It's crucial to find a caring professional to look at your financial situation at any stage of divorce or separation.
This article is part of an ongoing initiative from RBC Wealth Management to highlight women-led insights from across the bank. The expertise highlighted covers a variety of topics and themes which have also been featured in the Financial Post—Canada’s source for news and analysis in today’s competitive business environment.
By Sofia Goryn, investment advisorRBC Dominion Securities, Inc.
Separation and divorce are never easy. In addition to experiencing tremendous personal emotional toll, women have concerns about their new future, struggle to cope with not being able to see their children every day and worry about not being able to keep living in their family home.
It’s crucial for women at any stage of divorce or separation to find a caring professional to look at their financial situation and answer the most fundamental question of all: “Am I going to be OK?”
You have so many decisions to make, starting with enlisting a trustworthy family lawyer. Then, be ready to put in a lot of work to organize all your financial information and notify the institutions you deal with about your new status.
Here are seven things to get started on:
1. It’s generally advisable to continue living in your family home during this time. If there are children, think about the ideal co-parenting plan.
2. Gather information and make as complete a list as possible of all assets and liabilities for both you and your family. Family assets accumulated during marriage will usually be divided between you and your spouse.
3. Make note of your and your spouse’s pension plan and any government benefits you are, or will be, receiving.
4. List all your sources of income, which may now include spousal and child-support payments. Make a budget and note your cash flows in and out. A simple digital spreadsheet can be used, or even a pen and pad of paper.
5. Review beneficiary designations on any registered accounts in your name, and any insurance policies. Make changes as needed and keep in mind that beneficiary designations supersede the wishes in your Will. Update your Will accordingly and as quickly as possible. It’s important to remember that the dissolution of marriage does not invalidate your Will. A qualified estate lawyer will be able to assist with this.
6. Establish credit in your own name, if you have not already done so (e.g. applying for a small loan or a credit card).
7. Work with a qualified investment advisor who incorporates financial planning into their practice, takes time to ask questions and listens to your concerns. A great advisor will help you set goals and milestones for your financial future.
We find that women going through divorce tend to gravitate to female advisors. Have a conversation with the advisor beforehand and ask about their experience with women in your situation. Personal rapport, trust and similar life values are also important.
Stay strong through the process and get through to the other side. You will be OK.
This article was originally published in the Financial Post.
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