Your Divorce is Final. Now What?
You have just gone through one of the most challenging times of your life.
For some, this Winston Churchill quote may seem relatable. "When going through hell, keep going".
Well, you made it through to the other side and as difficult as it may have been, you now have a chance to write a new chapter.
There are some key items that one should keep in mind however as, without a plan, one could be headed for disaster.
"Monica"1 came to me after her divorce was final to learn if she was going to be okay financially now that the dust had settled.
Monica, a mother of two boys, ages 14 and 16 worked part time in marketing and was also receiving spousal support from her ex who was an orthopedic surgeon.
When they were married, they lived a very lavish lifestyle and even though her ex had a very high income, they didn't have much in savings.
Private school for the boys, two to three expensive vacations a year, two car leases at over $1,000 each a month. Etc. etc
Interestingly, Monica was actually "better" with money than her ex. Higher income doesn't always equate to better financial decisions.
The good news was Monica was very willing to start living within her means and developing a solid financial plan going forward.
One may need to develop some new habits, however, with the help of a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner, it is easier than you think. A financial professional will help you clarify your financial situation and outline your options going forward.
- Write down your financial goals. For example, not just, "I want to retire someday" but be more explicit. Describe what you want your retirement to actually look like.
- Take control of your career. If you need to increase your income to meet your expenses and life goals, consider a job change. You may have been working part-time especially if you have kids and had a second income to rely on.
- Get a good handle on your expenses now that you won't have that other income to rely on. Using a monthly expense form will be helpful in keeping track of expenses and seeing where the money goes. (I'm happy to provide you with a copy)
- Revise your Estate Plan. Once divorced, your old Wills, trusts, and other legal documents will need to be updated to ensure your wishes are carried out properly. This includes beneficiary designations on things such as retirement plan and life insurance. Keep in mind any restrictions that are in your separation agreement.
- Take charge of your investments. You may have received assets in your divorce. Make sure they are invested in fitting your risk tolerance and time frame (and possibly your values) and not your exes.
- With the help of your Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner, develop an investment plan to help provide income through retirement.
- Obtain your credit report for free by going to this site. https://www.annualcreditreport.com If there are errors here, you will want to correct them.
Any questions, we are here to help. Want to schedule a quick call with me? Click HERE.
On November 16th at 1:00 pm EST, I'll be appearing on a panel hosted by Retirement Daily's editor, Robert Powell, Women, Divorce, & Retirement: Creating Your New Person Finance Plan. This event is free and I urge anyone that is looking for some answers to register HERE
All the best.
Rick Fingerman, CFP®, CDFA™, CCPS®
1Monica, not her real name and her story has been changed for confidentiality
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