Divorce Financial Planning, Part 3: Surviving the First Months Afterward
Dealing with the emotional fallout of a divorce while trying to pay your bills can get hectic. So how do you handle it without losing your sanity?
My next and last installment in this series on divorce planning will discuss how to thrive afterwards. But before you do that, you must first survive. In the previous articles, we discussed ways to push through and deal with a divorce while you’re going through it. But what happens after the dust clears and you see what is left?
There may be some damage at the end, but there may be some blessings awaiting you, as well. The difference between destruction and construction is a shift in your vision.
Post-Divorce Planning: Processing Emotions
Lay out the facts and ask essential questions: What do you own now? What do you want in the future? What do you need to replace? What’s the new plan? How much will it cost?
The last thing you need to consider is where you may have gone wrong.
Now that the divorce is complete, you can consider new ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving.
You can seek group or individual counseling to help process the grief and loss. You can even find divorce support groups online — sites like WomansDivorce.com and DivorceCare.
Further Reading: Read one woman’s personal story of surviving divorce.
After addressing your emotions around the divorce, make a list of your current assets. When making this list, consider updating your beneficiaries. Couples in the midst of a divorce often forget that detail.
That said, sometimes the court orders the ex-spouse to remain the beneficiary. In that case, follow the order. Or you may have other reasons that you want to keep your ex-spouse in that position. That’s okay, too. But otherwise, you may want to change your beneficiary.
Once you’ve done your current financial inventory, begin interviewing financial advisers if you don’t already have one. Getting a referral from a friend or colleagues is a good place to start.
Selling Certain Assets
When working through this life transition, you may benefit from liquidating or selling particular assets and doing something productive with the proceeds. This even includes your rings. Unless the ring is a family heirloom, consider selling it. If it is a family heirloom, give it to someone who will responsibly pass it on to the next heir.
Websites like I Do Now I Don’t and WP Diamonds can be helpful when selling a wedding ring or dress. Consider alternatives for each item you need to let go. You could trade, consign, sell, or just give it away.
Add up the cost of the continuing hurt of keeping the item against the profit of letting it go. This big gesture could add thousands of dollars to your bottom line.
While making a list of what you own, also write down your desires. What would you like to have in the future? What assets are old, unwanted, outdated, or costly? Let them go to make room for bigger, better things. From holding a garage sale to selling items online, your new life is just a trade way.
Crunching the Numbers
Lastly, know your new numbers. How much money do you have to earn to live the life you desire? Whether it’s $60,000 or $600,000, create a plan that will help you get there one day at a time. It may mean getting a new job, starting a business, or exploring passive income options. Multiple streams of income can help make it easier to replace the income you lost. Remember that you didn’t get to where you were overnight. Be sure to create a realistic plan that will take you where you want to be.
Aside from your income, there are a few other numbers that you need to know. Think about future goals, monthly gifting, self-care, and debt repayment. Calculate your debt and design a plan to pay it down.
Further Reading: Learn about potential debt-relief options.
Post-Divorce Planning: Enjoy Life!
And don’t forget to enjoy life, as well! Set aside some fun money each month so that you can date and do things that interest you. You may also want to consider setting money or time aside to give to charity. Even if you don’t have a lot, gifting is a great way to spark gratitude for what you do have.
What next? Get ready to thrive! The marriage may have failed, but you didn’t. As long as you can see up, you can get back up. The last installment of this divorce planning series will give you tools to thrive now that you have survived.