Exhausting, depressing, scary and life-changing. The crashing end of a long-term relationship can be physically and mentally all-consuming.
Contemplating life as a single, or setting off on the search for happiness again, can be daunting. For many, it will be a sliding door they didn’t want opened.
Others will splash on some blue face paint and yell “FREEDOM!” from the bar of any pub that’s open.
Getting your head right after a relationship is a feat on its own. Stripping all memories of the ex-, like “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, would sometimes be easier than remembering even the good times.
Sadly, the financial considerations of a bust-up are often not high on the list of importance in the immediate aftermath. But, at some stage, they need to become a focus again.
You can run, but you can’t hide. Particularly if you weren’t the numbers person in the relationship, the sooner you understand this, the better.
There used to be two people to collude on the big money decisions, such as updating the car, making investments, or buying a new home. Now it’s just you, alone.
While you’re ultimately responsible, you don’t have to make the decisions alone.
Just as you will lean on others for emotional support while you get yourself together, you should also seek out support for financial decisions.
Where that help comes from … well, I’ll come back to that.
A newly minted single will, at some point, need to take stock of their finances. All aspects of it.
Girls, it’s a cliché, but it’s true: ‘A man is not a plan’. And guys, it’s bollocks that women simply spend. Mars and Venus types just spend it on different stuff.
So, you’ve updated your status on Facebook, and have found a few moments to begin thinking about the single life and cash … what should you focus on?
The biggest is usually also the least pleasant.
When children are involved, more often than not, sadly so too are lawyers and/or the courts. With these come binding financial decisions on one or both sides.
In almost all cases, your finances aren’t going to be the same as before. Even if you both continue to earn the same incomes, post-separation, you and – if you get some satisfaction out of the following – your partner are likely to have less, care of the extra costs involved in running two homes.
Neither of you will likely be able to afford the combined lifestyle you once shared.
It’s going to have to start with a budget. What’s your income? What are your expenses? If you don’t know your way around an Excel spreadsheet, it’s time to learn. The basics of Excel are easy and will save you a mountain of time.
Set yourself some short, medium and long-term goals. What do you need to concentrate on in the next six months, the next year, or two?
Your superannuation? Becoming single might warrant revisiting your super investments. Plus, is your super death benefit left to your ex? How about your insurance death benefit?
If you didn’t end up with the house, is buying a new home high the list of priorities? Is there an property (or share) investment portfolio that needs to be taken care or, or refinanced?
If you weren’t a money person before, the chances are that you won’t become one now (but all power to you if you do decide to do it).
Help might be available from a financially minded family member, a trusted work colleague or friend who has always had their money sorted.
Sometimes, there isn’t someone accessible. Or not someone that you wish to confide your all of your financial secrets in.
Don’t be proud. Seek help. If necessary, pay for it.
Smart people actually surround themselves with smart, empathetic, professionals. In fact, that’s what serious investors do as a matter of course.
Hire yourself a financial adviser, a mortgage broker, a lawyer, an estate agent, stockbroker … any and all that are appropriate. They will know how to lay out a simple pathway and will save you time in implementing your desire course of action.
You don’t have to know how to do everything. But if you know how to hire (and fire) professionals, you’ll almost always do better than trying to tackle areas you’re not proficient in.