Oh No He Didn’t!

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: June 18, 2014

Sometimes men leave us when the going gets tough but I bet you didn’t know that studies show the #1 reason for divorce in our fifties isn’t menopause – it’s financial!

As if there isn’t enough stress to go around, we get to add a nearly endless list of very unpleasant symptoms to our days (and nights) and yet our spouses, partners, employers, kids and even the dog expect us to “get over it.” Many a man has been known to say “I’m sorry, I love you, but I didn’t sign up for THIS!” Well guess what? Neither did WE!

Yet there are still a few gladiators around who don their armor and learn how survive in the menopause arena with us. But even the strongest Russell Crowes fold like a lawn chair when dealing with all this AND money issues.

There are a number of strategies for helping women address financial issues associated with divorce or the loss of a spouse (yes, some of them would rather die than deal with us…the cowards!) If and/or when you undergo this pivotal life transition, remember that being left to your own devices is not the end of the world. In fact, it might be the empowering catalyst that you needed.

  1. If you don’t have a financial advisor, get one.
    A relationship with a financial advisor may be equally if not more important than a lawyer as you “grow” through this challenging time. Your financial advisor should be someone who you feel comfortable talking to. Someone who can listen, educate and empathize. She should be someone who empowers you to rebuild your life and make informed financial decisions.
  2. Learn Investment Basics
    Historically, women have not handled the investment decisions at home. If this is the case for you and you suddenly find yourself flying solo, there is no reason to believe that you can’t take the lead in these decisions going forward. If you and your partner had a financial plan, your financial advisor will review that with you and should reduce your worries by stress testing the financial plan using realistic market and economic cycles, and helping you think about the purpose of your money. If you didn’t have a plan, your advisor will help you map one out.
  3. You’re Not the First!
    You’re not the first woman on the planet to experience divorce or the death of a spouse, and you certainly won’t be the last. Use your network! Do some research on what you’re “growing” through. Ask questions of friends, family and colleagues who have trod down that path already. You need an understanding of the separation and divorce process, which might include an array of complex financial decisions. In some cases, assets will need to be evaluated like retirement plans, stock options or restricted stock, and private equity, among others. A thoughtful, compassionate, but above all, patient financial advisor is essential for you at such a challenging turn on your journey. Applying the strategies and principles offered from professionals who are in your corner will help you navigate these rough seas and come out whole and complete.

For questions on anything you read here or on financial planning, please feel free to email me at liz.a.allen@ampf.com.