Smarter Divorce Solutions provides services to individuals, couples, attorneys, and mediators to provide financial expertise to those embarking on divorce. With advanced training in all financial aspects of divorce including pension valuation, marital vs. separate property, taxes and tax optimization of settlements.
Is this it? Is this the first time since the birth of your babies that you will be forced to spend at least part of the Holiday without your children because of separation or divorce? It’s no fun. But it does get easier after the first year. I remember mine. I sat in front of the Christmas tree by myself and bawled my eyes out. Not exactly my finest moment. Had I to do it over again, it would be very different. Let me help you with a few tips.
Post-divorce holiday tips from a divorcé, who’s been there.
Accept that life is different now and will never be the same again and IT’S OK!! Embrace change!
Don’t wait until the last minute to coordinate the schedule with your Ex. And remember that the kids want to spend time with BOTH parents.
Christmas Does Not Have to be Dec 25th
If you won’t be with your kids on the 25th, simply plan a “Special Christmas” when you will be. There is no reason to give up anything, just rearrange.
Don’t Spend it Alone!!!
If this is your first Christmas without the kids, reach out to friends and family. Invite yourself if you have to!
New Traditions are a Great Thing!
To help both you and the kids embrace the new reality, start some brand new traditions that you’ve never had!
Is this your first holiday as a single person?
Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. If this is your first Holiday as a single person it is normal to have some emotional ups and downs, you are still in the grieving process. Do your best to think about your new future and try not to dwell on the past. Think of new possibilities. What are the activities that you’ve always wanted to try but never had the time? Now’s the time to make it happen! Take an art class! Schedule a weekend trip out of town with a girlfriend or a spa day all by yourself. Of course, I’m a financial advisor so keep the festivities within your budget.
Speaking of budgets, don’t let yourself fall into the “best parent” trap and try to outspend your ex on presents. The kids see right through it and trust me, they don’t care. Don’t get me wrong, they’ll love all the gifts – for about 2 seconds. I remember buying my son a really expensive software program that I thought he’d love and that darn thing just sat unopened for years. Kids need your time not your money. Pass on the iPad and buy a board game that will force you to interact with each other for an extended period. These are the memories that all of you will treasure.
Good luck this Holiday season. Remember, it doesn’t have to be defined as the end unless you choose to. Choose to see the beauty of a new beginning. You can do it!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year and you have let it sneak up on you once again. If you are like many Americans, you certainly plan to purchase some Christmas gifts for the family but may not have socked away money towards the effort.
I get it, life comes at you fast and so many unexpected things can pop up. This holiday season I have clients dealing with things as minor as simple car repairs to things as major as divorce. But even inside tough situations, with the right planning you can keep your head above water.
In our Smarter Money Solutions programs, we teach participants how to anticipate every possibility throughout the year, including all the holiday gift giving. The key is to set your emergency funds aside and truly use them for emergencies. For those unanticipated expenses like the washing machine breaking down or a home insurance co-pay because a tree fell on the roof. For those one-off expenses throughout the year that you know are eventually coming, set up a separate fund for them. Common categories are vacation, gifts, licensing and auto maintenance or gifts.
Once you have these categories, instead of putting your money blindly into your emergency fund, you now have a fund earmarked specifically for gifts. So, when your child’s classmate’s birthday party pops up, you pull the $20 for a gift from the gift fund. When Christmas rolls around, you have saved all year towards the amount that you want to spend on the family and pull the funds from that account. This way, you neither come up short on those everyday household bills nor do you have to resort to credit cards to get you through ‘til tax refund time when you can pay off the Christmas debt.
Even if you haven’t set a plan ahead of time for this year, it’s never too late! Get a jump on next year’s spending and start setting the funds aside now! For this year, please go forward and enjoy the holidays. But if you need a little help getting on track for Christmas 2019, visit us at SmarterMoneySolutionsAZ.com. Together, we’ll set a plan for your money instead of playing catch up. We start the Empowerment Zone group meetings in January.
There are certain challenges that we can face in life that present the opportunity to learn a lot about ourselves. I think divorce is falls in that category. It’s a very difficult process to face. You’re confronted with feelings of shock and disappointment and even a mourning that you may not have expected. Divorce has also become such a common experience now that many view it as normal business. Until it’s personal. Until it’s you.
Well, if it is you, now is the chance for a new beginning. It’s time for the second act. What did you always want to do that you put on the back burner, to focus on being a good wife and mother? What are some of the habits and practices that you’ve always wanted to change, but cold never find the time or support to focus on them? What did you learn from your marriage that you do not want to take into your future relationships?
One of the best things the new beginning can offer is a better picture of what kind of life you now want to have and how to provide the financing for it. If you’ve made it all the way through the divorce process you’ve pulled together an account of your household income and expenses. Since you’ve recently had the budget laid out, now is a great time to jump back into that personal money planning mode and get ahead of it.
Our money choices and habits are relatively easy to track and change. Those choices and habits can also be the root of the discord in our relationships. One of the keys to change is finding out what goes into those choices. Are you a saver, because you’ve gone without before? Are you a spender because in the past, you’ve had the luxury of not being worried about cash?
As a divorcee’, you’ll learn that you are a survivor. You’ll learn that you are strong and that new things can make you stronger. You’ll learn that now is the time to start that new class, launch that new business, explore that new idea about making money doing something your love.
If you need help learning how to implement a plan around your newly single financial status, Smarter Divorce Solutions is here to help you implement Smarter Money Solutions in your new life. Join us at our next Empowerment Zone meeting where we will talk about tips and tools to get you started on the path to a smarter personal financial plan.
Divorce really messes with your mind. I know because I remember. The once intelligent together woman that I am turned into an emotional, brain-fogged, unorganized basket case. I was not at my best even though I tried very hard to keep it together. I wanted so much to sit down and focus and plan my future but felt paralyzed and surrounded by a pea-soup fog of indecision.
What’s your role when it comes to the family finances? Do you handle the bill paying? Are you “in the loop” on all your bank accounts or are you in the dark? What about investment accounts or retirement plans? Do you have any? If you’re in the dark, you need someone to help you turn the lights on – and FAST! If you and your spouse are cooperative, ask for statements on all your asset accounts and your most recent tax returns so you can find a CDFA® practitioner to help you out and bring you up to speed. A CDFA® professional is specially trained in the financial aspects of divorce and will be your best friend in this process! He/she’ll clear out that brain-fog like a Santa Ana wind!
THINK ABOUT YOUR FUTURE
Of course, this will be hard, but start thinking about what the next phase of your life looks like. Unfortunately this has to happen at the same time that you are grieving what you THOUGHT the next phase was going to look like. But if you allow yourself some space, it can actually be fun. You now have the chance to start over again. What did you used to dream of doing that got lost while you were married? Is it time to go back to school? Maybe a cool downtown loft condo should replace that huge family home that you had to keep clean. Whatever you dream of, you will need your budget and financial picture top of mind. That way, if your dreams outsize your wallet, you know you have some serious planning to do!
BUILD A SINGLE IDENTITY
Often through marriage all the credit cards, mortgages, loans, etc. are in the names of both spouses. All of those accounts will have to be closed or converted. Immediately open a checking and savings account in your own name to begin the process of establishing your own financial identity. Be sure to put some things in place while you’re still married because after the marriage is over, your credit picture may not be nearly as strong. Next, find a good rewards credit card to apply for in your name alone so that you will be assured of having access to credit post divorce and maybe even during if legal fees are necessary.
These steps seem small but are valuable first steps to get you thinking financially and looking out for your future. You can get through this, and a little help from a CDFA friend is a great place to start.
Have you overheard the conversation yet? The one where your Facebook friend, your co-worker or even the couple dining at the next table are talking about the joys of living debt free. And then you wonder how everyone else is managing to pull their financial lives together while you are still struggling? Maybe you make enough for your ends to meet nicely, but you still struggle as you get closer to payday to make your income stretch. Maybe you’ve just had a life changing experience that has you newly single after being part of a couple for a very long time, so those financial conversations really speak to you now.
If this sounds familiar, a little financial coaching may be just what you need. Unlike financial planners, Financial Coaches help get a clear view of your money situation, then help you with determining what kind of financial life you would like to have. Do you want to contribute regularly to your Church? Do you want to be in a position to help your Children pay for college, or even your grandchildren? Coaches then help you with accountability around the decisions you make to create that life. They help you implement easy systems to monitor your spending and prioritize where you put your money.
With clarity around your actual income relative to your typical expenses, you get to be deliberate about how you spend your money instead of reactive. Once you plan for your vehicle oil change and occasional flat tire as eventual expenses instead of treating them as emergencies, you’ll see how the actual emergency fund and savings accounts can truly grow.
For most people, the key missing ingredient in their daily finances is a simple plan. It explains why many of us feel like we make enough income until that unplanned birthday or windshield replacement pops up. With a detailed personal plan and a little attention, you can really put your money where you intended to, instead of just putting out financial fires. And that is exactly where the Financial Coach can help. So, if you are looking for the clarity, the direction and the goals around your finances, contact us at Smarter Divorce Solutions for a Clarity Session and we’ll get you on the road implementing Smarter Money Solutions.