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Assessing your financial health after a divorce

by Catherine Muriel on 05/26/09

Many women decide to stay home after they have a child. Their husbands become the primary breadwinner and they manage the home – from doctor appointments to finding the right pre-school for their children. Unfortunately many women choose not to manage the investments and important financing decisions. Many pay the household bills but likewise many allow their husbands to invest the family savings ranging from life insurance, annuities, IRA’s, 529′s and 401 (k)’s.

If a divorce occurs and the wife has not been involved in these important financial decisions it can be a steep and daunting learning curve.

Managing your budget and your savings is critical. Many Americans live close to the monthly paycheck so if a situation happens, such as your car breaking down, it can stress your savings or worse, can put you into an impending “insolvency event”.

It is important to understand your financial situation – so start now. Go through all your financial records and set up a filing system that works for you. If you are comfortable with Excel put a spreadsheet together. Once you have determined what is going out, what is coming in and what is being placed in savings instruments you can put together a comprehensive budget.

If you are not saving, reassess your lifestyle and make the necessary cutbacks and adjustments. If you are saving, determine whether it is enough to cover your retirement years and pay for your kids’ college education (or at least a portion of their college).

It may seem overwhelming, especially having gone through a divorce. There are a number of sites and networks that can help you get started and encourage you along the way. It is well worth the investment of your time.

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