Taking stock of your finances: Not a maybe? A definite Must.
Just like those high school and college break ups, the two people going through a divorce are rarely on the same page at the exact same time. One partner usually initiates/is okay with the break up while the other person may not be quite ready to call it quits or may feel blindsided/caught off guard/shocked and has some catching up to do. In addition to the emotions and angst surrounding the process, there is the serious matter of finances. Divorces, even the amicable or mutual ones require laying out your finances as a couple and as individuals going separate ways. This is difficult especially for the partner who is trying to catch up. It was clear at my first meeting with my lawyer that I was at the remedial/finance for dummies level. I am a smart woman and consider myself quite informed and savvy but with money matters, I was a dud. I had told myself, even convinced myself I wasn’t really good with money stuff and that was that. This thought process was not uncommon my lawyer informed me. She gave me homework, a list of tasks and told me I had a steep learning curve. Fortunately being a nerd who never backed off from a challenge paid off.
As a woman, you need to know what your financial situation is. This is irrespective of your age, marital status or whether you are a mom or not. Never assume things are just fine or that everyone is on the same page re: future plans or priorities. This is not divorce specific, though the stakes are much higher when you are going from the interdependence of marriage to the unknown land of divorce. Divorce, in some cases may reveal financial secrets or skeletons and for some couples the first time the state of financial affairs is discussed. As an individual and as a couple, you need to know what you have/own, what you owe, your net worth, spending patterns, investments, property, college plans and retirement plans. These are uncomfortable, sometimes tough discussions especially if you were raised or socialized not to discuss money (for a variety of reasons) or consider talking about money a taboo.
If finances/money talk is not your thing, find /seek out help to make it your thing. Single, partnered up, married or divorced; have a budget, set your short and long term financial goals, take a financial inventory, meet with a financial expert or planner, discuss and nail down college funds/support and talk to your kids about it and most importantly have a retirement plan. If you are married, do this with your spouse , be honest, transparent and and make sure you are both on the same page re; financial future. Don't ignore money stuff or bury your head in the sand. You don’t have to be an expert /guru or day-trader but you need to know your financial basics. Once you have the basics under your belt, you can definitely expand your horizon and stretch your financial wings.
When you eventually go from Ms. no clue/remedial to Ms. now I Know the basics (for me, it was at age 35), share your resources, experiences, tips with your friends if they seek advice (caveat-money can be a touchy subject for women). Make the discussions fun and empowering when you have girl’s night with your ladies. Teach your children /young adults early.There are financial tips kids as young as ten can learn that will serve them well in life. Don’t make talking about money a taboo.
It is never too late to start taking stock of what’s up with the moolah/cash/money/bread/funds/buckaroos/dough/coins..
You’ve got this!!! If I could go from clueless Toyin to financially savvy Toyin, you definitely can.
Would love to hear from you. Let’s talk….