In your marriage, you paid the bills, made investment decisions, chose additional properties to buy, paid the taxes, and made estate-planning decisions. Or maybe you didn't.
Perhaps your ex handled the finances and everything associated with them. Fast-forward to today: Now you're divorced, maybe even sitting on a pile of money, and reticent about what to do next.
If you're like many women, your husband or significant other handled the finances in your relationship. Becoming single and in charge can be overwhelming. Take heart: Learning basic financial terms and strategies, like anything new that you learn, is a bit of a challenge at first. Trust me when I say that you're smart enough to learn everything you need to know to become intelligent -- even savvy -- in your financial abilities. Eventually, it will be "old hat" and you'll be navigating financial decisions easily.
Here's what he didn't tell you:
• How to spend. I'm not a big fan of the word "budget," and yet I believe there's value in having a spending plan. You need to know what's coming in and what's going out. This gives you a good basis for making decisions about what you can and can't afford.
• How to save. Almost any financial adviser would have you save at least 10% of what comes in, with you choosing whether that's based on net or gross. Having a reserve of cash allows you to feel confident, take advantage of opportunities, and have the ability to handle any challenges that come your way.
• How to invest. Unless you're credentialed in this area, this is where you need to enlist the services of a professional. There are plenty of financial advisers who focus their work on women, specifically women in transition, and even those who have faced sudden wealth. A good adviser will make sure you're putting enough away (or have enough stockpiled) to live comfortably based upon your needs and desires.
• How to get those taxes paid. You need a rock-star tax preparer, someone who understands your particular situation intimately and, just like your financial adviser, can advise you on strategies that will have you pay what you owe, and not a penny more.
You may have strong emotions around your money -- positive or negative. Having knowledge gives you the power to make the right decisions for you, and having the right team can make all the difference. Pick advisers who come highly recommended by people you trust. Interview them and be fearless when it comes to asking questions. You'll feel incredibly empowered once you get a handle on these basics, and have your team assembled.
Remember: This is your money and your future, and you deserve it to be great!
Honorée Corder is an executive coach, speaker, author of Tall Order!, and The Successful Single Mom book series, and the creator of the Single Mom Transformation Program. She turns professionals into rainmakers, average producers into rock-stars, and dreams into reality, empowering her clients to dream big and go for what they truly want.
Honorée Enterprises, Inc.