Getting through the emotional, mental and financial challenges of a divorce is rarely easy. While you may feel a sense of relief when that ordeal is concluded, you still have a variety of challenges to face – redefining yourself as a single woman, a changed social and perhaps economic picture, and processing the end of your marriage.
All of that can be pretty exhausting, which is why you might be looking for some simple, even lazy ways, to make sure your financial fitness is on track post-divorce.
These three financial tips can help you get back on your feet and moving in the right directions after your divorce:
- Create a financial plan. This might sound a little overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. You can start with a book or seminar, if you like, but you can also work with an accountant, attorney or financial planner who will help you organize your finances and assist you in creating some goals for the short- and long-term. Once you have an actionable financial plan in hand, you will feel more empowered and ready to face your financial future. During this process, you can also establish a system for making any updates to your plan as things change.
- Handle all of the little things. Update your name/address on your driver’s license, Social Security card, credit card accounts and so on, as needed. Likewise, you should close joint accounts and remove your ex’s name from any bank accounts, IRS records , credit cards, insurance policies, utility bills and anything else that bears joint names. Granted, this step isn’t fun, but if you dedicate just one day to calling/mailing/notifying all of the relevant authorities, then you will be done with this for good and you will protect yourself and your finances in the process.
- Recognize that your finances have changed. Even if you make a sizeable salary, your economic reality will change post-divorce – the income that supported one household is now being used to support two, which will probably necessitate some changes in spending and budgeting. The sooner you recognize this, the sooner you can make needed changes and begin to move on. Learn to appreciate the small pleasures – time with your kids, watching a movie at home, taking walks, and so on. If you need to return to school or update your skills, talk with your financial planner about how you can incorporate this into your future. This step is more of a mindset than an action, but it will make a huge difference in how you move forward.
You can be laid back (or even lazy) about some of your post-divorce finances, but you do need to recognize the importance of making changes and making smart financial decisions after your divorce. These three simple steps will give you the energy to move on and allows you to focus more on your brighter future.
Jim Uren, CFP®