"Melvin is ready to start the next chapter of her life but I you needs to deal with the past to help sort through everything when we brought in an expert with two decades of personal finance experience. Hi I'm meredith. Stuttered I work at fidelity investments as the life events experience lead. I've spent the last twenty years helping people with all aspects of their financial lives so mired it. There's a lot going on there. One of my biggest concerns for Melvin. Is that she and her ex haven't actually got divorced yet. That's one of those situations that it's fine until it's not and you don't know when the point at which it becomes not Is going to come. So whenever you're still legally married you end up having a financial obligation for not only the debt but the assets like your home money etcetera. Uh It might be working for now but down the road when one of you starts dating one of you remarries. It gets a lot more complicated. And it's usually prudent to make sure that you've got the legal documentation documentation to support the situation. That you're really Coulda pre-nup have helped here. Yeah I think for a pre-nup that's one of those things. That's smart on paper but very few people are going to really do so it It's very hard to enter a relationship and Get right into that. Will by the way if this doesn't work out here's what we should do. However communications can be really important so as she thinks about a potentially someday getting into a new relationship? She's going to want to be clear with not only her soon to be ex about what their agreement is what they're arrangement is but with any future partners Because if they ended up having children together it gets a lot more complicated. If you're not clear on the same page with expectations right. It's easy advice to give her advice to follow. Hello since Melvin. Can't go back in time to sign a prenup and she doesn't have anything protecting her legally. Should she be making getting a divorce her priority they seem to have an arrangement. That's working for them for now But the reality is is that you don't know when the bumps in the road are gonNA come. And if you don't have things documented then you're going going to be a much tougher spot and so Separating your lives not only logistically but financially and tactically In a legal way is going to be really important for her and then what are the risks of her staying legally married. You don't know what you don't know. And so if he gets into financial trouble they've had different jobs situations you never know if he Has A car loan. You don't want that to become her responsibility at some point. If one of them I think she already bought another property but if he wants to buy another property. How does that work? If one of them dies does she want all of her assets going to him And legally. That's what's going to happen. The way that setup today what are the first step she should be thinking about. This is one of the perfect perfect example of when you don't WanNa make perfection be the enemy of progress and so just taking small steps even if it's documenting their custody arrangement documenting what. They've agreed on on splitting expenses documenting. that her house is truly her house and starting to take that path. One of the figuratively easier things for people. Well do is at least get an inventory of what she owned. What is he on and make sure the lay it all out because sometimes you can forget different expenses that you might have or what happens when the child L. needs braces or special support at school etc so I would start with an inventory than document? The things that they're doing today and then you're in a much better position to start to think about the future. She's concerned about her own debt. But right now her priority needs to be untangling herself financially from her ex. Yes because you just can't control another person especially especially when you are XS. You WANNA protect yourself. I it's the best way that she can make sure that for her child. They're setting up the future in a way that's going to work for all of them. Right so Melvin and her ex have been separated for a few years for our listeners who are newly separated or divorced are for somebody who's thinking about leaving their partner her. How does a person start to rebuild financially after that? What are the things they need to be conscious of? What are what are the hardest challenges ahead? I think one of the hardest things is sort of accepting that this is your new normal and starting over again. Sixty five percent of women have a drop in standard of living after their divorce and so it feels hard had to let go of that big house even financially. It might be the right move for but in general start where you are and take steps in the right direction so for her. I think it's going to be taking some small steps around the credit card debt. Some of it is that the math answer. is not always the same as the psychological answer so an emergency fund. It is something that could help her with those small expenses even though the correct math answer is to pay down those debts more as soon as possible so having a little bit of a safety net there is going to be important and tackling that debt so she prioritized building an emergency fund over paying off her credit card debt for now. Are there any tricks to paying off credit card debt that Faster Davos ask her credit card companies to lower the interest rate. Or should she look at a new card that will give her a better rate. It never hurts. It's a shop around. You don't know unless you ask so as long as her credit is reasonably good and it seems like it might be that is worth your time to save a few points and interest to shop around and figure that out. The conversation has come up over and over and over again. You just can't bury your head in the sand. Look if you're struggling financially you have to call the credit card companies companies your utilities your mortgage providers. If you do tell them about your situation they might be able to help you through the transition. Those are examples of things where are taking half an hour could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Your time is valuable But that is time well spent exactly Melvin. Also mentioned mentioned her business. She use credit cards to start the business. We can't change up but I don't want her taking on more debt to grow her business. What else can she do? It's tough to say in a vacuum but there are definitely small business associations There are often local chambers of commerce. There's different organizations that are worth talking talking to figure out what the options are in her area. There's sometimes nonprofits that will help out small business owner so it is a yet another to do for her. which I know can seem daunting but it over the long term credit cards are going to be tough to keep the ups and downs of a business going? If that's your only option to get extra cash. When she needs it more on she makes money moves right after this quick break she makes money? Moves is proudly sponsored by Fidelity. What's the first thing you think of? When you're having a baby guessing you didn't say money we got it at times like these? Your emotions take over excitement fear. What if you're having twins? We created FIDELITY DOT com slash life events for big moments. Just like this because you need more than financial resources checkout checkout curated content tools planning checklists an actual next steps for when you're getting married buying has dealing with an injury or getting divorced sourced are having to bundles of joy go to fidelity dot com slash live events for help with the financial stuff the emotional stuff just about all this stuff except maybe changing diapers fidelity brokerage LLC member NYSE SIPC. I'm Samantha Barry. Welcome back to she makes money moves. So we talked about. Melvin building her -MERGENCY Fund for women. Who are married? Do we need to have a family fallback fund and then a separate. What if I'm single fullback fund? It is always prudent to have something in your own name. Nobody enters a marriage age expecting to get divorced however as a lot of grandmothers will say a man is not a financial plan. And so you just WanNa make sure that you set your take care of yourself and protect yourself. I and it's not because you're afraid of getting divorced it's around taking control of your own life your own money making your own decisions and not just fully delegating that to somebody else. What's the one thing you want woman going through a separation or divorce to know? I think it's hard to accept The next chapter sometimes even if you both know in your heart it's not the right relationship and it's not working and it's time to move on just pulling that trigger can be really daunting The average person who gets divorced thinks about about it for two years before they pull the trigger and seventy percent of divorces are initiated by women. I know for myself when I got divorced. One of the hardest bridges to cross was saying saying the D. Word. I felt like this this utter failure. How do you let go of the what could have been? What was what I thought my life was going to be is now gone and so let go of that and being able to accept you know? Here's where I am now. And start to envision what you want your life to be and take small bite sized sized chunks to get there and for most people who go through. This can feel daunting. There's a quote when you're in. Hell just keep walking Just keep going because the only way to get out out of hell is to get to the other side and on the other side can be a life. You never imagined I had a a good friend. WHO said to me? Is The price that you pay to have the rest of your life life back. All of those steps are hard and challenging and daunting but it is worth it. If you do the work to get your financial life your emotional life set up and make it your own. Where should these women would be going for that help who should be reaching out to? I think there's two things the jumped on my one is. It's really important that you start to talk to friends and family and people who you trust who can help you emotionally through this process process and to fidelity is life events experience. Lead what we've been trying to do is build out a lot of content curated resources and support to help you through through. Like what do I expect. What does it mean to file for divorce? Should I use a mediator. Should I use an attorney. What are the next steps? How does this really work In so in October of this year we're going to be launching launching an upgraded divorce experience fidelity dot com under the planning guidance section. which is meant to help people whatever phase? They're in to understand. How do I take those small steps in order to start to build the life that I want getting? A divorce is probably expensive rice. It's not a pretty number of the the numbers for divorce. Average in the. US has over ten thousand dollars in the Everett. Legal two hundred and fifty dollars. That is one thing that I think is important to note as a lot of women particularly if your stay at home parent a lot of women think will. I can't can't afford that so I'm stuck and I think it's really important to remember that the assets of the household household assets. Just because they're not in your name does not mean that you don't have any right to them you have have to find the right balance. Know yourself know your soon to be ex and whether you can really work through it amicably and try to do as much of it yourself as possible whether mediators. Here's the thing for you or whether you're going to need an attorney to protect yourself because they're not gonNA handle the situation well So it's a very personal decision but we do give you a lot of things to consider a long journey aside from divorce water. Some other life events that people aren't prepared for financially interestingly aging and caregiving is huge because it takes women out of the workforce disproportionately proportionately over men two thirds of caregiving for aging people are female and ninety three percent for children are female and so that is a massive financial impact on people. Injury and illness is another big one college with the college debt situation in the US anyway It's definitely something that is on people's mind whether it's for themselves or for their children so those are some of the major ones that were focused on right now. We did a series on grammar actually about millennial divorce divorces hired at any age for millennials divorces coming coming with lots of different complications. Are you seeing a lot. More young people divorce. What's interesting is baby? boomer divorces are the highest. They've ever been in. There's a huge huge trend upward. There I think the millennials are learning from what their parents had done and they realize. I don't WanNa wait till I'm fifty or sixty years old and spend the next twenty years living a life. It's not really right for me. So those who are realizing that there are no relationship that's not working for them are taking steps sooner in order to extract themselves from it and get themselves at a spot that they wanna be in for the next few decades."