Finances are the number one reason why couples get divorced. That’s a fact. In this series, I have so far addressed preparing for, pushing through, and surviving divorce. Here, I will address how to successfully thrive and manage your money after divorce using some financial therapy techniques and stories.
Financial therapy is a great way to gain awareness of one’s past money behavior and financial triggers.
These triggers show up not just in our finances, but also in our relationships. Recognizing them and learning how to adjust them can strengthen your relationship with both your money and your loved ones.
In my book, The Art of Starting Over, I take readers through exercises that bring about awareness, acceptance, and – most importantly – action. Along with this mental and emotional workout, you must learn to navigate the money cycle as an individual so that you can thrive after divorce. I define the money cycle as “earn, grow, protect, gift, and enjoy your money.”
The first step is to create a plan to earn enough money after divorce to live your desired lifestyle. Articles and videos like “Know Your Numbers” from Presidential Lifestyle can help you design that plan.
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Set a savings goal that will help you feel secure. Break the big number down by dividing it by the amount that you’re willing to save each month to determine how long it will take to hit your target. For example, if your goal is $20,000, and you can save $400 per month, it will take you about four years to hit your goal. Keep in mind that you can accelerate that at any time if you get a bonus or tax refund.
When it comes to protection, know what you have and put systems in place to keep it. Trusts, insurance, wills, and even credit protection fall in this area. Take the time to redo your financial plan and documents.
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Gifting is important. There is a place for it even when you’re working to rebuild. Find a number that you’re comfortable with and make sure to give it away each month. This adds to the flow of money and brings you financial karma.
Financial wellness is important to thriving after divorce, but so is your mental and emotional wellness.
I take clients through a process of awareness, acceptance, and action that helps them go from frustrated and hurt to peaceful and healed.
After attending my workshop, Peace Party, Amy Szumstein learned she still needed to forgive. Amy – a Wellness Coach in Marietta, Georgia – says that, “I learned that forgiving myself was much harder than forgiving him. It was difficult leaving what appeared to be an easy life for what – in the beginning – was a harder life. It’s getting easier again because I have a new focus and I see the day-to-day progress.”
Create space in your budget for self-development. Workshops and retreats can be great ways to gain self-awareness. And you may find one-on-one therapy or coaching to be helpful, as well. Try searching Psychology Today for a therapist in your area.
A gentleman in Charlotte, North Carolina – who was comfortable telling his story but not his name – said that he threw himself into work to avoid accepting the breakup. After two or three years, he finally learned to trust women again, and he now wants to share his life with someone other than his daughter.
He maintained his credit and retirement accounts through the divorce, but lost the majority of his savings. But because he threw himself into work, he rebuilt his savings in just over two years.
The money he would have spent going on dates and socializing went into his savings. Still, he admits that this was a lonely road, and he is excited to begin dating and socializing again now that he’s accepted his new life.
“As a therapist, I've sat with many individuals emotionally devastated after a divorce. I've also watched their process of grief and loss evolve into empowerment and action,” says Porsha Jones, LMFT, who says that she thrived after her divorce by finding her purpose. She now works with both couples and individuals as a marriage and family therapist in Atlanta, Georgia.
The months and years after a divorce could be a great time to discover your purpose in life.
Finding your purpose isn’t easy, but it's possible. As you move forward to a new lifestyle – with new titles and responsibilities – this evolution helps you to successfully thrive, enjoy life, and manage your money after divorce; often in a way that you may never have thought possible.
This is the final installment of a four-part series about divorce. To see Kiné Corder's previous piece, click here.