“I couldn’t believe how much I didn’t know,” a girlfriend recently told me. We were talking about the divorce she’d gone through three years ago. “Partly I just ignored all that financial stuff. I thought it was great that it was his responsibility–like putting out the garbage and fixing the leaky faucets. I didn’t want to worry about it. That sure turned out to be a mistake.”
When a financial relationship ends–through divorce, death, breakup, business dissolution–there are almost always surprises. Financial expert and Girlfriend Guru MIATA EDOGA shares important tips for getting through the stress of preparing to be on your own financially.
Whether you’ve filed for divorce or are sure it’s on the way, you need to be smart about your money. This is a difficult time to be “on your game.” Between all the emotion and the surge of activities that need to be completed, it’s not uncommon to give in to taking the easy, less painful path. Sadly, the “easy” path might be the one you regret down the road. Even though this is a painful period, you need to gather the strength to take control of your money.
I’ve been around far too many divorces that began as “friendly” and ended up as “screaming matches.” While you don’t need to be nasty, it is important to have your ducks in a row. Here are a few of the important things to remember along the way:
1) Collect your bank and debt statements. Especially if you weren’t the primary financial person in your relationship, you’ll need to come up to speed quickly. What are the bills? Where is your money going? How does the household financial picture look?
2) Make a spreadsheet. Your attorney is going to ask details about all of your debt and assets. List the account, payment, or contribution amount, total due (or total saved), and (maybe most importantly) whose name is on the account. Don’t forget about pensions, insurance, and non-cash or stock assets, such as vacation property or vehicles.
3) Consider freezing accounts. In some states, it’s possible for one spouse to raid accounts unless you have them frozen. Talk to your attorney and banker about whether you need to lock down your finances until the proceedings are finished. Brokerage companies and banks are happy to change your account status so that no transactions can occur without two signatures.
Finally, make sure you have good representation and protect yourself. Even in a “nice” divorce, you don’t want to find out too late that your representation was lacking.
MIATA EDOGA is the President and Founder of Abundance Bound, a 10-year old company committed to utilizing humor, inspiration & lots of love to give individuals around the world the necessary tools to thrive financially, while keeping focus on the things they treasure most. Visit the Abundance Bound Facebook Page for your free copy of Financial Success for the Creative Soul!
What tips would you give a girlfriend going through a major financial change?
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