By Nicholas W. Stuller
Divorce is always messy, horrible and expensive but lessons from real-life stories, such as the one Margaret shared with me, can help at least minimize some of the financial stresses.
Margaret (not her real name) is in her late thirties and went through a personal and financial rollercoaster because of a bad first marriage. Her story, while upsetting, is not unheard of.
Her former husband essentially tried to blackmail her into staying in a bad marriage by making subtle threats that her credit would get ruined should they divorce. They jointly owned a house and had a large line of credit based on the equity in the home. As the relationship deteriorated, her husband depleted the entire line of credit for his personal use, and to make matters worse, he got laid off and did not make payments on the loan.
During and after the divorce, he continued to stick her with the bills. The home value plummeted as most did during the 2008 housing crash, so refinancing was not possible, and eventually, Margaret was forced to allow the home to be foreclosed on. Through friends and her own tough experience, Margaret shared with me several lessons that others can benefit from.
First, she should have left the marriage earlier. Second, upon noticing the signs her husband was going to use financial coercion, she should have squirreled away money in her own account earlier and in greater amounts. Third and finally, she is thankful to have always kept a credit card in her name only.
During our conversation, I shared with Margaret that there are hundreds of mostly-female advisors who cater to women going through divorce. These advisors not only know the best money practices for divorcing women, but also become an emotional support system. They have seen and helped hundreds of others go through this traumatic period. Margret wished she was aware of these types of advisors when she was going through her terrible time.
Happily, Margaret is now remarried to a terrific guy who is financially responsible. She shared that while it sounded trite, the many people who told her it would be better in the end, were right.
This story first appeared in my book THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOUR WALLET FREE: Secrets to Finding the Perfect Financial Advisor, published in 2018 by Post Hill Press.
Nicholas W. Stuller is the Founder and CEO of MyPerfectFinancialAdvisor the premier matchmaker between investors and advisors using personalized data, proprietary algorithms, and deep industry experience.