Last time on the blog I explained why it’s so important to make friends with your money during divorce. It might start off as an odd thing to do, especially at a time when money is such an explosive topic. But that’s all the more reason to do it. You can read more about making friends with money during your divorce here.
On this blog we’ll delve more into the practicalities of making friends with your money during divorce. Here are five, friendly ways you can get your money working with you.
1. Give it some attention
The first step to any friendship, human or otherwise, is attention. So many of my clients tell me they ‘weren’t the money person’ in their marriage. Perhaps because your soon-to-be-ex spouse was the main breadwinner. Or perhaps because it was easier to let them take charge, you didn’t enjoy the admin anyway.
Now is the time to turn your attention to money. Even if it feels scary. Especially if it feels scary. There is no way you can enhance your relationship with money if you ignore it.
Three actions to start to give money your attention in divorce:
- Open your bank statements: paper and online
- Start to log your household spending
- Notice your soon-to-be-ex’s relationship with money (this is a very interesting one!).
2. Decide you want it in your life
Now money is back on your radar, you’ll start to notice it everywhere. You might notice where you’re letting money slip through your fingers unnecessarily. Maybe you have direct debits for services you no longer use, or you’re spending a fortune on groceries you could get elsewhere
You might notice that your money situation isn’t that scary, and it just needs a little organising so you can take the reins as you negotiate separated and divorced living.
Whatever you notice about money, it’s time to get intentional. Time to decide you want it in your life. This might sound simple, but can actually be a tough mindset to step into. If you’ve spent years thinking:
- You’re not the sort of person who has enough money
- It’s greedy to want more
- You don’t know how to manage money…
…or any number of other money stories you may have, actually changing the script is hard work! I know, because I’ve had to do it. I’m lucky never to have been destitute, but I have felt alienated from money. I’ve felt as though I’m not the sort of person who knows how to make wise financial decisions.
And I’ve had to retrain myself to do exactly that. I was a single woman in business for a long time, and now I’m married to someone with young onset dementia. If I’m not going to decide to be in charge of money, who will do it for me? And the same goes for you.
You are worthy of having money in your life. It doesn’t mean you will be irresponsible or greedy if you live with more than the very minimum. You can still be you.
3. Treat it well
Treating your money well can look like all sorts of things:
- Having a new purse or wallet for cash and bank cards, and clearing out the clutter
- Moving savings to an account with a better interest rate (imagine it being like a hotel room upgrade for your cash!)
- Not losing money to things you don’t care about
- When you do spend money, savouring the things you’ve spent it on, rather than taking them for granted. Whether that’s sitting down to enjoy your food, or actually using the gym/netflix subscription you pay for.
It’s useful to do a regular audit of this, but there’s never a better time than when you’re in the middle of divorce.
4. Know what you want and need
Once you start to pay attention to your money you will start to get clearer on your daily, weekly and monthly income and expenditure. Pay attention to this, really understand it.
If there is money in your marriage, but it has mostly been controlled by your soon-to-be-ex, please don’t think you aren’t ‘entitled’ to that money, or that you will need to learn to live very frugally after divorce. In court, the financial agreement is founded on a principle of equality, with the famous section 25 factors (read more about the factors here) influencing a court decision on the division of assets.
All of which is a long way of saying, you should not have to take a significant reduction in your lifestyle if there is money within the marriage. That’s not to say things have to carry on exactly as they did before. Perhaps your soon-to-be-ex loved a walking holiday, but you really just want your time off to be a ‘drop and flop’ somewhere sunny! Divorce is a fantastic time to re-evaluate what’s important and what you want from your future. And you will need money to make some of those things happen.
5. Know when to invest
Making friends with money doesn’t mean holding onto it for dear life. No-one likes a clingy friend! It means making smart decisions about your life. It means choosing the things that will enhance your health and wellbeing, and the things that will make or save you money too.
It’s not a crime to go for fancy cocktails with friends every so often: you need to grab the moments of joy when you can! It’s not a crime to ask for, and pay for, the help that gets you through a crisis or could turn everything around: whether that’s childcare, therapy, coaching or a cleaner.
I can help you make friends with money during divorce
From step-by-step guides to walk you through your financial settlement, to coaching on your money story and mindset, to a supportive community of other women who get it… I’m here for you.
Divorce is exhausting, I get it. Too many times I’ve heard women say things like, ‘It’s fine, I just want it done with so I can get on with my life. I’m sick of battling, they can have everything.’
Please don’t be that person. Please hang on for future you. She will have a far, far easier life if she has enough money behind her. It can be daunting. But money doesn’t have to be the enemy, or the alien, I promise.
Come and join us in The Absolute Academy and let’s do this together.
Emma Heptonstall, the Divorce Alchemist is the author of the Amazon best-selling book How to be a Lady Who Leaves, the Ultimate Guide to Getting Divorce Ready. A former lawyer, Emma is a family mediator and founder of Get Divorce Ready the online self-study and group programmes. Emma has been featured on BBC Radio, The Telegraph, the iPaper and in Marie Claire Magazine. Emma is also the host of The Six Minute Divorce Podcast. To find out more visit www.emmaheptonstall.com