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How to plan your finances as a single woman after divorce

How to plan your finances as a single woman after divorce

If I am brutally honest, I must confess that many women from previous generations probably stayed in unhappy marriages since they were never empowered to become financially independent. Even today, it may hold true for many women who are completely dependent on their husbands financially. The decision to walk out of marriage requires great emotional courage and the willingness to take full ownership of one’s life which may seem overwhelmingly daunting.

So what do you do if you’ve decided to move apart and start over? How do you plan your life and your finances now that you are single? Here are the steps recommended by various women who have managed finances successfully post-divorce.

 

Determine your incoming cash-flow and assets

Start from the beginning. Firstly understand what is the liquidity you will have on a monthly basis. For that,

  • If you are a working woman, factor in your monthly salary or business income
  • If you are not a working woman, take the help of your lawyer to understand the interim maintenance you can receive from your spouse when the divorce proceedings are on (Link it to the article on Interim Maintenance)
  • Factor in the permanent alimony you will receive at the end of the divorce proceedings
  • Factor in the child support that you will receive at the end of divorce proceedings if you have children
  • Take stock of all assets, investments, Stree Dhan, gifts, cash, jewelry that you own or is in your name (Link to the detailed article on Stree Dhan)

For the purpose of better planning, it may help to understand the tax bracket that you would fall in after factoring all cash-flow. You may do this with the help of your CA/ Accountant/ Financial Planner. The net-cash-flow post taxes is the amount you need to consider for the purpose of financial planning.

 

Figure out your monthly spends

Begin with where you will stay after you have decided to separate. Will the place of shelter be your parent’s home or will you be staying at a friend’s place temporarily or will you be out on rent? This will impact your expenditure significantly. Over and above, account for basic needs like food, clothing, utility bills which are essential for survival. If you have a child, then factor in their expenses such as education fees, etc.

You need to arrive at a fairly accurate estimated monthly spend so that you can take full control of your finances.

 

 

Get a job. Empower yourself.

If you are qualified but haven’t worked since marriage, find a job. If you can’t or are not qualified, create a job for yourself. Recognize your strengths and make an effort to monetize the same. If you are an excellent cook, explore the possibility of starting a tiffin service. If you love the art of make-up, take a course and become a make-up artist. If you are terrific at stitching, start designing and tailoring unit from home. Today there are abundant possibilities even if you do not have an educational degree which often becomes a mind block for women. If you have the will, you can learn from multiple sources like YouTube, Udemy at reasonably cost-effective prices over and above formal courses to hone your skills and make money from applying that skill-set.

After years of staying at home, it’s not your lack of skill or capability but lack of confidence that may hold you back. But believe in yourself. You are your best bet!

 

Read. Ask for financial advice. Invest.

The one thing that I have learned from my conventional Gujrati upbringing is that you must invest before you spend. If you decide to invest the money left after taking care of all your expenditure, you will never have anything left to invest. So get a great financial advisor and plan your finances with him in the following manner:

  • First, build your emergency cash pool. You may need liquidity for unseen events like medical emergencies, unexpected travel, loss of a job, etc. You need to have at least 6 months of your monthly expenditure ready in cash as a basic emergency pool. Here you can also consider the Stree Dhan (All the gold, gifts, cash that was given to you during the time of your marriage) to evaluate the value of your current emergency pool.
  • Next, create a protection plan with strong term-plan insurance and ample medical insurance. Especially if you have dependents, it is wise to invest in term-plan insurance. Most people ignore medical insurance which is naive considering that medical bills can completely drain one’s finances.  
  • Next phase would be to invest money for short-term and long-term goals for yourself and your dependents. While you need to invest new money, you must also factor in any investments made in your name before or during your marriage. Get a financial advisor to assess their value and tell you if you need to stop certain investments and use the money for new funds which have better returns

It doesn’t matter if you start small as long as you start. We often underestimate the power of compounding when it comes to money. Hire a good financial planner who will invest his expertise in helping you achieve financial independence and gradually financial abundance. A person who tries to sell you a policy is not an advisor, merely a salesperson. An advisor is a professional who charges an annual fee for his expertise and offers unbiased advice, not someone who pushes a particular plan or policy where they stand to make a fat commission.

Divorces have a way of getting people stuck in a loop. The more you think about what went wrong, the more you get sucked into it. While it’s an emotional rollercoaster, the smart woman will cut her losses and plan her next steps since she knows it’s her journey from here on.

It’s a daunting task, but then again, we women can move mountains if only we decide to. All you have to do is: DECIDE.

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