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Tips: Avoiding Financial Traps

By Nancy Kurn on February 02, 2011

Here are some tips to help you avoid some of the common financial pitfalls of divorce.

  1. Negotiate a reasonable settlement. Get some professional advice from a CDFA or CFP® to make sure you’ll be able to live with the financial terms of the settlement – now and into the future.
  2. Don’t live beyond your income. Reduce your expenses – or increase your income – so that you are always saving something for a rainy day. Ask your financial advisor for help creating a budget if necessary.
  3. Think twice about keeping the family home. Ask your financial advisor whether you can truly afford it, and ask them to show you what cash you’d have available for investment if you moved to a smaller home.
  4. Realize that you won’t get everything you want in the property division. Don’t spend months and thousands of dollars fighting over furniture, appliances, or other personal items. Make a short list of “Must-Haves” and be prepared to compromise on everything else. Look at the big picture; is this asset best for your situation?
  5. Protect your Retirement Assets. In the US, have the QDRO filed as soon as possible. In Canada, make sure to have the pension valued by a qualified professional.
  6. Use debt sparingly. Get a copy of your credit report and close all joint accounts and all credit you do not use. Avoid maintaining balances on credit cards.