Financial Transitioning After a Divorce

Financial Transitioning After a Divorce

You might view divorce as a series of distinct steps: filing the paperwork, negotiating with your ex, getting a settlement and reaching the end of your marriage. Yet still more work – sometimes lots of it – remains after your divorce.

Our Peak team is here to guide you through the transition.

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Financial Tips You Must Do After Divorce

Cancel joint accounts. If you haven’t already, cancel and close all joint accounts with your ex-spouse. Joint accounts that remain open are liabilities that could come back to haunt you. The last thing you need is to be on the hook after your ex-spouse runs up charges on credit cards or overdrafts a bank account. Close these accounts immediately. 

Change beneficiaries. We cannot overestimate the importance of changing the beneficiaries on your accounts after a divorce. If you fail to do this, your ex-spouse could end up with your IRA, 401(k), and other assets when you pass away. Changing beneficiary designations is an easy process that can usually be done with a simple form. Most forms will list a primary beneficiary and a contingent beneficiary. If you have a new living trust, ask your estate attorney who should be listed as primary and contingent beneficiaries on your accounts.

Create an emergency reserve after a divorce. Now that you are single, it is more important than ever to have a cash safety net. Have six months of living expenses in cash and set it aside in a bank account – or because interest rates are so low – consider putting the money in an ultra-short-term bond fund to get a 2% to 3% yield on your money.

Create a new budget. List your income sources (e.g., work, marital support, child support, investments) and list your new expenses. Track what is coming and going so you can see how much you have to save and invest and how much you have to spend on non-essentials. Use our expenses tracking form as a guide. Learn more about budgeting after a divorce here.

Create a new financial plan after a divorce. Work with our Peak Wealth financial team to help you analyze your financial situation post-divorce so you know what you should be saving for retirement, what your budget should look like, and how to make the most financially of your new life.