Ever hear the old wives tale that 50% of marriages end in divorce? While it’s hard to pinpoint an exact divorce rate, some researchers report current rates could be as high as 50% while others believe the rate has been steadily declining over the past few decades and 30% is a more accurate statistic. According to data from the 2015 American Community Survey, among higher income earners, CRNAs suffer from elevated divorce rates at just above 30%. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since CRNAs are faced with long hours combined with higher than average levels of stress.  Regardless of the reason, a divorce can be painful, emotionally draining, overwhelming, and expensive.
Think about it this way: in order to maintain the same standard of living post-split, CRNAs would need more than a 30% increase in income. Before you file papers for a divorce, make sure you’ve reviewed these tips designed to help CRNAs plan for the best financial outcome.
1. You Can’t Rush A Divorce
Divorce is an emotionally heightened time when you’re forced to make pivotal decisions regarding your future. With a myriad of issues to sort through, it can affect every aspect of your life — especially your finances. Uninformed choices can have consequences long after the ink dries on the divorce decree.
Pre-planning is a critical step in every settlement and begins the moment you choose to part ways with your spouse. This includes gathering important legal, tax, and financial documents, considering your living situation, understanding the impact this will have on your children, and potentially parting with beloved belongings.
When you do move forward with a divorce, these are all things you and your spouse will have to discuss. The more you can settle outside of court the better. By starting this planning process as early as possible, you may be able to avoid some of the common mistakes people make and help ensure a smoother transition as you begin your new life.
2. Get Organized
Before you take any action, it’s important to get a clear picture of where you stand financially. One of the primary purposes of a divorce is to create an equitable division of assets and debts. To prepare for your divorce, you’ll want an accurate record of the assets you own and the debts you owe.
Start a list of all marital assets. Of course, items like your home and cars are important to include, but remember to list other assets including pensions, inheritances, second homes, and other valuables.
During a divorce, debt will be split between the you and your spouse as well, so you’ll want to make sure all obligations are considered, including any student loan debt you may still have. Make a list of everything owed by both spouses, then order a copy of both credit reports to make sure there are no debts of which you’re not aware.
Finally, you’ll want to gather all financial records that prove your income level, spending, and assets. This includes items like tax returns, bank and credit card statements, and investment account information.
3. Get a Handle on Your Finances
If you don’t manage your household finances, you’ll want to review accounts before starting the divorce process. It’s important that you understand your current income, savings, regular bills, and debts. You may be assuming you have more or less financially than you actually do, or you may discover a loan or account of which you weren’t aware.
You need an accurate picture of your assets and liabilities to help create your financial goals for the divorce and after. You can start by creating a basic balance sheet that shows all of your assets and liabilities. This balance sheet will serve as the first step in working on your desired division of the marital estate. You’ll have an idea of what you and your spouse will split, how you’ll handle your children’s expenses, as well as other financial decisions that will have to be made.
4. Plan for Life Post-Divorce
Going through a divorce is hard enough; you want to get back on your feet as quickly as possible without another series of hurdles and roadblocks. Although many people will experience a divorce in their lifetime, few are prepared for all the post-settlement details that need to be handled in order to restore your peace of mind and independence. Before you embark on a divorce, consider how you’ll transition into your new phase of life after divorce and how you’ll control your new financial future.
Beyond finances, you’ll also need to evaluate where you’ll live, whether your work situation will change, who will take care of the kids, and more. Your settlement will be just the first of many new steps into your next journey.
If you are considering or are currently going through a separation or divorce and have questions about your finances, reach out to us. As financial planning specialists for CRNAs, we can help you review your existing situation and evaluate the steps to take now and to prepare for your future.
Life during and after a divorce involves a lot of change, but it doesn’t have to have a negative impact on your finances if you plan ahead. Schedule a free 15-minute introductory phone call to discuss your current situation and needs. You can also call our office at 855.304.3748 or email [email protected].
About Jeremy Stanley
Jeremy Stanley is the founder of CRNA Financial Planning®. He has been providing advice and guidance for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) for over two decades. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, Jeremy has met rigorous certification and professional standards set by the CFP® Board. He is committed to adhering to the principles of integrity, objectivity, competence, fairness, confidentiality, professionalism and diligence when dealing with clients.
Jeremy is also the author of The Wealthy CRNA and A CRNA’s Life After Anesthesia. The Wealthy CRNA features insights into becoming a financially successful CRNA and how to start planning for your financial future, and has been prior approved for up to 4 Class A CE credits by the AANA. A CRNA’s Life After Anesthesia serves as your financial roadmap for a smooth emergence into retirement. It reviews recent changes in the CRNA industry along with the new rules of retirement and the final steps of legacy planning. This book has been prior approved by the AANA for up to 2 Class A CE credits.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.