Let’s face it, actor Gwyneth Paltrow has always considered herself a bit ‘new age’, ever since she shot to fame dating the sexiest man alive*, married an ultra-cool rocker and started trumpeting on about organic food and lifestyle blogs.
But the announcement last week that her and husband Chris Martin had made the decision to ‘consciously uncouple’ had us all scratching our heads. Is this some new age
– MITX DesignTech Summit Hollywood term?
Divorce, separation, conscious uncoupling, whatever you want to name it, it usually ranks as one of the most devastating events in a person’s life. And while Gwyneth may not have to worry so much about money, for those who are within 10 or 20 years of retirement it can be an especially cruel blow.
When you’re dealing with the emotional fallout, even thinking about your finances can be overwhelming – here are 5 important steps to consider along the way.
1. Arm yourself with information
Whether you chose to uncouple consciously or not, the future can seem scary and it may be hard to think clearly. It usually pays to seek advice from professionals and to do it early.
Seeing a lawyer is extremely useful. They can explain the process and your options to you. They will be able to advise you on your realistic legal entitlements.
Once you have a good understanding of these things, consider seeing a financial adviser who has experience in family law. Good financial advice can help you to understand your finances and reduce your anxiety.
2. Visualise the longer-term picture
Although it’s natural to be wrapped up with fear and worry about the immediate future, it’s important to focus on what you want longer-term. Think about where you want to be 5 years from now: make a plan and consider what you need to do to get there. This might mean going back to study, starting a business, travel, applying for jobs or furthering your career.
3. Consider superannuation
The Australian Bureau of Statistics says that over the past 20 years Australians are divorcing at an older age, so many divorcees are closer to retirement age than in the past. This means that you may have less time to build up your own retirement funds.
One of the most important things to do when facing divorce is to review your superannuation.
Also, don’t forget to also check who is the nominated beneficiary on your superannuation account – you may wish to make a change if your soon-to-be-ex is listed.
4. Don’t rule out renting
Unlike the Paltrow-Martins who have multiple residences, one of the first considerations when a marriage is over is where you are going to live. Do you buy somewhere or rent? Should you keep the family home or sell it?
These are important questions – and the answers largely will depend on what your settlement looks like. It may have been a while since you’ve rented, but it might be worth considering. It’s not necessarily going to be forever – renting can be a good short-term solution while you get back on your financial feet.
5. Draw up a spending plan
A spending plan puts you in control, empowering you to make good decisions. It’s vital to know what you can and cannot afford to spend. The key to a workable plan is to know your expenses inside-out and be honest with yourself about where you might cut back.
We can help
If you are going through a relationship breakdown, we can help. Why not get in touch by calling 1800 626 881 or by using the ‘contact us’ tool.
*that’s Brad Pitt for those of you who were too
busy cocooned in your own ‘conscious’ coupling in the nineties and missed this one.