By Yusuf Osman, MBA
No one says “I do” with the expectation that one day they’ll be signing divorce papers. But sadly, with the divorce rate still remaining about 50%, it happens frequently. Divorce is a highly emotional transition, and one that comes with a multitude of financial complexities. If you’re facing a divorce, let’s discuss a few simple steps you can take to make a smooth transition into life’s next chapter with less stress and anxiety.
Don’t Rush A Divorce
First and foremost, don’t rush the divorce process. There are so many difficult decisions to make: property division, child support, parental responsibilities. Each one of these decisions has a long-term impact on your emotional and financial well-being.
Take a deep breath, and take your time making each decision. I even tell my clients to remove their emotions from the equation and think of each decision as a business transaction. This may sound cold, but emotions are at an all-time high during divorce. It’s critical to calm these emotions and make decisions as rationally as you can.
Getting organized before a divorce can help minimize stress and reduce the chances of running into problems down the road.
Start by making a list of all your assets, liabilities, and financial accounts, including:
Estate planning documents
Tax returns for the past few years
Retirement account statements
Real estate deeds and car titles
You’ll need to give these items to your attorney. It may also be helpful to divide them up into marital property (i.e., assets and debts obtained during the marriage) and non-marital property (i.e., assets and debts obtained prior to or after marriage).
Know Your Cash Flow
Even if you anticipate having a large net worth after divorce, it’s important to know what your cash flow will look like moving forward.
You don’t necessarily need to budget and track every expense, but you do need a clear idea of how much money you’ll have coming in each month.
Write down your income, including your salary, alimony, child support, dividend income, and so on. Then write down all of your expenses. (Don’t forget one-off expenses like property taxes and private school tuition that may not show up on your monthly bank statements.)
Seeing these numbers in writing will help you get comfortable with your new cash flow and help you prepare for any unexpected expenses.
Plan Ahead for Post-Divorce Life
Life drastically changes after divorce. Instead of dividing financial tasks between the both of you, you become solely responsible. Now is a good time to start:
Making a legal name change
Updating all assets, documents, and liabilities
Changing beneficiaries and emergency contact information
Setting up a filing system to keep tax records, investment documents, insurance policies, and legal information organized.
Be Gentle With Yourself
No matter how amicable you try to make it, divorce is messy. It’s emotionally, physically, and financially draining.
Go easy on yourself. You may be in a fog right now—and that fog may last for quite some time. Seek therapy or counseling if you need to. Do whatever it takes to protect your mental and physical health.
Lean On Your Advisor
Divorce can be lonely, so you’ll need your support system now more than ever. It’s also a good idea to speak with someone who will offer wise and objective advice. That’s where your financial advisor comes in. Throughout the divorce process, lean on your advisor. Ask for advice, voice your fears and concerns, and let them know if you don’t understand something.
If you don’t already have a financial advisor as a member of your support system, I would be honoured to join your team. I specialize in helping my clients navigate divorce-related issues, so I can help you transition into this next stage of life with peace and clarity. If you’d like to partner with a financial planner who understands your unique needs and inspires you to be more confident in your financial decisions, contact me at (613) 230-5895 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yusuf Osman is a Senior Investment Advisor at Argosy Securities Inc., an independent full-service financial advisory firm dedicated to helping clients create financial freedom, security, and peace of mind. With over 30 years of experience in the finance industry, Yusuf is committed to educating, engaging, and inspiring as many people as possible to take control of their finances. He spends his days developing a thorough understanding of his clients’ lives, concerns, and dreams to help them build a financial plan that keeps pace with changes in both the markets and their lives. Yusuf graduated from the University of Ottawa with a bachelor’s degree in Science and earned an MBA in Finance from Queen’s University. To learn more about Yusuf and his Dynamic Wealth Program for Women, go to https://www.argosy-osman.com/women or connect with him on LinkedIn.