I always thought I would be married. But after 24 years of marriage my husband and I got divorced.

I worked as a teacher, but after my son was born I took money out of my pension to help with the extra costs. I thought it would be fine as my husband had a good pension, but when I tried to pay it back in I was told I had missed the deadline. I returned to work when my son turned 5, I then had another gap when we moved abroad for 10 years for my husband’s job. Even though I worked when I was abroad, it was for a private school which meant I wasn’t able to add to a pension.

When we came back to the UK I continued working part-time as a teacher. At the time you couldn’t pay into a pension unless you worked full-time. I thought I would be okay, I could always rely on my husband.

It was a different time, we were always told our husbands would look after us.

The financial impact of divorce

When we divorced I received some of his pension but it had lost its value. I also receive a full State Pension as it is based on my ex-husband’s contributions.

I carried on working full-time and paid into a pension scheme. I had to carry on working full time until I retired even though I would have preferred part-time, so that I could benefit from the pension scheme. Now I only receive a quarter of my salary in my pension.

I have just been unlucky, but I haven’t been able to do anything about it.

I loved my job, teaching was my passion, but I just don’t have much to show for it. Before I got divorced we were comfortable and I haven’t been comfortable since.

I should be living a comfortable retirement on a decent pension but I have lost out. The state has let me down, but I do take responsibility of that too.

Adapting to an unexpected future

Money has impacted me. My friends tell me I am doing okay, but it is hard as they are financially better off than me so it is quite difficult. We will go shopping together and I have to careful with what I spend, but you get used to that. You cut the cloth to what you get.

It’s been tough. We were always told our husbands would look after you. The world is a very different place now. Women are more independent and look after their own affairs.

I have always tried to look at the positive side. I have done a lot more than if I had stayed in my marriage. I have been free to do other things.

It is important for people to know these things happen but you can get past them.


Have you been affected by any of these issues?


This blog represents one individual’s experience; personal circumstances differ – if you have been affected by any the issues in this blog and want some advice about your own situation please contact Independent Age’s Helpline on 0800 319 6789.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of Independent Age.