Today’s Expert Divorce Help – Women’s Finances After Divorce
The issue of women’s finances after divorce can be loaded with twists and turns and today’s Divorce Expert shows that this does NOT have to be a difficult experience. Let’s dive in and see what we can learn from today’s expert, Misty Lynch.
Divorce Squad asks our divorce help experts how the work they do can improve the divorce process and outcomes for you!
How does the work that you do impact the lives of women that are going through a divorce?
People laugh when I say that marriage is a business transaction. Yes, there is a lot more to it but from a financial perspective it is not much different than getting a business partner. When marriages end in divorce there is an unraveling of finances that takes place and just like business it isn’t always fair or easy. A recent UBS study said that with wealthy millennial women 85% are involved in day to day finances but only 23% take the lead on long term financial planning. Gen X and Baby boomers tend to also defer to men for decisions on investing, real estate and wealth. This disconnect can leave divorced women feeling unprepared and anxious about their finances. As a Certified Financial Planner I help women get clarity on their new financial situation and provide a strategy for them to start thinking of new goals and take the action required to reach them. As a Certified Life Coach, I help guide them through the thoughts and feelings that may be holding them back and help them move forward – even if their life is not turning out as they expected.
When does the work that you do take place? During the divorce process, after the divorce, or both?
Women have come to me for help at every stage of this process from “considering” divorce to years later when they are ready to figure their situation out and make changes. I work for my clients and have no judgment about their relationship so they can be 100% honest and transparent with me about what they want the future to look like. The planning process can help bring awareness to what is going on right now including assets, liabilities, income, short and long term goals. A few clients have wanted to know if they could manage on their own and working with me provided them some answers along with some suggestions that could help them if they wanted to cut back on expenses or see how much they would need to keep the house, etc. Women who are in the middle of the divorce have worked with me to help when they need some things researched like what they should do with assets that are being split like retirement accounts and stocks. Once things are finalized I help clients start with a clean slate. This is an opportunity to start your new life out on the right foot financially and to have someone to work with when you are facing expensive questions like retirement, housing, education costs and lifestyle goals.
What 3 tactics can you suggest for them to move through their divorce with success?
1) Your past doesn’t have to define you. Your future can look however you want it to even if you weren’t “the best” with money in the past or in charge of it. Men aren’t naturally better with money than women, they have just historically had more access to it. You can change the financial story for you and your family.
2) Money skills are the ultimate self-care, even if you don’t care about being rich. Having the ability to invest in new skills, hobbies, or outsource the things you don’t enjoy doing is the ultimate form of wealth. No one is born with financial literacy and anyone can learn it. It just takes effort but it is worth it (and can be fun).
3) Find your team and ask for help. We can be our own worst critics and when it comes to divorce there are a lot of emotions to manage from disappointment to rage and everything in between. People may offer advice on what you should do but ultimately you are in charge of what the next chapter of your life looks like. Lean on experts and adults that you can rely on. I’m a huge fan of coaching and work with a few myself. Do not be afraid to explore therapy, coaching or financial planning if you want to arm yourself with the tools you need to move forward!
What pitfall(s) have you witnessed that our readers should know to avoid?
The biggest pitfall I have seen is women taking a lousy deal just to get it over with and be done. This rush to get things over with can leave one partner in a terrible financial situation compared to where they could be if they spent the time to go through the finances and get a good lawyer and team on their side. Wanting to move on is such a natural instinct but it can be a huge financial mistake. Don’t rush this end of the process and if you don’t think your team is working hard enough for you – get a second opinion.
Also, it can be difficult when children are involved. Money is listed as one of the top causes of divorce and kids may be really confused about money if it seems like that is what went wrong. Learning about personal finance is a skill that can cause less confusion and stress – even if you are not in the situation you want to remain in forever. This is so important for parents to consider. My parents fought all the time about money. If I can help one mom build the foundation she needs to feel confident with money it makes it all worth it! I’ll answer questions over and over again if it helps someone truly get it and feel confident. I don’t mind when my clients vent to me – it means they are processing emotions in a healthy way and we can talk about how they want to feel. I’d 100% rather they talk to me about money stress than the kids because I can help.
How would collaborating with you during/after divorce minimize the stress of the process?
My process would minimize stress in a few ways. Clients will know far more about their financial situation after we meet and that awareness is the first step towards reaching their goals. They have a safe place to talk about their financial goals and fears without judgment. I also help clients invest their money which can be stressful if it is the first time they were actively involved in it. They will understand what they own and the strategy behind the investment decisions-and they can be as involved as they want to be. That job can be fully outsourced to me if they don’t enjoy it! Also, all of my clients have access to coaching – I provide videos and workbooks each month that help clients with non financial topics like setting boundaries and time management. They also get access to weekly group coaching where they can get help for whatever they are struggling with that week.
Interested in how Misty Lynch can help you with your own challenges with women’s finances after divorce? Contact her today!