5 Ways To Recover Financially After A Divorce

How to recover financially after a divorce

We previously wrote about what you need to do when you get married. However, life does not always go your way and you might find yourself needing to divorce. Divorce is an emotionally and mentally draining process that involves many parties. More importantly, what happens after is a big financial change in your life. In this article, fundMyLife shares tips on how you recover financially after a divorce.

#1 Step up

If you were the one handling the household expenditure and finances, you should have less trouble managing your finances post-divorce. However, if you’ve always let your now ex-partner handle things, you’ll have to step up to take charge of your own finances again.

The difficulty depends on how dependent you were on the other partner for keeping track of finances. Fret not, there are plenty of tools out there. It ranges from simple things like an Excel spreadsheet, to finance tracking apps like Seedly. You’ll also need to read up on personal finance from media sites like DollarsAndSense, SG Budget Babe, and even our own blog posts.

#2 Review your expenditure

As mentioned, make sure you keep track of your expenses so that you know where and what you’re spending on. If you track your expenses, you can make better plans for where your money go. Then again, this is a generally good habit to have when it comes to personal finances for everyone.

#3 Set up a budget

Since there is the possible transition from a double-income household to single-household one, you will have to redo your budget to reflect this change. You’ll have to cut back on luxuries and set a realistic budget.

Also, expect your expenses to increase slightly. In the past, you might have purchased groceries in bulk for family use. Now, you purchase things only for yourself. However, some expenses don’t end after a divorce. If you have a child, you still need to pay child support. Similarly, if you two shared a pet and you decided to take custody of the pet, you’d be responsible for keeping it and its upkeep.

#4 (Re)gain financial independence

If both of you and your ex-partner were working before the divorce, you’re less vulnerable since you’re financially independent. However, if you quit the workforce to be the homemaker, going back to the workforce may be tough. This is more so if you haven’t been working for a while.

To address this, reskilling is an option to equip yourself with employable skills. For example, you can use your SkillsFuture to learn a new trade. If you still have trouble finding a job, you can book an appointment with an employability coach from the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) for career guidance and coaching. It is hard to recover financially after a divorce if you cannot feed yourself – make sure you’re as independent as possible.

#5 Speak to your financial adviser

Just as how marriage counts as a life event that requires a financial portfolio review with your financial adviser, a divorce is also a life event that demands a similar treatment. As such, it is important to speak to your financial adviser to readjust your portfolio to take your new and old expenditures into account.

For example, in the past if your beneficiary of your life insurance was your ex-partner, you would need to change the beneficiary to someone else. Another example is that you no longer need to service your mortgage insurance after selling your HDB.  And you might have to strike out your ex-partner from your will.

Ask fundMyLife financial questions today!

We hope this article is useful to you if you’re going through a divorce, or if you’re considering it. It’s a huge change to your finances after splitting with your partner, but it is definitely possible to recover financially after a divorce.

If you want to engage more financial advisers, or if you haven’t found the right one, why not consider advisers of fundMyLife? You can head on over to fundMyLife and ask our awesome financial advisers questions. Alternatively, you can check out our curated pool of individual advisers and ask them questions directly.

There is life after a divorce. You got this.

Been doing lots of research, but not sure who to engage to take the final step? Look no further! fundMyLife connects you to credible and incredible financial advisers privately and anonymously, based on the financial planning questions that you ask. We aim to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.

Getting Married? Find A Good Financial Adviser!

Getting married? Find a good financial adviser

Getting married? Congratulations!

There’s definitely a lot of moving parts involved. You’re probably surrounded by well-meaning friends and relatives who are giving you tips for the big day and beyond. Let’s talk about one piece of advice that’s not given as often as it should be when people are getting married: the importance of finding a good personal financial adviser. A lot of people neglect the importance of budgeting when it comes to marriages, leading to massive debts down the road. In this article, fundMyLife shares the reasons why you need a good financial adviser when you are getting married.

Do you share a common dream?

Previously, we talked about ways couples can manage their money and how to stop fighting about money. However, besides having a conversation about the present, it’s important to talk about the future as well. Angela and Ben* want to build an asset base of $1 million in 20 years. This would provide them with sufficient passive income to quit their jobs and start their own business. After reading up on their own, they decided to invest $500 per month in a single investment.

It was only during their consultation with their personal financial adviser that they saw, based on their plan, that they would achieve only a small faction of what they wanted at the end of 10 years. In the absence of a personalized financial planning process, we often plan our finances without proper approaches. The information from these sources is often not catered to our specific situation, leading to mistakes like the one Angela and Ben made. Sometimes you and your partner may have blind spots due to emotional factors, or simply, a lack of financial knowledge.

Working with a personal financial adviser ensures that you cover all financial grounds. On top of that, your unique situation is taken into account in creating your personalized financial plan.

Can’t see the future together?

There is a saying – “a goal without strategy is called a wish”. We often think about the destination, but not necessarily the journey required. If you and your partner have clear goals in mind, but have no idea how you are going to get there, you should seek a personal financial adviser. The same applies if you can’t set clear goals together on your own. The best ones can tease out what you really want out of life.

Note: that sort of question is also a deep one and may require more self-reflection. Just don’t spiral into an existential crisis.

Can’t agree with each other?

If discussions about personal finances result in regular disagreements and heated quarrels, you may wish to engage the services of a counselor and/or personal adviser. There may be emotional blockages in the flow of communication that need to be addressed for the good of the relationship. Having a financial adviser in the picture may provide clarity and an unbiased view on how to discuss money. Besides, an experienced adviser would have advised other couples on their finances as well.

Ask fundMyLife financial questions today!

That said, having a personal financial adviser is not always necessary, especially if you have clear goals in mind, and have designed a clear path to get there. If you don’t know where to start to get to where you want to end, then having a personal financial adviser may be useful to you.

More importantly, if you don’t know who to ask or where to find amazing financial advisers, we got you. If you want to engage more financial advisers, or if you haven’t found the right one, why not consider advisers of fundMyLife? You can head on over to fundMyLife and ask our pool of financial advisers questions. Alternatively, you can check out our curated pool of individual advisers and ask them questions directly.

Sometimes, all you need is a good third wheel before getting married.

Been doing lots of research, but not sure who to engage to take the final step? Look no further! fundMyLife connects you to credible and incredible financial advisers privately and anonymously, based on the financial planning questions that you ask. We aim to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.

How To Stop Fighting About Money In A Relationship

Stop fighting over money in a relationship

Written by Daniel Tay, edited by Jackie Tan. 

We earn money with our blood, sweat and tears. We earn it with irreplaceable time and indeed our very lives. Earning, saving, spending, investing, and giving money all involve some kind of sacrifice, making money a highly sensitive subject even among couples. Read on to find out how to stop fighting in a relationship if you and your partner frequently quarrel over his/her spending habits.

Step 1: Understand the past

Firstly, understand that it may not be you or your partner’s fault. For example, we usually learn how to handle money from our first teachers – our parents.

Jane’s (not her real name) father was a problem gambler. He frequently borrowed money from family members including her, often not returning what he borrowed. Jane loved her father very much, and didn’t like to refuse when he approached her.

But Jane didn’t like to have to keep lending her dad money. Her solution was, from a young age, to spend all the money she had. That way, she didn’t have any money to lend.

Jane’s circumstances forced her to adopt a certain spending habit. If our parents handle money poorly, it is also likely that we will learn their habits.

Step 2: Communicate feelings

Jane brought her spending habit into adulthood, causing many problems in her relationship with her boyfriend. When he tried to rein in her spending, she would flare up and they would fight.

Communication about money, like all forms of couple communication, isn’t really about the money. It’s actually about the emotions behind that. Instead of saying, “Stop spending money already!” it may be more effective to tell your partner how you feel about his/her spending habit and why you’re feeling that way.

When two people come together, financial matters become intertwined. Financial decisions that were once straightforward may not work out so well anymore. Bringing up this fact may help your partner realize that his/her actions are affecting you.

Don’t ignore the problem

If you’re tired of fighting and thinking of closing one eye to your partner’s spending problem (either too much or too little) because it’s not hurting anyone yet, you’re setting your relationship up for failure. In fact, not communicating about money is a direct consequence of an even more serious problem in your relationship: not communicating about emotions.

When couples do not communicate with each other on their emotions, it implies distrust in each other. “I don’t trust that you will not judge me. I don’t trust that you will accept my feelings, my emotions.” Left alone for a long enough time, this distrust can destroy the relationship.

A challenge to overcome

It’s not going to be easy for your partner to kick or change his/her lifelong spending habit. You need to assess what this means for yourself and the relationship in the long run. In some instances, couples decide that breaking up is best.

However, don’t give up on your partner before the two of you have a heart-to-heart talk about it–the discussion may just spur your partner to realize how his/her actions affect you and take action. If both of you can work things out together, the fighting will stop and your relationship will emerge more resilient than ever!

A good financial adviser can also counsel those who are fighting over money in a relationship. Been doing lots of research, but not sure who to engage to take the final step? Look no further! fundMyLife connects you to credible and incredible financial advisers privately and anonymously, based on the financial planning questions that you ask. We aim to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.

7 Ways Couples Can Manage Their Money Without Fighting

Manage money without fighting

Written by Daniel Tay, edited by Jackie Tan. 

Getting together as a couple presents not only a new lifestyle, but also new ways on managing their finances together. It is said that couples often prefer to manage their money like how their parents did. However, a couple’s unique situation may require a style different from their parents’. Money is a huge factor in a couple’s relationship, and managing them is a key to either breaking or making it. In this article, we present seven ways of managing a couple’s finances.

#1 To Each His/Her Own

Each person handles personal finances in separate accounts.

Barry is a widower whose ex-wife had cancer. To pay for her medical expenses, Barry depleted his savings, borrowed heavily on his credit cards, and took personal loans. While paying off his debts, he enters into a new relationship with Iris. They want to buy a property together. However, Barry might be unable to take any loan, having maxed out his borrowing facilities. Barry and Iris keep their finances separate until his finances become healthier.

This way also works when:

  1. One party’s finances are much more complex than the other, e.g., one party has multiple sources of income
  2. One party has secrets to hide
  3. Mutual trust is lacking between the two
  4. Both parties spend money very differently or are unsure of their long-term commitment to each other

What is required:

  1. Simple financial planning
  2. Sophisticated estate planning, due to individually owned assets

2) What’s Mine Is Yours

Combine all finances in joint accounts.

Young adults Harry and Gwen have been dating for years. They have similar personalities, hobbies, and life goals. They do almost everything together. Each cares deeply for the other’s family. As they make similar financial decisions, they decide to combine their resources in a single account.

This works when a couple:

  1. Want to seal their long-term commitment to each other
  2. Have shared hobbies, combined financial goals, and straightforward finances
  3. Are close to their families
  4. Have mutual trust

What it requires:

  1. Sophisticated financial planning
  2. Simple estate planning with joint ownership of assets
  3. Open communication about each other’s spending

#3 You’re My Equal

Each person owns an account and contributes equally to a joint account.

In Diana’s family, the women are strong-willed. In Steve’s family, men make the decisions. Unable to agree on their money management, Diana and Steve hold separate accounts. However, they need to pay for their house and daily household needs. They pay for these expenses from a joint account to which they contribute equally.

This works when a couple has:

  1. Some combined financial goals, but want some independence.
  2. Roughly the same income
  3. Moved in together and have shared household expenses or shared savings goals.

What it requires:

  1. Complex financial planning and estate planning

#4 I Pay, You Save

One person pays for everything. The other saves/invests all of his/her income.

Scott and Jean want to take up a full-time university course, but cannot do so simultaneously. They first accumulate savings, living on Scott’s earnings and saving all of Jean’s earnings. After building their savings and emergency fund, Jean goes for full-time study. By now, they are used to living on Scott’s salary. When Jean finishes her studies, she finds a job with income roughly equal to Scott’s salary. Scott then goes for his further studies.

This works when:

  1. One person earns much more than the other
  2. A couple goes single income in future, as it disciplines them to survive on one person’s income

What it requires:

  1. An income replacement plan for the one whose income pays for all the family expenses, in case she/he becomes unable to work
  2. Family emergency fund
  3. Disciplined spending
  4. Budgeting for leisure

5) The Fair Treatment

Each person contributes an amount proportionate to his/her income.

Henry, a scientist, earns a stable income. His wife Janet starts an interior design company. At first her projects are intermittent. Some months she earns nothing. Hank contributes more to their shared account. Janet contributes when she can. When Janet’s business flourishes, she takes over contributing more to pay for their shared expenses.

This works when:

  1. One person’s income is much higher than the other’s, and he/she is uncomfortable with the other contributing the same amount.
  2. Both have different lifestyles.
  3. One party is switching career, or starting a business.

6) Pay As You Use

Each person pays for the products/services that he/she use more.

Peter is a photojournalist. Mary-Jane is a fashion model. To look her best, she uses beauty products and services. She pays for their magazine subscriptions, including her beauty magazines and Peter’s photography journals. Peter buys cameras, lenses, computers, and photo-editing software. He pays for the family computer and related online services.

This works when one partner:

  1. Does not want to pay for the other’s hobby
  2. Has an expensive hobby, like shopping, collecting luxury items, travel etc
  3. Uses a household service much more than the other e.g. internet, cable TV, garden services, etc

7) The Japanese Method

One person holds all the money and gives the other an allowance.

Clark comes from a rural Indian village. He came to Singapore to work in a tech company. His wife Lois, a homemaker, grew up in Mumbai and immigrated to Singapore. Knowing little about finances, Clark gives his monthly salary to Lois who makes the financial decisions. Lois gives Clark a monthly allowance.

This is useful when only one party knows how to manage money.

Risks:

  1. If the one managing the money becomes unable to do so, the other could be at a loss as to what to do.
  2. If the breadwinner manages the money, the other might feel a power imbalance in the relationship.

What it requires:

  1. An income replacement plan for the breadwinner, in case s/he becomes unable to work
  2. Family emergency fund
  3. Insurance for the non income earner because if he/she falls ill, becomes disabled or gets into an accident, the breadwinner may have to pay for others to look after the children and household or take time off and a pay cut to do it

At the end of the day, each couple has to decide which method best suits their preference and situation. A couple does not have to stick with one way all the way, because situations do change. And these methods are not mutually exclusive as different ways can be combined for certain situations. In addition, couples should seek the advice of a holistic financial planner to optimize their assets.

Been doing lots of research, but not sure who to engage to take the final step? Look no further! fundMyLife connects you to credible and incredible financial advisers privately and anonymously, based on the financial planning questions that you ask. We aim to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.