You have learned about money through your relationships starting in your childhood, then in school, and finally in your marriage. Some people hoard money while others spend it freely. Some are responsible about attending to daily financial management tasks, while others avoid these tasks and responsibilities as much as possible. Some people don’t invest their money at all, others very conservatively, and still others take great financial risks.
I suggest your first learn more about your money personality. Start by listing your strengths and weakenessess on a piece of paper. Do the same for your spouse, partner or ex-spouse. I ask my clients to complete a Moneymax questionnaire at the beginning of their divorce process. This tool is a financial personality profiling system available at www.financialpsychology.com. The Questionnaire was developed by Kathleen Gurney, Ph.D. The aim of the questionnaire is to help you identify, understand, and work within the boundaries of your unique money management syle. Each profile will fall into one of nine money-management styles: Achievers, Entrepreneurs, High Rollers, Hunters, Money Masters, Perfectionists, Producers, Optimists, and Safety Players. Analyzing your money style helps show the client which of their traits are assets and which traits could actually block their success and peace of mind in dealing with money with their spouses, partners, and children.
Money is always an issue in divorce. The spending habits of you and your spouse will be dissected during the divorce process. You and your spouse each have a money personality and the behaviors that go along with your money style. Use this knowledge to strategize and negotiate your property settlement.
Usually there is not enough money for both spouses to maintain the same lifestyle they had in marriage. What is fair to you is usually not the same as your spouse’s point of view, especially if you have been a stay-at-home mother. This is a time you will need to become an active participant in all of the money discussions if you have not been in the past.
Here are some questions to get you started:
- How did you deal with money as a couple during your marriage?
- What was your role and that of your husband?
- What attitudes do your children have about money?
- How are you similar or dissimilar to the example your parents displayed about money?
- How would people close to you describe you and your money habits (a hoarder or spendthrift, careless of disciplined)?
In my book ”Fair Share Divorce for Women” I teach you how to organize, quantify, and strategize your divorce starting with your understanding of your money personality and that of your spouse.