Divorce does screwy things to a person’s head. Believe me, I’ve seen it. The once intelligent together person that you were, can turn into an emotional, brain-fogged, & unorganized basket case.
You try really, really hard to keep it together, but you know this will not go down as “the best of times.” You want and need to plan your financial future but feel paralyzed and surrounded by a pea-soup fog of indecision.
So, what are you to do? Well first, get real and:
ADMIT WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW
When it comes to the family finances, what was and is your role? Do you handle paying the bills? Are you “in the loop” on all your investment accounts, retirement plans, bank accounts, etc., or are you in the dark?
If you’re in the dark, you need someone to help you turn the lights on – and fast! If you and your spouse are cooperative, ask them for statements on all your asset and debt accounts, along with your most recent tax returns.
Then immediately contact a divorce financial professional such as a CDFA® (Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®) to help bring you up to speed. A CDFA® is specially trained in the financial aspects of divorce and will be a great resource for you in this process. They will help you to clear out that brain-fog like a Santa Ana wind!
THINK ABOUT YOUR FUTURE
This is hard at first but start thinking about what the next phase of your life looks like. Unfortunately, this must happen at the same time that you are grieving what you thought the next phase was going to be.
But if you allow yourself some space and utilize an Out of Court process such as Mediation or Collaborative Divorce, this period may actually be fun. You now have the chance to start from scratch. What did you used to dream of doing, that got lost while you were married? Is it time to go back to school? Maybe a cool condo should replace that huge family home that you had to keep clean.
Whatever you dream of, you must have your cash flow and financial picture crystal clear and top of mind. This step has to come first, so that your dreams don’t outsize your wallet!
START BUILDING A SINGLE IDENTITY
Often through marriage all the credit cards, mortgages, loans, etc. are opened in the names of both spouses. Post-divorce, all of those joint accounts will have to be closed or converted. After your marriage is over, your credit picture may not be nearly as strong, so you want to be sure to put some things in place while you’re still married.
Open a checking and savings account in your own name to begin the process of establishing your own financial identity. Next, find a good rewards credit card to apply for in your name alone, so that you will be assured of having access to credit post-divorce and maybe even during, if paying fees are necessary.
These steps seem small but are valuable to get you first thinking financially and looking out for your future. You can get through this and getting help from a CDFA® professional such as myself is a great place to start.
Contact my Panama City, Florida office today at (850) 252-6325 to schedule your complimentary initial strategy session. Get the clarity you need to move your life forward!