In my practice, I have the opportunity to meet individuals at all stages of their divorce. I have clients who are contemplating divorce; some are going through the divorce process; others meet with me after their divorce (aka post-divorce).
In order to help them with their finances, I need to understand their lifestyle to estimate expenses. This discussion is extremely important before they agree to a divorce settlement.
Unfortunately, if they seek my help after their divorce, we have to work with what was agreed to in the divorce settlement. For any changes, they would need to return to court.
When asking those who are contemplating divorce to describe how they envision their post-divorce life, the response is, “I want more from life.”
To help them further describe what “more” means to them, I use the 5 P’s of Life to guide our conversation. The 5 P’s of Life are personal relationships, personal finance, profession, peace of mind, and physical health.
For each category, I ask specific questions. This information allows them to have a clearer vision of what life will look like after their divorce. From this information, I can then assess their financial situation.
Many describe a lifestyle similar to the one they currently are experiencing – with the exception of no longer having to deal with a spouse.
Others describe having the opportunity to do more activities with family and friends, whether it’s attending local events or getting away on vacations.
For some individuals when we incorporate their financial situation, the post-divorce life they envision isn’t realistic. The amount of money used for one household, now needs to support two households.
If you find yourself in this situation, evaluate what “more” means to you. Ask yourself these questions:
What’s stopping me from doing these things now?
Is there a way to change my obligations to have more time to do the things I want to do?
Will my spouse be willing to take on an obligation to give me time for what I want (maybe there’s a trade-off that could be negotiated)?
Could I hire someone to fulfill an obligation to give me time to do what I want?
When contemplating a divorce, be specific about how you envision your post-divorce life. If you won’t be able to afford that lifestyle, either adjust your expectations or figure out what you can do in your current situation to add “more” into your life. Your solution may not be ideal, but it’ll move you closer to being more fulfilled with the things you want.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, RICP®, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include developing spending plans, comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, retirement plans. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.’”