Financial Advice for the Suddenly Single
- Tuesday, August 06, 2013
You didn’t think it would come to this. You married your one true sweetheart, and started to build a new life together. Maybe you invested one year, or five, or fifteen into your marriage. But now, after all of that, you’re single again.
Maybe it’s just a temporary separation. At least, you hope it’s temporary. Maybe it’s a full-blow divorce, with lawyers and everything. Maybe the shock of finding yourself in this place has begun to wear off, but the pain lingers, and even deepens.
No matter what brought you to this moment, however, or how emotional you may be, you can understand why now is not the time to let your feelings dominate whatever financial decisions you need to make. Maybe you have kids, or a house, or other considerations for which your faith in Christ doesn’t explicitly lay out a clear roadmap.
If this is your situation, people like Derrick Kinney have some advice you may want to consider. Kinney is a longtime financial advisor at Derrick Kinney & Associates in Arlington, Texas, who also hosts regular features on money matters for KCBI AM in Dallas, and is a frequent contributor for Neil Cavuto’s business program on the FOX network.
He may have never been in your shoes, but he works with clients who have, and he knows a lot about what you’re going through because he’s personally prayed with them and guided them through difficult decisions that you’re likely facing as well.
Financial planning for the suddenly single may seem too intimidating a process during such a stressful time, but it’s a prudent – and, depending on the situation, legally necessary – step to take. Kinney knows it’s hard, but he wants his clients to adopt a proactive perspective.
“It's very important to focus on the future and not dwell in the past,” Kinney explains. “What's happened has happened and you’ve got to choose to move forward. Clients I work with that emotionally move forward and process what has happened tend to rebound much better.”
A variety of new realities may be bombarding you all at once, and no matter how difficult it may be, Kinney encourages facing those realities sooner rather than later.
“One of the biggest pitfalls is thinking that things may go back to the way they were. Typically, that just doesn't happen. Realize that everything has now changed for you. Your budget, spending, how you think and what you do - is forever changed.”
It’s an unpleasant task regardless of your marital status, but revising your will and other critical documents is one of those “sooner rather than later” considerations.
“First cover the basics,” Kinney recommends. “Evaluate your health insurance, life insurance and disability insurance. If anything happens to you, you want to make sure that your family is taken care of.”
Next, look at your cash flow. Can you keep spending what you’re used to spending?
“Take the next 90 days and get a reality check,” he advises. “You want to know what you are actually spending and what your income is. The quicker you adjust your budget, the quicker you can take control of your new future.”
What about the house? Despite the emotional attachment people may have to their home, Kinney has a gentle reminder about being practical.
“Here's the reality: Houses can be a blessing or a curse. It depends what happened there. After a divorce, if a woman stays in the home, she may feel that she can't disconnect herself from the past since all the past occurred in her house. Sometimes choosing to sell the house and clean the slate emotionally can be the key decision that causes her to move forward.”
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