If the new year finds you newly divorced, see it as an opportunity to get a fresh financial start. Here’s a few ways to make the year ahead one of prosperity, independence, and stability.
Meet with Your Financial Advisors.
During and after your divorce, it is critical that you have the right people in your corner. Setting up a team of trusted advisors and knowledgeable consultants means that you can be sure you are making the right financial decisions for yourself and your family. It is important to meet with this team at least once a year to set goals, determine the financial plan, track your progress, and make pivots as necessary.
Update Your Financial Documents
Now that the makeup of your family has changed, you will need to rework your will, insurance policies, and estate plans (if they exist). This task means renaming the executor for your will, updating the beneficiaries of your life insurance policies and pensions, and identifying people you would like to act as your power of attorney (i.e. for medical and other financial issues).
Move your Money
It could be likely your ex and you shared a few accounts. Unless your divorce agreement specifies otherwise, close all joint accounts and establish a new account in your own name, with different credentials and a different password than was used during the marriage.
Set a Budget and Stick to It
No doubt your post-divorce lifestyle will look different than the life you lead before. Different isn’t a negative; different just means different. Your cashflow and expenditures will shift and realign to a new reality. Prioritize a review of your personal budget to ensure that your expenses (credit card bills, legal fees, debt repayments, mortgage, tuition, etc.) are tracking and (ideally) lower than your monthly income. Try to spend less than what you are making to allow for savings. Adjust spending habits so that you can live within your means and assure you will never outlive your money.
Respect Yourself and Your Money
Don’t use money as a platform for negotiation or retribution when dealing with your ex. Show each other respect in the decoupling process. Whether you share children with your ex or not, focus on what you need and what you want—NOT on what you don’t want them to have. The new year is the perfect time to carve out some time and money for a new hobby or interest. Give yourself the time and financial flexibility to take a class, learn a skill, and do what makes you happy!
In the year ahead, as you recover emotionally and financially from your divorce, these resolutions can be your steppingstones toward a more positive future. Whether you commit to one or all these resolutions, remember to take care of yourself and your money too— however you make that happen.