It's that time of year when we open the windows and enjoy the fresh air! It always made me feel better hearing the birds chirp, smelling the fresh air and cleaning as if it were a new beginning. Well, on a positive note, divorce is a new beginning! Put aside all the emotional feelings like sadness, anxiety and doubt about what you are supposed to do next, and consider some of the following tips for your financial spring cleaning!
1. Get your financial house in order. Update your will. Check that you have the proper beneficiaries listed on your life insurance policies. Review your retirement plans and get rid of non-performing investments (contact your CDFA or financial advisor if you need help). Get a file box or use a file drawer and label your files. Doing this will make it easy to find any important financial papers.
2. If you aren't doing what you love or loving what you do, then prepare to make a change! Update or write your resume. Take some courses and explore new opportunities in your area or an area that you would like to be in. Expect more from yourself. I'm sure you will be amazed what you're capable of achieving.
3. Review your credit report!! Not only is identity theft a concern today, but so is human error. I recently found that there was a major mistake on my credit report and it took me a lot of time to have it corrected. It is also a good place to see if you or your spouse have any accounts that you were unaware of. If you haven't already, make sure to establish credit in your name. Open a credit card, or the next time you purchase a car, register it in your name only.
4. This is also a great time to review your benefits at work. If you aren't involved in a retirement plan, and one is offered, enroll!! If you are already active in a plan, review it!! It may seem overwhelming and out of your comfort zone so consult a financial advisor. Most advisors are happy to review your statements and offer you some advice.
5. I am sure that you just got your taxes done and you are saying, "Next year I will be more organized!" That's what I said! So go buy a file for tax receipts only! Ask your accountant if s/he can provide you with some areas that may save you money on next year's tax return.
6. Divorce is a big change and a new beginning. You will want to update your wardrobe, and feel pretty!! I am a big supporter of dressing the way you want to feel!! This can be costly, so make a plan. First, clean out your current wardrobe. There are consignment shops, example: Plato's Closet, where you can sell your clothes and use that money to purchase new clothes for yourself. If you already have a budget, donate your clothes to women's shelters. You will feel great about helping other women and they will greatly appreciate it!! It's a win-win!!
7. Divorce is draining, I know. Emotionally and financially, you feel exhausted. You will need time to rebuild yourself and your finances; start by setting long- and short-term goals (write them on paper). Prepare your new budget and then meet with a financial advisor. You work hard for your money and your advisor can help ensure that your money is working hard for you.
Accept what your financial situation is now, make the changes that you can, and live accordingly. Focus on implementing the above suggestions and you will be able to move forward confidently rather than living in the past.