Divorce is a life-changing experience for both men and women. But for females, it can be especially challenging. With limited funds to support both households at a similar past level of income, women have to work hard to do everything they can to secure a healthy financial future.
Here’s 5 strategies to financial stability after a divorce.
1. Update All Accounts
This may seem like a mundane process, but it’s a necessity after going through a divorce. After your final court date, you may have changed your name back to its original. Set time aside to change your name on your social security, passport, driver’s license and credit cards. Your insurance company, bank and loan accounts will also need updating. While some accounts can be done quickly, others will need the required documentation such as the divorce decree. You will also need to alert your child’s school to the custodial agreement, so be sure to have the paperwork handy to show the school officials.
2. Assess Your Current Situation
The end of a marriage is physically and mentally draining. It can also drain your pocketbook if you don’t immediately take control of your situation. Assess the amount of money you have in your bank account. You can also take inventory of what you are left with after the divorce. If you have an old car and need something dependable to get you to work, the cash for clunkers program offers money fast for a vehicle that is less-than-perfect. You can also put together an estate sale where you can sell items you no longer need from your home or garage. This can include furniture, gardening equipment, clothes, books and more. The money you make from the sale can be put in a savings or retirement account.
3. Plan a Budget
Getting used to the idea that you’re now a one-income household can be frightening for a newly divorced woman. But with the right planning, you can have enough money to live comfortably and put money away for your future. Although your financial planner can assist you in putting together a budget, you want to go through things on your own to determine how much money is coming in and going out. Once you’ve listed your expenses, determine if there are ways that you can cut back to save more money. If you make a daily run to your favorite coffeehouse, cut back to once per week. Eating out is another major expense. Instead of a daily occurrence, make meals out a weekly or special occasion treat. When going over utilities, call your cable, phone and Internet providers every 6 months. This allows users the opportunity to lower monthly bills and take advantage of any current promotions.
4. Surround Yourself with a Good Team
If you want to secure a successful financial future for yourself and your children, you want to surround yourself with a good team of experts. Since the monetary needs of a single woman are different than those of married couples, you want to seek out a financial adviser who is experienced in working with women after divorce. Your adviser will offer tips on budgeting, planning for your retirement, estate planning, investing, saving for college, insurance and asset protection. Other knowledgeable experts include a therapist to help you cope with your new life and vocational counselor to guide you on re-entering the workplace. An estate attorney will advise you on legal issues that pertain to your trusts, will and charitable giving.
5. Expand the Learning Process
Running your own household after a divorce will prove eye opening, especially if this process is new to you. Although you’ll learn a lot both pre and post-divorce, the education doesn’t have to end. You become more financially powerful and sound by attending seminars, speaking with the experts and doing your own homework by searching the Internet. You’ll find a wealth of information that can benefit women on how to get ahead after divorce.
The above strategies won’t prove life-altering in one night. But by checking each process off your list, you’ll notice a remarkable difference. With the right planning and team to back you, you may even be able to enjoy financial security and freedom sooner rather than later.