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How to gain financial wellbeing in divorce

20 Sep

Finance is in divorce are often the thing that keeps us up at night, find out how to gain financial wellbeing and take care of yourself.

Woman sat on sofa looking at her finances on her phone and laptop

The finances is often something the thing that keeps us up at night in a divorce or separation and can cause huge amounts of stress. Therefore we are thrilled that Lottie Leefe Founder of DURA Private Wealth which provides impartial guidance to women during divorce and separation, has shared her advice with us on how to look after your financial wellbeing during this time. Lottie has a wealth of experience working with U/HNWI in both international and boutique family offices over the past 10 years. She was also named Spear's 500 Rising star 2021 and Investment weeks Rising Star. Her advice is invaluable, if you are stuck or worried about your finances this is a must read for you.

Finance is fluid. It can be daunting, stressful and overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be.

What Is Financial Wellness?

In response to the current economic climate it is no surprise that financial wellness has been a hot topic for individuals and institutions. With the reduction of savings rates, inflation concerns, job losses and turbulent market conditions for both property and stock markets around the world the onus is now placed on the individual to try to navigate these uncertain waters. It is never too late to start or amend new habits and money management is a lifelong skill that will enable you the freedom to make sound financial decisions.

To achieve financial wellness in your life it requires you to manage your money, consider your values, set goals for yourself, and live below your means.

Financial wellbeing includes the ability to:

  • control day-to-day/month-to-month finances,
  • absorb financial shocks,
  • make financial choices to enjoy life,
  • meet financial goals.

Cashflow is the most important element to a healthy financial life.

Financial literacy

The financial industry can be incredibly intimidating and seemingly complex from the outside. Building your knowledge of how the systems work and becoming familiar with the terminology will not only increase your feelings of confidence and control but allow you to engage and take ownership of your decision making processes when it comes to your financial wellness.

Complex decision-making around credit cards, mortgages, taking out and repaying loans, investment and planning will be less stressful once you can navigate the jargon. Check out our supplementary resources guide to find out more. (attached/download)

Financial narrative

We all have our own individual financial story, habits or behaviours that we have inherited from our families, peers and society. By generating self-awareness over the triggers and responses that we hold subconsciously with money we can learn to build healthier habits and control our responses and put systems in place that benefit, not hinder, our progress.

Some questions you might like to ask yourself may include:  

  • ‘What relationships have most influenced your financial lifestyle?’  
  • ‘When will you be most at risk for not keeping to your budget?’  
  • ‘What will you say when you are not able to give the gifts that your family members want?’
  • ‘How does financial insecurity affect your daily life?’  

Budgets vs Money

A budget is a process and not a static document. Budgets can be boring. But everyone has one. Some are just larger than others.

By reframing Budgets as a ‘map of expenditures’—a balance of wants and needs, income and expenses, and a present and future financial lifestyle it will help you to identify your priorities and habits.

When expenditures are tracked, they reveal how money was spent.  Without reflecting on your current habits there is a likelihood of a similar pattern of future expenditures.  

Budgets are the scene and money is the character, facilitating the interchange between desire and action.

Creating a Budget

If you’ve never used a financial system before then take your time to try one. Habit building should be a way to bring harmony to your life so if something isn’t working – try something else. Only you will know how to manage your own emotions and personality.

To start with identify your ‘non-negotiables’ i.e. your fixed costs per month. Then your discretionary spending, then your future goals or investment amounts. This, ideally, should come to less than your income each month. Identify where you can channel your money to bring you the greatest sense of calm and control.

Creating a budget is a key goal of any financial plan When knitted together, the joint budget represents the fabric of family rules, stories, and rituals. Keeping track of emotions  is the trickiest part when attempting to stick to a budget.

Working with a financial coach can help you remove emotion from your spending, and identify your values and priorities by providing an impartial and unbiased view of your current and future position.

Managing Impulsive Spending

  1. Declutter and evaluate what you currently have:
  • clear out your wardrobe and home
  • employ the ‘one in one out’ rule – donate or gift the replaced item.

  1. Create barriers to reduce temptation:
  • cancel email subscriptions
  • delete shopping apps from your phone
  • remove saved passwords and credit/debit cards from your computer or phone
  • clear cookies and cache regularly to reset retargeting ads
  • block ads in the retail category on social media
  • unfollow influencers and other

  1. Delayed Gratification:
  • give yourself three days from identifying something you want, to acting on your desires
  • create a ‘wish-list’ and review this regularly. Chances are once you’ve put it on the list you will forget about it…

  1. Alternative activities

Identify the emotional root of what’s causing you to shop, modify your behaviour when you know what the trigger is and try to replace it with an alternative activity, such as:

meditation, talking to a friend, watching a film, reading a book or something that will hopefully provide you with greater long-term satisfaction

  1. Reframe purchases

Calculate how much you earn an hour (after taxes). If something costs £100, then this translates to 2 hours of your time. Then ask the question – is this worth x hours of your time?

  1. Ask yourself questions before your purchase
  • ‘How do I feel?’
  • ‘Do I need this?’
  • ‘How long can I wait/when do I need this?’
  • ‘How will I pay?’

Organising your financial calendar

A sound financial framework is essential for keeping on track with your day to day money management. This might include:

  • logging dates in your diary with reminders for significant payments
  • co-ordinating your bank accounts to reflect your cash flow i.e. income, day to day spending, direct debits. This will help you to feel in control over where your money is going
  • quarterly financial check-ins – diarise a date each quarter to run through your budget, savings and investments and to assess whether you are on track or if any changes are required
  • annual financial check-in - review insurance policies, will or estate plans, utility bills and any other significant outlays for your household management
  • identifying events and goals and planning in advance how you will structure your savings and payments to cover the costs. i.e. gifts, property purchase, university fees, medical care or holidays.

Eight things you can do to check in on your finances by the end of the year:

  1. Create a financial calendar to log all essential dates and goals throughout the year
  1. Review your budget and spending habits to determine the areas you can improve.
  2. Review your monthly bills & statements to ensure you are being billed correctly, including mortgage and utility bills
  3. Check your credit score and identify if there’s anything on there that looks unfamiliar
  4. Check-in and review your debt repayment or savings progress
  5. Focus on contributing to your emergency fund and getting it to 3 to 6 months of your basic living expenses
  6. Check on your retirement and investment account portfolios and rebalance them if needed
  7. Sit down with a professional, such as a financial coach, to ensure you’re on track and to help you navigate your finances effectively and efficiently.

If you follow these tips and this guidance you will be well on your way to starting to sort out your financial well-being and safeguarding your finances.

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downloadable resource

Download the Dura Society's list of financial wellbeing resources here to really help you at this time get on top of your finances and look after yourself and your family in the future.

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