Happy Monday! Nothing like talking about money to get the week started LOL!
I previously mentioned how my divorce was the catalyst for my personal growth. Part of that growth journey included getting to know all aspects of myself all over again. I had to do some HARD work, mainly in the realm of facing my reality without letting that reality depress me.
I eased into this work by starting with the things that felt truly neutral: in my case, the most neutral things I could work on were my money and my career. I know that money is usually a charged topic when it comes to married couples,, but I handled our household finances, and I felt pretty competent when it came to budgeting. So, starting here seemed like a good idea.
I realized that, while I paid our bills on time and had automatic withdrawals for our retirement accounts, I really didn’t know much about our finances. And, now that I was handling my finances solo, I needed to get a grip on what I had already in place, and what I still needed to address.
Enter a financial binder.
A financial binder organizes your financial information, so that you have all of that data at your fingertips. You can make copies of it and provide it to trusted family members, put it in your safe (and your safe deposit box), or drop it off with your estate attorney (assuming that you have one, which you probably will, after completing the binder and realizing that an estate attorney is a wise investment). The binder is particularly useful when you’re trying to figure out the “gaps” in your financial life, be it a lack of certain advisors, under-tended accounts, or backup plans that need to be established.
Take time to get organized (but don’t put your croissant directly on your desk!)
Financial binders are a great way to get your money organized and to give you some peace of mind. This is especially useful if you’re navigating a breakup and you need to know what areas of your financial life need to be addressed now that you’ve “uncoupled” (oh how I love that term). The best part about a binder is that you don’t have to address all of the gaps in one day: you can pace yourself, knowing that you’ve got time to get it done and, with determination and focus, you can get it all done well.
I’ve had a few versions of these, but the one available online for free through Utah State University is by and far my favorite (click on the link to download it). It’s clearly written, captures a lot of information, and has a great set of instructions on the first page, so you have some solid guidance for what you’ll need before you undertake this project.
As tax day creeps closer, make it a point to start getting clear on your financial condition, whether you’re navigating a divorce/breakup, happily coupled, or satisfyingly single. Having knowledge of where you stand financially is extremely empowering and can really help you to feel inspired to improve your condition, or relaxed about where you are currently.