divorce and money

Top 5 Tips on Managing Your Relationship with Money After a Divorce

Relationships are complicated, and one that can be especially tricky is our relationship with money. Because money touches nearly every aspect of our lives, rethinking this relationship is valuable both for your financial well-being and your peace of mind. I asked financial coach, Valerie Chaille, to provide some practical tips to transform how you think about and approach your money following a divorce.

  1. Understand the Role of Money.

Money is a tool--it is a means of exchange to acquire and do whatever you decide to do with it. Money is neutral, it is neither good nor bad. It does not create emotion. It is the way you think about money that determines how you feel about it. Money is not a measuring stick. The amount of money you have has nothing to do with your value (or anyone else’s) as a person.

  1. Examine Your Money Beliefs.

Take time to explore your beliefs and attitudes about money. A simple way to do this is to write “Money is…” at the top of a piece of paper and complete the sentence until you fill the page. Identify beliefs that are contradictory, surprising, or that create negative emotions for you. Decide what beliefs will help you foster a friendly relationship with money (i.e., the ones that feel good). Keep those and discard the rest. Remember that a belief is just a thought you continue to think, and you alone can decide what to think.

  1. Clarify Your Values and Financial Goals.

Compromise is necessary when you’re in a relationship with another person. Following a divorce, it’s important to review and prioritize what you value. Ask yourself what’s important about money to you. Whatever answer you come up with, ask yourself what’s important about that to you? Repeat this line of questioning until you’ve uncovered what’s truly important about money to you. You’ll know when you feel an emotional or physical shift happening in your body. (Don’t be alarmed if you cry!)Create specific goals for money that honor your values and support what’s most important to you.

  1. Practice Mindful Spending.

Before making a purchase, ask yourself if it aligns with your goals and values. Is it a need or a want? Consider the long-term impact of your spending decisions. Keep a spending journal and pay attention to the amount of satisfaction each expenditure brings and how aligned it feels with your values and goals.

  1. Create Financial Security for Yourself.

Recognize that security is a feeling, not a number. Beyond a certain level of sufficiency, more money does not guarantee more security. The thoughts you have about yourself, your money, and the world are what create your sense of security. While a financial professional or an online calculator can give you an idea of how much money you’ll need to support your desired standard of living, it is up to you to develop financial security. When you feel insecure about money, notice what you are thinking that is causing your fear. Determine whether the thought is absolutely true. If it is, then decide what practical steps you can take to mitigate or ease the circumstances. Options are always available to you. If what you’re thinking is not true, then think about things that are true and that will contribute to your sense of security.

While you can’t control every circumstance that impacts your money, it is possible to control your relationship with it. Remembering the role money plays in your life, fostering helpful beliefs about it, and aligning your use of it in ways that honor your values and goals will ensure your relationship is healthy and more rewarding.

Valerie Chaillé is a certified coach and money mentor. She serves as a consultant for people who want independent oversight and coordination of their professional financial team and as a coach for people who want to learn how to feel better about money and have more of it. You can find her online at https://valeriechaille.com and on social media @valeriechaille.