“The waste of money cures itself, for soon there is no more to waste.”
-M.W. Harrison

Divorce is a major undertaking and transitional time for many. Your emotions are usually running very high during the beginning of your divorce. There are many mixed feelings; you will feel like you are on an emotional rollercoaster. You may feel fear, anger, resentment, sadness, shock and many other feelings. The process of divorce is not easy, and because of this, it is imperative that when you begin, you know exactly where you stand financially. I can assure you that if you have your financial records in order; it will save you many stressful days. You can then use that time more productively, maybe by starting to create a focus on healing, as well as beginning to visualize an extraordinary new start for yourself. Taking some time to do this, will be a major benefit to your overall wellbeing during this rough road in your life. With that being said, lets move on to the essentials.

Essential Tip One-

Get ready, set-start digging through all your financial paperwork. Having all your financial documents in order is a must if you don’t want to drive yourself crazy during your divorce phase. Begin by looking for and collecting all copies of important financial papers. The list can be endless. Everyone has a different financial situation, but here is a rundown of some basic information to have on hand.

• Joint bank Accounts
• Paycheck Stubs
• Vehicle Information
• IRA/401K Plans
• Tax Returns
• Loans
Insurance-auto, home, life
• Medical Coverage
• Credit card Statements
• Safe Deposit Box Inventory
• Pension Funds
• Brokerage Accounts
• Wills and Trusts
• Mortgage Statements

It may be worth your time to consult with a Certified Financial Divorce Analyst. As they are specialists in helping their client’s to determine exactly what their financial picture looks like, as well as advise what steps to begin taking now to secure a healthy financial future. You may want to take a look at these websites: www.instituredfa.com – The Institute of Financial Divorce Analysts, and also www.academyfdp.org – The Academy of Financial Divorce Practitioners.

Essential Tip Two-

One of the most important things you must do to make sure you know where you stand with your finances, is to obtain copies of your credit report from the three credit agencies, which are TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. You need to know now more than ever what your credit scores are. The main reason for this is that you will be creating a whole new fresh financial beginning for yourself.

You will be walking a new path where you want all roads to lead to success, and having your financial picture right in front of you is a must in order to begin achieving that success. The credit reports will give you a very clear idea of what accounts you hold jointly with your soon to be ex-spouse. It will inform you of any outstanding debts you both may be responsible for. It will give you a good idea of all your outstanding balances that are in both of your names, and your name alone. It will also give you information on any mortgages that you both may be responsible for, as well as any other loans you both may have together or separately. And most important it will clue you into any delinquencies that may be looming.

Sometimes a soon to be ex-spouse will stop making payments on something that they made payments on in the past, they may not inform you of this, and your credit will be affected if you are jointly responsible for that payment. You should also at this time close all credit card accounts held jointly with your soon to be ex. You can go to www.annualcreditreport.com to get your credit report for no charge. Get moving on this one, it is a must.

Essential Tip Three-

It is very important to start establishing you own credit. While you were married you probably had most of your credit cards, mortgages, and car loans, etc held jointly with your soon to be ex. You may have held some credit cards, mortgages, etc in your own name, which is great, if not start creating this separate credit now by getting a credit card in your own name, use this card on small purchases, and pay in full every month. This little act will help you to build good credit. Your credit score will play an important role in your ability to obtain new credit which is why it is so important to know your score.

Also your credit score determines what interest rates you will qualify for. One of the best things you can do to give your credit score a swing to the upside, is to pay off any outstanding debts, and also to have good payment history, (paying on time every month). If your credit score is not that great, it can range anywhere from around 300 being the lowest, to 850 being the highest. You can apply for a secured credit card, this is where you would put up a certain amount of money, say $700.00 and the issuer will then give you a line of credit for that amount. Make sure that when you get a secured credit card the issuers report to the credit bureaus. It is also important at this time to get a checking and savings account in your own name.

Essential Tip Four-

If you have never been on a budget before, now is the time to take the challenge, and be serious about it, it can only help to empower you towards a strong financial future. It is very important to get a very clear idea of what goes out, and what comes in each month financially. One reason being, that you may need to use this as proof of what standard of living you maintained during your marriage, this sometimes is very useful when determining alimony and child support during your divorce. But more important is that you need to now be able to handle your monthly bills on your own income.

This is a time of adjustment, and right now you need to also adjust financially. A good way to start creating a budget is to prepare a statement of the family spending. Take a good look at housing costs, utility bills, phone bills (Regular and cell phone). What do you spend on food each month? What extras do you and your family enjoy? Look at your credit card statements, are they easily maintained? Are you able to pay in full each month, or will you be accumulating credit card debt? What will you be bringing in each month financially? And is that enough to sustain what you are now use to spending?

If not tweak it for the time being. You really will not have a true picture until your divorce is settled. Until then get smart, prepare ahead. If you are a little tight for now, that’s okay keep focused on the big picture, you want to avoid financial struggle in the future, and you want to instead prepare for financial wellness. I know the word budget can sometimes bring thoughts of limit to mind, but don’t fret, this will actually empower you to begin creating a plan for financial success. Tap into your network of family and friends for encouragement and support during this time. Read empowering financial books on the subject to spur your creativity on the subject.

Essential Tip Five-

Start taking the necessary steps towards building a strong financial plan for your future. Again, during this process of divorce you will be able to start gaining a much clearer picture of your expenses and of your assets; this will be adjusted as you move further towards a settlement. Focus on creating a new financial roadmap for yourself and your family. This is where a good financial planner may come into play. You can now begin putting your budget plan into action, while also creating financial goals for yourself that you would like to start putting into play immediately.

What would you like to financially achieve over the next year? How much money would you like to put towards a savings plan? This is the perfect time to create, and establish these goals, along with taking the steps toward implementing them. Here are some things you may want to consider.

• Updating your will and trusts
• Create strategies for your IRA/401K Plans
• Make sure you have the right insurance coverage- home, life, auto
• Create an asset allocation plan
• Check into the interest rates on your bank checking and savings accounts
• Consult with your accountant on the best tax strategies
• Look at what you are paying in interest on all your lines of credit

If you want to create more income for yourself, or would like a career change to bring in extra money, you can look at www.monster.com, or www.careerbuilders.com. There are many resources and websites that can help you look into new ways of making extra income, you may also want to start a second part-time job, or start building your own business. Whatever your interests, go after it with confidence.

So there you have it, the beginning steps towards financial wellness during this temporary stressful phase of divorce. Remember, stay focused, don’t rush matters, and do not make any quick moves. Always take a step back, and look over everything that is presented to you with clear focus. Try not to let your emotions get in the way. Take advantage of local support groups, family and friends. Keep your head high, and your confidence strong. Empower yourself to survive during this time in your life. Take care of yourself and your loved ones. See, your future being great, and it will be.

For my complimentary 6-week e-course “The Empowered You”, please visit www.coachlorisnyder.com

Lori Snyder is a Certified Empowerment Coach specializing in Relationship Recovery and Personal Development. www.coachlorisnyder.com and www.lori-snyder.com--info@lori-snyder.com

Author's Bio: 

Lori Snyder partners with people who are ready to begin moving their lives in an upward forward direction. “I believe that each person hold within them powerful inner strength, that when tapped into, can help them to create positive results towards making their lives an extraordinary one”. Lori has a degree in Sociology, and is a Certified Executive/Empowerment Coach. She received this certification from IPEC School of Coaching. She is also a successful speaker, writer, workshop facilitator and entrepreneur. Lori was a columnist for The Long Island Center for Business & Professional Women. And she also was on the advisory board for Newsday’s Wellness Magazine; she acted as their Life Coach, and also enjoyed doing a 6 month feature with the magazine. Lori can be reached at info@lori-snyder.com or 516-708.9261.

Feel free to go to my website coachlorisnyder.com for my complementary 6 week “Empowered You” e-course.