If you know that a divorce or separation is in your future, the time to start financially preparing is now. Unfortunately, many people don’t think of the financial impact of a divorce until the divorce is under way or is final and their financial situation has changed. This causes unnecessary stress during an already stressful time. To reduce some of the financial strain of divorce, try our four tips on how to be mindful of your money in preparation for a separation or divorce.
1. Track your expenses and expenditures.
One of the best first steps to saving money is examining where exactly it is going. Tracking your expenses and expenditures is a great way to manage your money for two reasons:
First, when you pay attention to your regular household bills, you learn about how much it takes to maintain your current house. This information is extremely helpful when you’re estimating what financial resources you have available to meet your expenses. This will help if there is a need for spousal maintenance or if you have the ability to pay spousal maintenance and what funds are needed to maintain the family home.
Second, by tracking what you’re spending money on, you can really examine your lifestyle. Try to keep track of everything you spend money on for a few months. Whether it’s clothes or a candy bar at the gas station, keep a log of your expenditures through QuickBooks or similar accounting program. This allows you to see the bigger picture of where you are spending your money.
2. Review your family spending.
Now that you’re keeping track of all your expenditures, take a look at what you’re really buying. Look for any non-essentials and think about it this is a good time to cut some of them if they no longer work for you. For example, if you’re a big coffee drinker, try alternating your own home brew with trips to the local coffee shop. You can still treat yourself to a coffee, a nice dinner, or a movie while being mindful of your spending on daily items.
It may only seem like you’re saving a couple dollars here and there, but they can all add up.
3. Take note of your lifestyle.
Evaluating and adjusting your lifestyle temporarily isn’t about doing without. Instead, think of a lifestyle change as a way to find fun at a value. Only spend money on things that truly enhance your life and your happiness!
When you and your spouse separate or divorce, your household income is probably going to change. Starting to prepare for that now can help you in the future. Look for any luxury services you may be receiving such as massages, gym memberships, or grocery delivery. Think of ways you can receive these same benefits, but perhaps at a reduced rate for the time being. Your goal is to maintain and achieve the same lifestyle throughout this process.
The important thing to remember is that this is a temporary adjustment period. Instead of thinking of this as cutting things out of your life, view it as an opportunity to create a path to your future goals.
4. Get help from the professionals.
To ensure that you’re preparing as well as you can for your upcoming separation or divorce, make sure to meet with a financial advisor and a family law attorney. If you and your spouse already have a financial advisor or family law attorney, start working with someone new. You want to be with someone who is fully committed to your best interests.
An independent financial advisor can take the information that you’ve gathered about your expenses and expenditures and provide professional advice. They can make suggestions for how to manage your money. Also, they might have questions about some of the more intangible assets of a marriage, like a 401k or investments. These questions can help both you and your attorney navigate the best strategy for you during your separation or divorce.
Why contact us?
Navigating a separation or divorce is incredibly stressful but following these simple steps can help to relieve some of that stress. It is very important to find an Attorney who is the right fit for you, who understands your situation and who you feel comfortable with. You will want to find someone who can help you strategize and map out a course of action to achieve your desired results like the team at Bliss Law Group. Here at Bliss Law Group we have a passion for families and we want everyone coming through our doors to feel at home. Give our firm a call today at (253) 844-4412 or contact us here.