see my role as a Financial Planner as supporting change in peoples’ lives and some ways, I create the space for partners to learn more about each other. It usually starts with encouraging a reflection on ones Purpose in life, which is a little deeper than simply asking what are your financial objectives?
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* Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics. 3310.0 - Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2012