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Study: Too many women still unaware about family finances

We've all seen the television commercials that tell us that not enough Americans do adequate financial planning for their retirement years. Interestingly, a study by Fidelity Investments found that people are doing even less planning for retirement than they were just two years prior.

For married couples, even if one person is keeping an eye on retirement savings, too often the other spouse is woefully uninformed. That can be a problem if they divorce, which is happening increasingly for people in their 50s and older.

The Fidelity survey of over 1,000 couples conducted last year found that while nearly three quarters said they communicated very well or exceptionally well about financial matters, 60 percent gave different answers regarding what their Social Security benefits would be. Some 40 percent did not correctly answer the question about their spouse's income.

Interestingly, while the percentage of people (over half) who said they were concerned about outliving their savings rose from 2013, the percentage of those who said they'd considered developing a retirement plan (over a third) increased. Therefore, it seems that people are worrying more but doing less when it comes to retirement planning.

Sadly, in marriages where the financial planning is largely in the hands of one spouse, it's still generally the husband. Attorneys and financial advisors find that too many women going through a divorce know little about their financial situation. In fact, some women don't even realize that they're entitled to part of their husband's 401(k) and other retirement accounts in a divorce.

While no one wants to anticipate a divorce, it's still essential that both people in a marriage are equally aware of their financial situation and are making plans for retirement. Too many people who lose their spouse, whether to death or divorce, find themselves in the dark about their finances.

If you believe that divorce may be in your future, it's never too early to consult with a Florida family law attorney to seek advice on what information you need to gather and what steps you should take to help ensure that you receive a fair division of assets.

Source: Thinkfinancially.com, "In The Dark About Retirement – A Common And Troubling Problem For Divorcing Women," Jeffrey A. Landers, July 11, 2016

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