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Is the key to a better retirement hidden in property division?

Home ownership could be the key to a more secure retirement, studies say. Does this mean that Massachusetts women should retain the marital home regardless of their personal situations? Experts caution that this is not the case, and that each person should carefully consider what assets to keep during property division. 

Overall, women tend to struggle with their retirement finances more than men after divorce. This may be in part because the average woman's income drops by around a fifth during divorce, while the typical man will see his income go up by approximately 33 percent. Home ownership, though, could be the key to securing a better financial future. Divorced women who own homes tend to be better prepared for retirement than single women who were never married. 

However, this positive affect is mostly seen in women who sell off the marital home and buy a different house. Keeping the home shared with an ex is usually not a good idea, as paying the mortgage, taxes and upkeep costs on a smaller income can be difficult if not impossible. Selling and splitting the profits with a soon-to-be ex can also be more financially lucrative than selling years down the road and having to pay capital gains tax. 

There is a lot of emotional significance attached to most family homes in Massachusetts. However, deciding what to do with the house should not be an emotional decision. Property division has real financial implications for the future, and it may not be a good idea to keep assets that will have steep future costs, especially for those who anticipate a reduction in income.  

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