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Divorcing? Get Your Financial House in Order


When considering divorce, one of the easiest things you can do for yourself is to keep your financial house in order and the way to do it is to get organized. Having your financial information stored and processed in a systematic manner will go a long way in helping maintain your finances.
As part of a life transition process like divorce, I often advise my clients to consider the importance of getting their finances in order. Know your financial picture. Know what you have, where it is, and select a finance expert to guide you with a life plan. I recommend clients consider the following:

1) Select a Financial Planner

  • planner can outline for you better ways to handle your budget, cash flow, debts and investment programs.

2) Check your Credit History

  • Take a look at your credit reports and review your credit history. Don’t assume your credit is good. Check with credit reporting bureaus and review their reports. This can be done without charge. Ask your financial planner how. It is a good idea to do this annually.

3) Organize your Financial Documents

  • Organize in files, and clearly label all your financial documents. Color code your files and get super organized. Create a master list with account numbers, contacts, balances, payments, debts and loans. Document Safe Deposit Boxes, get copies of titles for Real Estate and titles for Automobiles.
  • Consider the following:
    • Checking Accounts
    • Savings Accounts
    • Money Market Accounts
    • Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
    • Savings Bonds
    • Stock Certificates
    • Mutual Funds
    • Other Bonds
    • Brokerage Accounts
    • Retirement Documents:
    • Pension Plans
    • IRA
    • 401(k)
    • Keogh
    • SEP
    • Social Security Benefits

4) Organize all the other important documents

  • A) If you are married:
    • Have copies of your pre-marital agreement or prenuptial agreements / marriage certificates.
  • B) Estate Planning Documents:
    • This includes copies of:
      • Trusts
      • Wills
      • Power of Attorney
  • C) If you are still working:
    • Organize work related items:
      • Tax Returns
      • Pay Stubs
      • Benefit Statements
      • Stock Options
      • Pensions/401(k)s/403(b)s
      • Bonuses
      • Health Insurance
      • Disability Insurance
      • Life Insurance
  • D) Do you know what and where your debts are? And the interest rate?
    • Credit Card Bills
    • Personal Loans
    • Mortgage Documents
    • Automobile Loans
    • Other Loans
  • E) Do you know what insurance policies you have?
    • Auto
    • Life
    • Umbrella
    • Homeowner’s
    • Health
    • Disability
    • Long-Term Care
  • F) Are you aware of and have documentation for other valuables in your life?
    • Jewelry
    • Precious Metals
    • Collectibles
    • Antiques

For more information on Divorce and getting your finances in order call Lois Brenner at (646) 663-4546.