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October 9, 2018 1:55 pm  #1

Facing my future...

I'm actually posting to ask if anybody h as a good book recommendation -- I need something that will walk me through basic financial planning for women who find themselves trying to plan responsibly for a future, after divorce.

My husband has always hoarded information, so I don't really know what our financial constraints were in the past.  Presumably as I navigate the divorce process I'm going to find out.  But, what keeps me awake nights is the fact that I don't fully understand what kind of lifestyle I should anticipate going forward.  I feel like I've traded in the relative stability of a miserable marriage for "whatever is behind Door Number Three" (sorry if I've posted this before) and I really want to learn for myself what I'm throwing away, and what I'm likely to gain.

For example, in meeting the first of two possible divorce mediators, I learned for the first time that I will not be eligible to continue on my husband's employer-based health insurance after we are divorced.  Good to know.  The mediator even noted that some couples opt not to continue with the divorce when there are serious medical issues at stake.  So it's stuff like this, I don't know.  I don't really understand if I get a lump sum settlement, how much per month should I try to live on to preserve my principal.  I don't really understand, if I get spousal support payments, what happens when my husband retires?  What happens if he predeceases me?

Suggestions welcome.


October 9, 2018 2:22 pm  #2

Re: Facing my future...

Great question. 

I don't know of any specific books for divorcees, but in general, the ideas put forward by Dave Ramsey and his "financial peace university" are pretty solid and will help you learn to manage your money after the divorce.  

I thought most insurance providers must let you stay on for a year after divorce under "cobra".  It's a higher payment than it was on your husband's plan, but I think it's still cheaper than other non-employer supplemented plans.  You might want to investigate. 

it's true that some couples stay married "officially" only to preserve insurance savings. 
If you and your husband have significant cash and semi-liquid assets you should get a lump sum share of that money at divorce.  Meet with a financial adviser at your bank to discuss investment of these funds and what kind of monthly cash it might generate.  You should try to develop a monthly budget to estimate what it will cost you to live each month.  that will help you determine if you can live on interest accrual or if you need to take a distribution of principle each month. 
You should get spousal support payments if your husband makes considerably more income than you.  That doesn't necessarily end when your husband retires.  It's up to the court to decide how long he needs to pay you.  Or up to you to negotiate.  Those payment might reduce when retirement comes because it will even out your monthly income.  If he dies first those payments stop.  You do most likely get half of his pension / 401k / retirement accounts upon divorce.  

If you haven't yet, I'd recommend visiting an attorney or three for initial consultations.  Most offer free or low cost meetings for an hour or so.  This will give you the opportunity to meet with no obligation and ask a ton of questions.  Plus if things go poorly in mediation or you just decide at some point you want to get an attorney to handle things, you will have a favorite already queued up and ready to go.   

Do not go through mediation and agree to a settlement without understanding what assets are in your marriage and what you are entitled to.   

-Formerly "Lostdad" - I now embrace the username "phoenix" because my former life ended in flames, but my new life will be spectacular. 


October 9, 2018 3:07 pm  #3

Re: Facing my future...


Last edited by Lynne (February 3, 2019 12:24 pm)


October 9, 2018 5:31 pm  #4

Re: Facing my future...

I have found Jane Bryant Quinn's columns and books helpful. Besides being qualified to give financial advice she has been married, widowed and remarried and she discusses the these life stages.

Granted we are not facing the death of our spouses but a divorce can feel like a death in the family without insurance or casseroles and with little or no sympathy. Once you have educated yourself and started thinking about how you would want to live I recommend consulting with a certified financial planner who is not trying to sell you investments to learn what's feasible and set goals.

I think that if your husband has kept you in the dark about finances that you should retain an attorney to represent your interests rather than starting with a mediator. When there is an unequal balance of knowledge and power you need a strong ally. You only get one shot at this and the extra cost could be money well spent.

Try Gardening. It'll keep you grounded.

October 9, 2018 7:07 pm  #5

Re: Facing my future...

Walk, you took the first huge step and your name says it all "Walk by myself"! 
I wouldn't be surprised if this asshole kept you in the dark for a reason.
Talk to attorney asap to determine what your rights are as they differ accordingly to location. 
The longer the marriage the better as far as pension/retirement to you.
You'd be surprised how you can live with very little materially and be happier than ever when you have the freedom from worry.
Anyway, I can tell you are a very intelligent woman and regardless you will come out a winner in the end!
My best to you!

Life is like phases of the moon.... We really only see it when it's beautiful, full and in our face. 

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