Kate had been happily married for 23 years. Her husband, John, was a stockbroker on Wall Street. They had two children, a home in New Jersey with a housekeeper, gardener, and pool man, and a summer home in upstate New York. They had everything.
Then one day, John called from work and asked Kate to grab paperwork he needed from his desk in the study. Shuffling through papers, Kate noticed a receipt for a diamond necklace in a red velvet box. Their anniversary had been the week before. John had not given her jewelry.
“Right then and there, I just knew,” Kate shared. “ And I lost it.”
A beautiful wedding, tulle bows draped on the pews, champagne toasts, your mother in a silk suit and your father beaming in a rented tux — this is not when anyone thinks of divorce.
Fast forward 10 years, and it's impossible to pass through one’s thirties or forties without witnessing it happen or experiencing it oneself — the ego-crushing, life-changing destruction that is an unwanted divorce.
One partner, usually the wife, is suddenly left to cope not just with the dissolution of a marriage, the loss of her life’s companion, and diminished self-esteem, but often the threat of poverty.
The Socioeconomics of Divorce
Studies show the economic consequences of divorce affect women more adversely. A long-term study of 600 women followed those women from the time of their divorces in the 1970s until their retirement in the 2000s.
The study compared retirement income of women who remained married their entire lives versus women who resumed their careers after divorce. At retirement, divorced women, even those who resumed successful careers at the end of wedded bliss, earned less than half in Social Security benefits than their ’til-death-do-us-part peers. (1)
Divorced, working women who never remarried had an average Social Security income of $1,000 compared to $2,231 in combined spousal benefits for continuously married women. Women who remarried after divorce did nearly as well, earning more than $2,000 a month. (1)
Leaving the Workforce