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Should you change your retirement planning after divorce?

You've been planning for retirement for years. It looked like everything was going to fall into place perfectly, but then your spouse asked for a divorce. You're not retired yet, but it's drawing closer every day. Will this divorce change your plans?

It probably will. How it does so depends on your situation.

Many people feel like they're in tough financial straights after divorce. They may have lost part of their emergency funds in the split. They may be dealing with less overall income, though expenses haven't dropped that much. These people often choose to reduce the risk in their retirement plans so that they don't lose what's left.

On the other side, some people feel a sense of financial freedom. Perhaps your spouse was a lavish spender, but you're not. After dissolving your marriage, you sell your $500,000 home and move into a cabin upstate. You're happy with a simple lifestyle. You may choose to increase your risk since you now have disposable income, allowing you to retire sooner.

Another key part of the equation is how much of your previous retirement savings you retained and how much went to your ex. Even if you have a pension plan in your name, your spouse may be entitled to a portion of it through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO. How that plays out forces you to reassess exactly where you stand.

As you work through the divorce, make sure you consider your retirement plans. Look into all of your legal options and decide what course of action is best for your future.

Source: US News, "4 Tips for Retooling Your Retirement Plan After Divorce," Rebecca Lake, accessed Feb. 23, 2018

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