A woman in her mid-fifties came in to see me about retirement planning. She had been divorced for five years and all she had left to her name was $200,000 sitting in cash.

Like most women, during the divorce settlement negotiations, she let emotions rule and turned down the retirement accounts because all she wanted was the house – the home they had raised their two daughters in for the last twenty years.

Since her divorce, she lost the house and was living with a boyfriend (that she didn’t really want to stay with, but she couldn’t afford rent on her own). Plus, there were medical bills to deal with because a past hip injury flared up, which meant she now had to walk with a cane.

My heart went out to her. She didn’t have many options at this point. Had she come to see me before her divorce settlement, things might have turned out differently. (By the way, she reported that the ex-husband was doing just fine financially speaking.)

Studies show that divorce is more financially devastating for women than it is for men.

If you are a woman heading into a divorce, here are my 5 tips to help you prepare:

Tip #1 – Think long term. Go for your share of the retirement accounts. Statistically speaking, women outlive men, which means you need your money to go farther.

Tip #2 – Don’t let emotions rule over intellect. Either let him have the house, or sell it and split the proceeds. In this economy, the house could be a liability, not an asset, depending on your situation. You’ll essentially be starting over and the last thing you need is the huge overhead of the expenses associated with home ownership.

Tip #3 – Protect your alimony payments. Be sure to put a term life insurance policy in place – with you as the beneficiary – for the full amount of alimony due to you. This way you’re covered if he suddenly passes before all alimony is paid to you. If your children are heading into college, be sure to add more death benefit to cover college costs.

Tip #4 – Remember long term care. Since women have a longer life expectancy than men (sometimes A LOT longer), the odds are you will need LTC at some point in your life. Negotiate to have a long term care policy issued for your healthcare needs in retirement. There are plenty of options for funding it. For instance, it can be a lump sum premium policy that he pays for. Do your research and seek the help of a trusted insurance advisor or financial planner.

Tip #5 – Get support! Seek the counsel of trusted financial professionals: an accountant, attorney, insurance advisor, financial planner and financial coach. Also seek emotional and spiritual support: a therapist, life coach or pastor. The bible says there is wisdom in the multitude of counselors. You deserve to be surrounded with people who will have your back.

Divorce is one of the most difficult emotional and financial experiences you will ever go through. Don’t do it alone.

Going through a divorce is one of those times when you really need to stand up for yourself and advocate for your financial wellbeing. Don’t let emotions get in the way of taking care of your needs. Don’t stick your head in the sand and go into denial about what you really need in order to be financially secure throughout your retirement years.

Your soon-to-be ex-husband and/or his attorney may try to bully you into settling for less, but don’t let that happen. I’ve seen too many women succumb to the pressure and agree to settle for less just to get it all over with only to regret it later.

You’ve got to take a stand for your financial security. If you don’t, who will?

Author's Bio: 

Patti Fagan, an award-winning financial coach and retirement planner, is a sought-after speaker on Women, Money and Retirement. She has owned and operated an independent insurance and financial services agency for the last thirteen years and has helped hundreds of women achieve financial security for their retirement years. As a financial coach, blogger and writer, Patti is passionate about empowering women with their money mindset because she wants women to be financially secure, both now and in their retirement years.

Visit http://montereymoneycoach.com/ to download free resources to help you win with money.