Ask the Money Coach: What to Do After a Break Up

Let’s face it. Most people don’t have access to a financial advisor. And if they do, those financial advisors may not take into account the human side of managing money – like how spending, saving, and stressing about it actually makes us feel.

Cue the Nav.it money coaches.* We’ve long been helping users in the app, but now you can write into our money coaches.

Dear Money Coach,

Long story short, I thought I was going to marry my boyfriend. We’ve lived together for two years and I depended a lot on him. I am just not sure how to manage dividing everything or even managing money on my own. Any tips?

-Keeping It Together


Hello

First of all, I’m sorry you have gone through some heartbreak recently. It’s never fun and always a challenge to mental stability and our core psyche. Second of all, I’m really happy the relationship ended before you married him! Marriages are legal contracts that take a lot more heartache (and money) to dissolve. So count your blessings it ended sooner rather than later if it was inevitably going to end.

Now, let’s start with dividing things.

What did you own together and what was yours? If you were living together, you probably had furniture and household items you need to split. You may even need to get out of a lease and pay a fee.

For your furniture, if you shared the expenses, then finding a way to split thing as fairly as possible will help you not feel like they took advantage of you and also set you up for starting on your own. If you paid for the items, then those items are yours. ‘Nuff said.

If you’re trying to split things up, you might want to start with the big-ticket items. Beds, sofas, tv, and electronics, are all bigger ticket items that you can inventory and split up between the two of you. If you’re starting over, not having to pay another $500+ for a couch can really help you stabilize after a break-up. For kitchen items, pots and pans are needed, while blenders are fun and cylinders make your life easier. If your former partner is reasonable then it’s probably a few conversations about who wants what and then call it a day. If you need to break a lease, assess if you can afford 50-50. It would be fair if the person earning more takes a larger percentage of that larger ticket item, but again this depends on how amicable the break-up.

Negotiating

Even if you’re emotionally scarred and you never want to see this person again, dig deep within yourself and negotiate for what you believe is a fair and equal division of co-owned items. Not only will this increase your self-esteem it will set you up more for the conversation we’re about to have below.

Let’s talk about your own money management.

There is no time like the present to start paying attention to your money! You’re young, you have time to build your wealth and it’s exciting to have a reason to create your own money destiny.

Start by looking at your relationship with money.

Your relationship with money is the way you interact with money on a daily basis. It includes your attitudes and beliefs about money, as well as your behaviors when it comes to spending, saving, and investing. After a break-up, it’s a good time to reflect on your own experiences and then move on to managing your money.

Step one: Track your expenses

The first step: download Nav.it and start tracking your expenses. See how much you spend monthly and how much you have leftover. Your monthly savings habit is your secret weapon in life. If you absolutely can’t manage to save, thinking about emergency grants from your employer, side hustles and other alternative ways to access money is something people do every day. You’re not alone and there are awesome communities like I Like to Dabble and The Broke Black Girl. If you feel like you’d like a money coach to set you up on your path, check out the Nav.it coaching subscription here for one-on-one coaching and a tailored financial roadmap.

Step two: get prepared for an emergency

If you can, build a savings emergency fund with whatever you can save monthly. If you need help, check out Nav.it’s calculators on their auto-save feature to make sure you always have a padding of accessible cash when the going gets tough. The recommendation is 3 – 6 months of fixed expenses in a savings account that you can pull from in a pinch.

Now that you’re rocking the basics of monthly money management, it’s time to talk about debt and investing. If you have credit card debt, let’s try and get those off your books.

Step 3: Manage high interest debt

There are a couple of key steps to take before you do this.

  1. Assess if you can consolidate your cc debt into a 0% APY credit card for at least 12 – 18 months. These are great cards, but the catch is that after the 0% period the interest will usually jump to over 20%+, so your real aim should be to pay off the entire balance before that happens.
  2. If you’ve done step one above, you’ll know how much extra you can afford each month to pay towards your credit card bill and hopefully, you can get it off your books in that timeframe.

Now you’re ready to get mangy debt off your personal balance sheet so you can sail into your future—and your next relationship — with less financial stress.

Start investing

Once you’ve dealt with budgeting, savings, and debt management, the next conversation is all about investing! This is the fun part. Passive income is an incredible vehicle to increase your wealth without you having to do much. The first step is to review your 401k (or 403b, etc) benefits from your employer. Is there an employer match? Are you maximizing your contributions? Employer retirement benefits are a seemingly opaque and complicated process, but your HR department should be able to answer these basic questions. If you’re not taking the match you’re leaving “free” money on the table, so see if you can max your contribution in order to take that benefit.

Finally, if you have any spare change lying around (after you’ve funded your emergency fund!), it’s time to think about investing. We have a ton of investing articles that give you the basics of diversification, compound interest and why there is no better time to start investing than right now. Time is your best weapon and even putting $50 towards investments monthly will help you increase your wealth over time.

Focusing on health

Finally, I know breakups sometimes seem like the end of the world. Take it from someone who understands relationships: getting out of an unhealthy relationship is more important than being in one. In fact, it’s an opportunity to work on yourself and make sure you don’t attract the same type of person your next go-around. Because, for sure, there is another person waiting for you to be healthy and ready to dive into love again.

Related Reads:

Debt, Love, and Life Goals

Ask the Money Coach: How to Deal with the Haters?

Ask the Money Coach: Marriage on the Rocks and Being Shut Out Financially

Defining Your Relationship with Money


DOWNLOAD THE NAV.IT APP TODAY!

*Just remember, that we are NOT your financial advisors, tax advisors, or legal advisors by simply accessing this site.  Everything that you read or interact with on the site is for informational purposes only and you should contact a professional before taking action.

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