A recent survey by Fidelity found that 25% of women take no part at all in financial decision-making. Of the remaining 75% that do participate, many do not possess the total financial picture of their household. This is troubling given that a large percentage of women will be solely responsible for their finances sometime in their lives, whether it be a result of remaining single, a divorce, or outliving a spouse. Becoming financially literate should be a priority for all women. If you are facing a divorce, the time to bolster your financial IQ is now.
Start by identifying you and your spouse’s income and expenses. List base salaries, commissions and bonuses. Consider any investment (interest and dividends),inheritance or trust income, and take note of any deferred compensation packages to consider as future income. Keep a log of expenses – everything. What are you spending for groceries, utilities, tuition, travel and the like. Anything that you routinely spend money on should be noted to get an accurate representation of your finances.
Next on the list…find out the value of any assets and identify your liabilities. You should be well-versed on the details regarding jointly owned and individual bank and brokerage accounts, retirement accounts and stocks. Take note of all physical property like cars, boats, art, household furnishings and provide any supporting documentation as to their value and ownership. On the flip side, make note of outstanding debts, such as mortgages, personal, student and/or business loans and credit card debt.
Information is empowering, and getting a handle on your and your soon-to-be-ex’s finances can be helpful when you are trying to negotiate a fair divorce settlement. Having done your homework on your income, expenses, assets and debt may enable you to get a more favorable outcome in a divorce.
If you are divorcing and need help, contact the Law Offices of Ronald L. Bell, PC. We have a compassionate, knowledgeable team that can represent you in divorce, child custody & support, spousal maintenance and other family law matters.
Source: forbes.com, “The Most Important New Year’s Resolution A Divorcing Woman Can Make”, by Jeff Flanders, accessed February 7, 2015.