The once intelligent, together person that you were turns into an emotional, brain-fogged, unorganized basket case. You try hard to keep it together but you know this will not go down as ‘the best of times.’ You want to sit down and get it together and plan your future but feel paralyzed and surrounded by a fog of indecision.
So how to you move forward when you are stuck?
Get your arms around what you don’t know
When it comes to the family finances, what was your role? Did you handle the bill paying? Were you in on all your investment accounts, retirement plans, bank accounts, etc. or did you let your spouse take care of that part of the household? If your spouse was the “financial” and is cooperative, ask for statements on all your asset accounts and your most recent tax returns so you can find a CDFA® Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, to help you out and bring you up to speed. A CDFA® is specially trained in the financial aspects of divorce and will be one of your biggest assets! They will make the complex, simple.
Think about your next steps
As hard as this may be, this is a time for renewal. A chance to start over. What did you dream of doing that got lost while you were married? Is it time to go back to school? Budgets will be tight but could you plan on some quick travel destinations. Some place you ex never wanted to go to. Take this time to plan something just for you.
What is your new identity?
If you had a long marriage your identity was spouse and parent to your children. The real you is still in there. It was just covered up with all of the daily chores a marriage and children can demand. Time to explore and find out who you really are and what you want to do with the rest of your life.
Part of this will involve re-titling everything. Mortgage, credit cards, life insurance, social media accounts and much more. This is the business side of your identity. The personal discovery side of you is the fun part of this process. Embrace it and let it take you places you could only dream about.
This Article was contributed by Donald Morris, CDFA® and Financial Advisor. Don is serving as president of winwindivorce.org. Ask Don about his Prudent Wealth Process®.