Life is about rebuilding. It is easy to focus on the cost of divorce and the condition it can leave you in. It can be even easier to wallow in the aftermath and simply tread water. In our experience, each client may cope differently but one truth always remains. You must rebuild.
These are the six immediate points for you to consider, in order to financially rebuild yourself following a divorce:
Take your time but do not waste it.
Each newly divorced individual will carry on at their own pace but life will go on at its usual. The best you can do is be honest with yourself and take stock of what you do have. Sooner or later, it won’t be hard to see that looking back is looking in the wrong direction. Start with a list of goals. There are more immediate ones such as paying off a car or credit card debt. For the bigger picture, there’s retirement. In the spirit of your new life, you may have bucket list items or travel destinations on the brain. Include those costs as well. Your best bet for achieving these goals is to start with an inventory of your finances.
Take inventory of your finances.
There may have been a time when the majority of people entered marriage with little to no financial knowledge. Even now that is perfectly reasonable to accumulate such experience before getting married, it is still not uncommon to find oneself in disarray following a divorce. That is why it is a good idea to seek, reassess and take inventory. It should include your income, expenses, assets and liabilities. Do you know how to use Microsoft Excel? This is a good time to learn how to create a spreadsheet. Also, run a free credit report. It will take a little time but the goal is to be able to have one place to go for an overview of your finances.
Check all of your accounts and how they are set up.
One of the responsibilities of a divorce lawyer is to help you do this. You must heed their advice regarding how your accounts should be titled and who the beneficiaries should be. Then, there is the matter of your retirement accounts. Don’t get overwhelmed. Seek legal help.
Learn about finance.
If you are uncomfortable relying wholly on others when it comes to finance, there is no stopping you from learning. For a half an hour each day, educate yourself. You can search the internet for a webinar on virtually any topic. Seek out experts and pick their brains. Knowledge is power and empowerment can be especially welcome after a divorce.
Assemble a team.
By all means, get empowered. Just keep reminding yourself that rebuilding does not have to be a solo mission. In fact, it is better with allies, especially of the expert variety. Accountants and financial advisers work well with lawyers. As long as they support you and make you feel comfortable, you have yourself a team.
Invest in yourself.
Once your affairs are reasonably in order, the natural step may be to build on the one investment that is often forgotten about in the midst of both marriage and divorce: yourself. Learning about finance may not have been too thrilling but enrolling in courses that improve existing skills can take you to the next level of post-divorce empowerment. Your earning potential will increase and, hopefully, so will the amount in your savings account.
Think of finance following a divorce as an outlet for the expression of your new identity. Whether you require continued support or not, the fact remains that you no longer share responsibility with another. Practicing divorce law does not end with divorce, either. Even this blog exists because we remain constantly tapped into the concerns of divorce and all those affected by it.
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