After the cyclone has blown through, and left you with the bare foundations, the natural question is – what now?
We follow 3 simple steps when we’re helping people with the financial implications of their divorce:
Long ago, I realised that I am not a tidy-as-you-go person.
I’ve gotten better, but I’m still best at creating the ‘before’ of a ‘before & after’ image.
The irony is that when things are messy, I find it hard to relax. So eventually enough becomes enough and I’ll spend an hour obsessively tidying up. Place-for-everything, vacuuming, dusting, wiping, the whole box and dice.
Then I can sit down and relax.
I mention this because I’ve found many of the people we work with feel the same way about their money. It’s become untidy, if not messy.
A super fund here, a loan over there, a property bought for reasons forgotten.
Now they’re getting divorced and have to take control of the financial tangle. This is why the first part of our work is all about tidying up.
This could include a huge range of things, once we know what they actually want from their new financial future. Maybe we help close accounts, rejig investments, sort out insurances, lock in a budget, introduce them to experts in other fields.
It can take a while, but by the end of it, they can sit down, look around and relax – feeling far more comfortable with their new financial life.
Once we’ve helped clients Tidy up their finances, we move to the next stage: Planning.
Planning might not be second nature for you – ESPECIALLY after you’ve been through a divorce.
The plans you had have just been thrown out the window, so it’s not unusual to feel like planning is a waste of time. It can feel like there are too many unknowns in the way – you might think you’re best off waiting til they’re cleared, before you can start planning.
Well, not quite.
Waiting for all the unknowns to pass before planning is like waiting for all the clouds to clear before going out – sure, it could happen.
But do you REALLY need to wait?
So if this is you – going through a divorce, holding off on planning your future because of everything that’s going on – hopefully our approach is of some use:
1) Work out what you want from your new future (not what’s ‘fair’ or what you think is possible – what you actually want).
2) Put some numbers around these ‘wants’.
3) Look at your current situation – can you achieve these wants now? If not, then…
4) Work back from there and identify the steps you need to take. There’s more to it, of course, but these 4 steps will go a long way towards starting your new life on the right foot.
We’ve tidied. We’ve planned.
Now comes the work.
The greatest plan in the world is of little use sitting on the shelf. So a big focus for us is getting things going, so our clients can start doing the work they have to do to build their best (new) financial future.
The work we’ve done up to this point makes it a lot easier to concentrate on what matters:
Now it’s all about walking up the stairs, one step at a time, to get where they want to be.
Maybe it’s building the savings account to an agreed level, week-by-week.
Or bringing your salary back into alignment with your skills and value.
Could be paying an extra $100 off the mortgage every fortnight.
Might be recording expenses for a few months so you can appreciate where your money is going.
Or clearing that first credit card in a few months.
After the initial noise and bustle from your divorce has passed, the work of building your best financial future can really start.
And helping our clients identify what needs to be done, helping them get it done, and helping them keep track of their many, many achievements…well, that’s a part of the job I love!
I’ve found that following this broad framework can really help people take charge of their financial future after their divorce. Of course, we’re here to help, but I also believe you can apply these steps to your own situation – all the best of luck to you as well!