A marriage may prompt a couple to consider longer term investment goals.
The birth of a child or taking out a mortgage may motivate others to do something about their life insurance.
Divorce is another such life event that prompts action and consideration about one's financial future.
While it is a far from pleasant life event, divorce presents a range of financial challenges that require thought and action in your personal financial planning.
The cost of divorce can be a huge financial drain, making it even more important to be focused on your finances and seek assistance to review them.
The eventual focus of a person is generally on getting finances moving forward after the divorce is settled.
If you or someone you know is going through divorce, a checklist of some of the issues to consider, may include some of the following.
Budgeting is critical:
Day to day financial circumstances will inevitably be different for both parties after the divorce. Child support payments, a previously stay-at-home parent taking on paid employment, changes in accommodation and the need to run a household on less income may all come into play.
These factors highlight the importance of looking at personal budgeting and managing expenses in-line with available income.
Updating your Will and Estate Planning arrangements:
It is exceptionally unlikely that the Will you had when you were married will reflect your post-divorce wishes.
It is recommended you review your Will and other estate planning arrangements, such as your Power of Attorney, as soon as possible. It is essential your wishes are expressed in a formal way. This is a key area for seeking professional advice as it can be a complicated and emotional process.
Re-investing liquidated assets:
In many cases major assets, such as a family home, will have been sold and proceeds divided. This may result in relatively large sums of money that need to be managed.
One of the big concerns facing many individuals after divorce is how to get back in to the property market and any related tax implications. These issues may have a major impact on your future financial health - this is an area you can benefit from some professional advice and the professionals who can assist in this specialist area.
Social security benefits:
Now that household income is split, you may be entitled to social security benefits that were not previously available to you. Benefits such as Parenting Payment and Child Support need to be considered in order to boost your income.
Another consideration is if any life insurance policies nominate your ex-partner as a beneficiary. Apart from resolving any such issues, you may need to review levels of cover to ensure you have sufficient insurance to cover your post-divorce requirements. Conversely, you may have too much cover in your new circumstances and therefore have the opportunity to scale down cover and divert funds to other spending or investment opportunities. Professional input is best sought.
Superannuation generally forms part of the overall property settlement in a divorce, so both parties need to re-assess their superannuation and retirement funding. Depending on your age, you may need to take decisive action on your retirement funding and how much super you will need. You will also need to urgently review your nomination of beneficiary – particularly any BINDING nomination.
An SMSF, or Self-Managed Superannuation Fund, is an incredibly financially dangerous vehicle to be in at this time - your roles, responsibilities, and the risk to your assets held in the fund must be urgently reviewed.
While divorce has an often large degree of emotional upheaval, it can be a beneficial time to re-focus on your future lifestyle goals, once the dust settles, and you have recovered a little. After some of the more fundamental issues are dealt with, you can then focus on a plan to re-build your well-being, health, wealth and financial independence. This is a useful time to consider engaging a financial adviser to discuss your options and opportunities.
A good time to lean on some sound advice:
At times of significant challenge, many people find the advice and support of a financial adviser to be invaluable.
For further information, or to set up an obligation free consultation, contact Hugh* from RIadvice-RetireInvest on 03 9471 0080.
*Hugh Kilpatrick is an Authorised Representative of RI Advice Group Pty Limited (ABN 23 001 774 125), Australian Financial Services Licence 238429. This editorial does not consider your personal circumstances and is general advice only. You should not act on the information provided without first obtaining professional financial advice specific to your circumstances.