Getting a divorce is not only emotionally draining, but it also means you will need to learn about managing your financial lifestyle as a single person. For many people who have relied on their spouse to handle the financial decisions, this can be challenging. However, it is not as daunting of a task as you may think.
Here are some strategies that can help you get into the swing of managing your finances as single person and help you build a stronger financial future.
Educate Yourself: Enlist the help of a financial advisor to learn how to develop a realistic financial plan. You should learn how to create a budget, get information about investing and planning for retirement and learn about saving for the future. An experienced financial planner will be able to provide you with valuable information that specifically pertains to living on a single income.
Plan for Tax Changes: You need to change the withholding information for your income tax. The withholdings are typically different for married and single employees. As soon as possible following the divorce, speak with the human resources department at your work to request a change to your IRS forms. If you need copies of your ex's forms for Social Security, interest, IRAs or other sources of income, it is best to speak with your divorce attorney for information about how to obtain these.
Check Your Credit Rating: After a divorce, you may have to rebuild your credit. Get copies of all of your credit reports to determine what your current credit score is. If there are any errors on the reports, they should be reported immediately. Keep in mind that household bills typically do not affect your credit rating, so if you do not have any credit as single person, consider applying for a credit card to slowly build your credit worthiness.
Get New Bank Accounts: It is important to open an individual checking account as soon as possible following the divorce. A checking account will help you keep track of your income as well as monitor spending. If you cannot get a checking account, consider a savings account, which will help you build your financial reputation with less risk.
If you have any questions about your previous joint finances, such as the mortgage, joint credit cards and savings accounts, it is best to speak with an attorney who can help you navigate the financial aspects of divorce.
Source: Forbes, "Seven Must-Do Steps For Women Who Want Financial Stability Post-Divorce," Jeff Landers, July 25, 2012.