For Consumers

For Advisers

Connect with us

MENU
FIND AN ADVISER
Adviser Ratings

Surviving Divorce Day And Beyond

Editorial Women's finance, General, Budgeting 20 Jan 2017

Divorce Separation

Divorce Day was the first working Monday of January. Rhiannon Robinson, a Gold Adviser on Adviser Ratings, is the Founder of Finance Women. The following offers advice on dealing with a situation that is unfortunate, but not uncommon...

With Divorce Day just past, it’s a good time to let women know their options when it comes to seeking their own financial advice. Divorce Day was the first working Monday of January, where spouses’ motivations to break up are fueled by an intense Christmas and New Year holiday period. Female financial advisers often find their clients need a space to clear their head, express their concerns and assess their next steps, and feel more comfortable speaking to a female professional.

The ABS released an update to the data on divorces this week. It showed that not only are brides and grooms getting older but the median age of divorcees continues to grow as well. Perhaps it’s not surprising that the highest divorce rates continue to be experienced in the early to mid 40s. What is interesting, however, is that while the divorce rate as a percentage of the population has been falling across most age brackets, the rate of divorce is actually increasing in the age brackets of 55 and above.

We are seeing many more women going through divorce at ages 55 and over. Instead of worrying about child rearing issues and child maintenance issues, these women are faced with issues such as disparate superannuation balances with little or no chance of correcting them, potentially facing changes to their Centrelink entitlements, concerns about whether they can buy a home, whether a bank will lend to them, or perhaps they have access to a large settlement, which is quite a big responsibility to have to manage for the first time.

Often these women have seen a financial planner in the past when they were part of a couple. More often than not, the partner was treated as the primary client. The thoughts, opinions and education of the female partner came second, if considered at all. Women in this position have been seeking financial advisers who are women because they feel that they will be treated with more respect, they feel less intimidated and more able to open up and ask questions. Research by Adviser Ratings has identified that while females make up 57 per cent of those looking for advice, female advisers make up only 21 per cent of financial advisers, reflective of the gender gaps in the financial services generally. This comparatively small percentage of women available to offer their unique expertise, demonstrates the supply and demand gap that will intensify at this time of year.

Financial advisers (whether male or female) seeing clients in this position need to be mindful of previous experiences that these clients may have had. Giving them permission and the opportunity to go back to basics and fill in some gaps for them, give them support to address the financial fears that they have, and help them to develop confidence in their own financial decision-making capability.

So, here are the six top tips for surviving Divorce Day and beyond:

  • Create a file to keep your financial documents.

Gathering these key documents is going to be important down the track to help your legal and financial team help you sort out your position. The first working Monday of 2017 will come around surprisingly quickly, so use the time after New Years’ Day wisely to gather all of your documentation.

  • Create some space, privacy and control.

Start a bank account in your own name if you don’t have one already, you may also want to think about a post office box and a new email address.

  • Where-ever possible, keep the interactions cordial.

The holiday period can be an intense time of year, but from both a psychological and a financial perspective, keeping your interactions as calm and respectful as possible will save you not just stress but probably a fair bit in legal fees.

  • Think about who else needs to know.

Banks, school, employer, doctor – no need to go into detail with them. Just make sure they know you’ve separated, update your contact details, and give them the opportunity to clarify any changes that need to be made to protect you and your interests.

  • Work out where you are going to get advice.

While personal recommendations are great, there are a number of websites which can guide you to these professionals. Adviser Ratings, for example, allows you to search for financial advisers, check out ratings by previous clients, and even search by gender, specialisation (including women’s financial advice) and location.

  • Take a deep breath.

While the entire situation can feel overwhelming at times, remember, not every decision has to be made right away. Give yourself the time and space to work through these decisions in your own time.

Was this article helpful?

3 comments

"Am feeling much calmer about my separation now... thanks for your help Rhiannon!"

Lucy 12:05 on 23 Jan 17

"Advisers should try to help make sure both parties in any couple they are servicing or cognisant of their financial standing. Broaching the subject of a potential split is not something everyone is comfortable talking about but it should be part of what the adviser talks to a couple about from very early on in their relationship. Preparing for unforeseen contingencies is part of an advisers job, after all."

Kath 11:09 on 23 Jan 17

"Very powerful article - thank you"

Divorcee 13:43 on 20 Jan 17

Add comment

Related articles

What I Wish I Knew About Money At 18…

What I Wish I Knew About Money At 18…

We all have things we wish we could ‘go back in time’ and tell our 18-year-old self, especially regarding personal finances. With that in mind, I thought I would share some money principles which I have learnt working in Financial Services for the last 10 years. Here are some of the things I wish I knew about money as an 18 year old.

5 votes 586 views
Budgeting, General, Savings & Investments
24 Mar 2017
The Top 10 Biggest Financial Investment Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

The Top 10 Biggest Financial Investment Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

It's no secret that Aussies enjoy the occasional harmless gamble in attempts to win big. Every November for example, we as a nation gamble millions of dollars on one short horse race. But why gamble with your financial future? Platinum adviser Scott Haywood of Haywood Financial Management and Partners highlights some investment tips and what to look out for to better the odds when it comes to our personal finances.

5 votes 995 views
General, Savings & Investments
24 Feb 2017

Related Q&As

Q&A: Ask an Adviser - What Are The Pros And Cons Of Investing Your Super Directly Into Shares Or Exchange Traded Funds (ETF's)

Tony Sarai

Top answer provided by:Tony Sarai

Can you tell me who besides Australian Super offers a member direct option to invest directly in shares and ETFs? I am interested in doing this in a traditional super account not a SMSF account. What are the pros and cons of doing this? Thanks.

1 votes 1 answer 230 views
General
24 Mar 2017

Q&A: Ask an Adviser - Would you still recommend a negative gearing strategy?

Neil Evans

Top answer provided by:Neil Evans

Peter from the Gold Coast asked whether you would recommend a negative gearing strategy in this environment seeing there's pressure growing from many areas to change the system and also in some markets there's a warning of a property bubble which could burst?

2 votes 2 answer 698 views
Savings & Investments, General
02 Nov 2016

Couldn’t find what you were after?

Ask advice from a financial planner

55 left
Submit question