Women are said to be the epitome of strength and finally, the time has come when their self-respect comes above everything else. Today, they opt out of a relationship which is not healthy for them; they do not shy away from divorce during dire times. Having said that, another side of the coin is managing finances and Susan Bradley, Founder Sudden Money Institute, puts it beautifully, ‘When life changes money changes and when money changes life changes.’ To be able to manage this transition is very crucial.
Meera was going through a divorce when she came up to me to draft a financial plan. Her requirement was to know that “number” which will be required for her living and her 2 daughters’ education. She was going through a lot of confusion in her mind and her daughters aged 12 and 14 were seeing a counselor help to ease the pressure. Divorces can be traumatic – mentally, emotionally and physically. During this period, advice on what needs to be done comes from anyone and everyone. To add to that, you will have financial things such as living expenses, education cost, rent, etc. running through your mind alongside worry on social stigma and societal pressure. At one moment you may think it’s best to move to a new locality on the other you may be worrying about your child’s school, friends etc.
In such situations, there are some tools that Certified Financial Transitionists (CeFTs) – who are trained in the personal side of money, use to make sure you are first in a safe place and then slowly move on to taking critical financial decisions. 3 simple tools are shared below:
- Affect Labeling: The best way to take charge of your emotional side is by Affect Labelling e. when you have a thought or an emotion you put a label on it. Putting words to your feelings helps to tell yourself that you are feeling Stressed or Feeling Nervous or Feeling Tired and this is temporary, you can deal with it.
- Decision-Free Zone: At times, you may want to move to a Decision Free Zone and it is “OK” to decide to not take any decisions for some time. DFZ helps one calm down and give time towards making a few important decisions instead of getting overwhelmed with all the actions required. Please note Decision Free Zone is not the same as No Decision Zone; the intention is to get freed up to make a few important decisions. DFZ needs to be followed by prioritizing actions.
- Prioritizing: You may start by listing down all the things that come to your mind and then classify them into 3 categories – Now, Soon and Later. Now would refer to things that may require immediate attention; soon would mean things that are a priority but can wait for some more time and need to be done in the next couple of weeks or months and Later refers to things not so important and can be decided at a later point in time. This will help you organize your thoughts and focus on activities which require instant attention.
It’s often said that change is the only thing constant, but in real life, it’s easier said than done. Change can be stressful and emotionally draining. If we add money management to that then it will definitely take a back seat. However, my experience has been that if there are proper guidance and care, a true hand holding by someone who understands not just the technical side of money but also the personal side of money, then the journey is less bumpy and the end results are fruitful.