Rhonda Noordyk, CDFA®
Let’s be honest, divorce can feel like you are staring at a chess board for the first time. What are the rules of the game? Who are the key players? Who has the power?
Of all the pieces on the board, the queen is the most powerful, can move in any direction and is worth the most points. But what if she has the power, and doesn’t know she has the power? (let that sink in for a moment).
It is easy to look at the chess board of life and feel overwhelmed. How and when should you move? Sometimes you have to develop a simple strategy, breathe and move — one square at a time.
It is important to be strategic during your divorce process. And, it begins with three simple, yet powerful financial moves.
Move #1: Make a list of all your what if questions related to the finances. It is time to brain dump! This exercise helps to reduce stress by getting it all out of your head and onto paper (and the longer the list the better!). You can use this list as a checklist later to make sure you are getting all your questions answered.
Move #2: Don’t overlook the basics. One of the fundamental financial exercises is having a current and post-divorce budget. Having a budget isn’t sexy or glamorous, but it is an important part of divorce. More importantly, a budget helps provide answers to your what if questions listed above. Can you keep the house? How much can you afford for health insurance? Who will pay for the kids’ variable expenses? It provides clarity – and helps create good habits for your life after divorce.
Move #3: Be curious. When presented with spreadsheets, spreadsheets and more spreadsheets, it is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed. By being curious you are allowing yourself to have an open mind. This non-judgmental approach empowers you to stay calm, think clearly and ultimately make better decisions. Here is a simple strategy for processing financial data. The first steps are to ask questions and gather information. To keep your energy neutral, consider saying to yourself or out loud… hmmm, isn’t that interest?! Next analyze the data and ask clarifying questions (and repeat).
So, it is time to grab your chess board. Place your chess piece on the board, breathe and begin to plan your next strategic financial moves. Checkmate!