As a financial coach, time and time again I work with women that have recently divorced and find themselves responsible, many for the first time, for their financial future. Many of them are making decisions that they relied on their husband to make for them such as investing for the future. Another common thing I see time and time again is women that are used to “not having to think twice” when making decisions because money was “always good.” Now that they have seen that significant reduction in income they quickly realize that they need help in knowing just how to “stretch their dollar.” Here are the three steps that you must take to survive financially after divorce:
Step #1 – Create a Budget
The first step I always, always take my clients through is creating a budget. Many of my clients say “oh I don’t need a budget, I have plenty each month to pay the bills.” Budgeting is not necessarily about making sure you have enough; it is more about taking an inventory of what is coming in and what is going out and creating a plan for the future. There are many tools on the internet that can assist you in creating a budget or work with a financial coach that can help you create a budget that is going to work for you.
Step #2 – Realize that Life is Rarely Predictable
It really is true that life is unpredictable and for this very reason I always encourage my clients to start a “rainy day” account. You should be putting aside a set dollar amount each week or a percentage of your income for those unexpected expenses that come up. I remember when I first started my own rainy day account I saw that account was growing to an amount I was comfortable with and knew would cover me in any scenario and at that point I “borrowed” a little out of that account to treat myself to a little reward. This was just one of those little “perks” I hadn’t even thought about when I first started my account, but I have been able to have those little rewards from time to time. And even more importantly, last year when an emergency did arise I was thrilled that I didn’t have to worry about where I was going to find the money to pay for the unforeseen expense.
Step #3 – Don’t Be Afraid to Bring in Help
Money and finances can be very complicated subjects. There are so many factors to consider in your overall financial health that it can easily become overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to engage in those people that can help to explain things to you in easy to understand terms. Speak with your banker to explain your mortgage, your account fees and rewards, your statements and any other financial matters. Speak with a Financial Advisor about investments and definitely speak with a Financial Coach who can shed some light on all of those little mysteries that have to do with money!!
When you implement these three steps quickly you will find that you are better equipped to survive financially after divorce.