Developing a Career Plan, by guest blogger Janice Reha, Career Discovery Inc.

The following entry was written by Jan Reha, president of Career Discovery Inc. in Bellevue, Washington. Jan and I have collaborated on many divorce cases and I have found her to be a valued colleague and professional in assisting those who need career counseling as part of thier divorce process. Jan has tremendous knowledge and insight for those who are about to re-enter the job market. You can learn more about Jan and her services at www.careerdiscoveryinc.com

As a Career Expert to the court for 27 years, I have counseled many women and men undergoing divorce who remained in the home to care for the children for a period of time. These people have ranged in ages 27 through early 80s. Yes, I had one client who was 81 years old and had a common law relationship. These clients have spanned many cultures and professions including a non-English-speaking man from China, non-literate women from Korea, Thailand and Viet Nam to doctors, lawyers, vice presidents in corporate America and co-business owners.

The reality of entering the job market for the first time or having to return to the job market after interruption strikes fear for most people in this situation. Many respond by attempting to ignore as long as possible the reality of having to prepare for their new lifestyle. Those who are encouraged by their attorneys, or recognize their need to start the process of preparing for entrance into the job market, overcome their fear and call me to set up an initial appointment to meet with me and discover how I can assist them.

As my profile on the careerdiscoveryinc.com site indicates, I have personally walked this transition some 30 years ago when my children were young. I know what fear feels like and how overwhelming and challenging it can be to become financially independent. I also understand the concerns about the welfare of the children and how they also have to cope with the divorce. The challenge is to overcome these feelings of disempowerment and despair and to replace those dark feelings with a sense of comfort secured by developing a concrete path toward financial independence. As one of my own counselors said, “Make the unknown, known.” You will then have a starting place.

I believe the most important asset we possess is our skills. By developing a set of marketable skills and continuing to add to them, you gain the confidence of knowing that you can take care of yourself and your children financially and no longer have to depend upon another. Over the years I have developed an in-depth program that helps clients obtain a clear understanding of themselves including thier interests, personality style, learning style, values and skills. I also teach clients how to research our ever changing job market using contemporary methods in order to familiarize themselves with current opportunities.

Once they have accomplished adequate research, we identify career and educational goals, the educational costs, job outlook and salary data. The result is a Plan of Action with a clear understanding of the next steps.

If you a going through a divorce and facing the fear of the unknown, this knowledge will help you to feel more secure. It also has specific value to your divorce proceedings. The information can be compiled into a Vocational Report which attorneys incorporate into their presentation documents for Mediation or Court. The Vocational Report substantiates your need for maintenance during your educational and employment reentry phases. This information also helps to show the disparity in earnings between you and your spouse. With this Plan you will overcome your fear of the unknown and help you obtain the finances you need from your spouse to financial independence and your life.

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Love and Money Part 2: Fair Share Divorce

If divorce is inevitable, you begin a legal process that starts moving the day you file. There are dates set and timelines that begin so the whole process is like riding an escalator you cannot get off until it is over. When the ride does end you can either step off confidently if you have prepared, or get thrown off if you have not. I recently discussed how to win a Fair Share Divorce with Christine Chen on About the The Money, a series produced by PBS affiliate KCTS in Seattle.

Watch the video…

To find help preparing your financial plan and budget:

Talk with a financial planner who is experienced with divorce matters. The Institute of Divorce Financial Analysts has a website to help you find a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst in your area who is experienced with budgeting, planning and the divorce process.

Use the Fair Share Divorce Checklist to start gathering the documents and information you will need to prepare. Do this yourself so you do not have to pay your attorney to do it, and to help you build confidence and empower you to plan for a more positive future.

Find a career counselor and therapist who can help you determine your educational needs and support you emotionally during the process. A team of professionals to help guide and assist you will help you survive the divorce process and step off the escalator with confidence.

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Love and Money Part 1: Discuss money issues with your partner

When it comes to love and marriage one of the biggest conflicts in a relationship is over money. Recently, I had the chance to discuss money values and how they affect our relationships with Christine Chen, host of “About the Money” on Seattle PBS affiliate KCTS. Watch the video…

Tips for talking about money issues with your partner:

If you are heading into a new relationship, come clean about your finances. Talk about your credit history, your debt and your earning potential with your partner as soon as you feel you have crossed into the “long-term relationship” stage.

Learn your money personality and talk with your spouse about how you feel about money. Understand your strengths and weaknesses as well as your partners. A good tool is Dr. Kathleen Gurney’s Moneymax questionnaire that assigns you a money personality based on your responses. It is free and takes about 10 minutes to complete. Visit the Moneymax Questionnaire.

If you have very different values about money learn to manage the conflict and communicate often. Create an “ours” budget for the family to cover expenses. Then create a “don’t ask fund” for each partner that has a discretionary amount to spend on whatever they want. One might shop until it is gone. The other could save every dime if he wanted. The point is that you have some independence to spend or save money guilt-free.

Remember, money values are passed down from our parents, relatives and friends. How we feel about money is the results of how we were brought up and has a big impact on our lives as adults. Money can equal love, power, self esteem, happiness, security depending on how you were raised.

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