Two in three marriages today end up in the divorce courts and 50% of the couples cite finances as the leading cause of dissension.
I have often wondered which is more powerful, the sword or the pen? But I have come to the conclusion that paper is far more important than both, especially if you are about enter into a paper war. You lose if you have nothing on paper.
Take these measures to protect yourself.
- If you decide to totally give up your career when you get married, you are taking a big risk. Taking a few years off while your children are very young is acceptable but staying out of the job market for 15 to 20 years can be a financial mistake you may never recover from. Keep your qualification up to date and try to gain some experience.
- Try to get a part time job or work from home to keep your skills sharp and up to date.
- Start a savings plan as soon as you get a job and keep it separate from your partner’s retirement fund, even after you are married or when you re-marry. Not only will it give you financial security, but your husband will appreciate the fact that he does not have to bear the entire burden of funding your retirement.
- Make sure your name is listed on all joint investments. And be sure you have at least one credit card in your own name. This will ensure that you have a credit rating, this is so important with the new credit act.
- Build a good credit history by paying off your credit card every month without fail.
- Open a bank account in your own name.
- If your husband is a business owner make sure that you do not sign surety for the company debt. If his business goes fails, you could be paying the bills long after the divorce.
- If you do decide to get a divorced, claim your part of the retirement benefits. Recent legislation has made it possible for a you to claim your share in retirement funds, preservation funds, pension funds and provident funds and the recently amended GEPF (Government Employee Pension Fund).
- Divorcing women often choose the house or up-front cash over their soon-to-be ex’s pension. That can be a big mistake. Over time, that pension can be substantial.
- Close all joint accounts and open your own. This will ensure that your credit rating stays intact and that you have a credit record for the future.
- Once you have your own credit in place, inform any joint-credit-card companies in writing that you are separated and will not be responsible for any new charges. The balance, however, must be paid off before creditors will close the account.
- Get a new financial advisor and appoint him/her on all your policies and investments. Get a new financial plan.
- Don’t buy anything rash like a new house or car or go on expensive holidays. Unless you can afford it. If you received a cash settlement seek the advice from an independent financial advisor.
- Make sure you have a financial plan per-divorce and post- divorce budget before you get divorced!
Contact Christel du Toit 082 8527610 to assist you with your financial future.
Think Smart – Live Smart!