Why Are Women Financially Better Off After Divorce?

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For many, divorce signifies financial freedom. And, as a new study reveals, divorce can also signify great financial achievement.

According to Spectrem Group, a financial consulting firm that conducts monthly surveys, 62% of high-income divorced women (worth $1 million or more) believe that they’ve benefitted financially from their divorces—and not just in the way you’re probably thinking.

The Group asked high-income divorcées how divorce affected their finances, and the results were surprising. Above all other changes, women cited increased financial literacy as the top money-related change in their post-divorce lives. Nearly three quarters of women polled said that they became “knowledgeable or very knowledgeable about investments” after their divorces.

As President of Spectrem Group George Walper Jr. commented in a recent press release: “Many wealthy divorced women told us that they feel they are better with money and investments than their former husbands.”

But not all divorced women benefit financially from their splits. The Spectrem Group compared high-income divorced women to divorced women worth less than $1 million, and the financial disparities were clear: “Their [i.e. high-income women’s] financial well-being differs sharply from other divorced women, especially recently divorced women, who are twice as likely to live in poverty as recently divorced men.”

It seems that high-income women can assume financial responsibility and become more financially literate after their divorces because they have the means to do so. As the Group reports: “High levels of wealth combined with financial acumen seem to insulate affluent women from the financial hardships that often accompany divorce.”

So what do these stats mean for you if you’re not a high roller? Income aside, there are a few key ways you can protect yourself financially if you’re facing a divorce. Don’t miss our posts (here and here) on limiting financial damage from a split.

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  • Nigel

    Now that’s some high level bullshit you just pulled , high income women ? 62% ? Try them at 10% or less…..then you got a real fact to start off with :)

    • Ann

      Of divorced women with high-income, 62% say they benefitted–  it didn’t say 62% of divorced women are high-income . . . 

  • Harry Steward

    Divorced women tends to be more careful on spending their money and is more responsible is whatever they do.

  • Lorr

    families, even in shared custody cases.
    Any parent who has ever fought a custody battle knows that child care responsibilities are a privilege, not a burden. Unfortunately, most divorce settlements fail to account for the damaged future earning potential of a woman with child care responsibilities. Since mothers usually take some time away from their careers, and since women still earn slightly less than men, it is fair to say that most women, even prior to divorce, have lower earning power than their male spouses.
    The problem of lower earning power is exacerbated by child care responsibilities. They reduce a woman’s available work hours, thereby making it more difficult for her to increase her income through promotions, client cultivation and so forth. This marked reduced earning capacity is not factored into a divorce, since settlements focus on dividing marital property.
    Ultimately, the overall economic quality of a man’s life, based on earnings and amount spent on living expenses, increases after his divorce. He continues to earn more but bears fewer family expenses. The overall economic quality of a woman’s life, post-divorce, decreases.