Money – eek!
I have to admit I have been meaning to write this post for awhile. Like, a few years.
Why the foot-dragging procrastination?
Honestly, money and I have a love-hate relationship. We are BFFs when we are together and mortal enemies when we are apart.
Kind of like marriage, huh?!
So writing about money doesn’t feel like my zone of genius. More like my zone of WTF.
And I am not alone!
Money is a taboo subject for many, and yet we all need it. If you are facing divorce, it’s very likely that money and finances are looming large in your world.
How to not spend too much in the process. How to get your hands on some of it as you move forward. How to keep some of what you have and not end up with nothing.
So – I am biting the bullet and doing what I advise my clients to do:
Create a plan.
Information is your friend. It’s amazing how many people are terrified of their financial situation because they don’t know what their financial situation is.
It’s time to find out.
What money do you have going out?
- Understand exactly what balances you owe: loans, credit cards, mortgage, etc. Every single thing, including what you pay for them each month.
- Find out your monthly living expenses: rent, utilities, gas, insurance (car and health), groceries – the whole shebang.
- Anything else? Charities you support, alimony or child support, the money you give your parents/others, a private loan to a friend, and so on.
What money do you have coming in?
- jobs, alimony, child support, other…count it all in
Subtract money going out from money coming in.
Where are you landing? In the red? In the black?
I know this is pretty basic but it is not that unusual for people to have no idea what their monthly in/out finances looks like. You’ve got to start somewhere!
If you are in a situation where your spouse handles all the finances and you don’t have easy access, it’s critical that you gain access.
Rather divorce is in your future or not, this is a need to know item!
If you are concerned about raising suspicion with your sudden interest in money matters, simply state that you’ve read a number of things lately about the importance of understanding your financial status and you’ve decided it’s high time you get interested.
Basics – check. Now what? Time to look to the future.
Investments, 401K, stocks, oh my!
Knowing where you are from a future planning perspective is still information gathering.
What can you expect when you retire? Social Security, investments and retirement accounts. Even if retirement is some vague, cloudy, future that seems miles in the future, you need to know. So start digging!
What do I do with all my info?
The heavy lifting is actually done. YAY!
Now that you are in the know, you want to understand what to do with this hard-won knowledge.
Here are some things to consider:
- where are you at in the divorce process?
- all of this info must be disclosed as you move through the process
- if something is not adding up in what you uncovered and what your spouse is declaring, it may be time to consult a forensic accountant. It’s their job to find “hidden” money/assets
- how long were you married? This usually has a bearing on what you are entitled to so must be taken into consideration
- what costs are you facing?
- legal fees, including filing fees
- housing fees – will you need to move?
- childcare – this may change as you split households and each of your schedules may change
- insurance costs – if you are on your spouse’s medical insurance, you will need to get your own
- all previously shared household expenses are now shouldered by you for your new household. These expenses may be included in your settlement, but best to count handling it yourself
- what is the true value of your shared assets?
- retirement accounts
- what state do you live in?
- each state has its own laws around the division of assets – you must understand what this means for the state you live in
What about the future?
Time to consult a pro!
After coming through your divorce, you will have some clarity on what you have in terms of assets, income, investments and so on. Hopefully, you have a good idea of what your budget looks like.
That is your starting point.
While it’s not unusual to experience a downturn in your lifestyle and money, it is temporary.
What about the future? Financial Planners and Advisors are an excellent resource to get you where you want to go.
Even if you think you don’t have the money and assets that “require” management, think again.
Like most professionals, there are Planners and Advisors that want to work with you, no matter what your bank account looks like.
They are experts at:
- helping you create a realistic budget
- clarifying what you want your future to look like
- designing an effective plan that will get you to your goals
Believe it or not, these folks LOVE to help people succeed in life! Even if your current status doesn’t qualify you for their full services right now, they are still more than happy to help you get started on the right path.
They will point you in the direction of the resources you need right now and give you some ideas on how to move forward in a way that begins to build your wealth today.
It’s time to look your financial future in the eyes, not blink, and say out loud “I’ve got this!”
P.S. Did you get everything you needed from this article? No? Maybe it’s time for a little more.
My goal is to meet you where you are and walk with you until you’re ready to set out again. A little strategy goes a long way. Let’s set up a mini-strategy session to get you started!
And don’t forget to grab your FREE Divorce Survival Kit before you go!
Looking for some holistic ways to care for yourself? Check out my new website www.layloyoga.com where we explore how to use Yoga and wellness as a way to heal your heart and deal with the stress and anxiety of day to day living.