Is your financial plan missing a key component?

Guest Post: Leah Hadley Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, Master Analyst in Financial Forensics, Mediator

 Do you have a vision for your future? When facing divorce, a plan can keep you strong and focused.

Do you have a vision for your future? When facing divorce, a plan can keep you strong and focused.

There is an important step often missed in financial planning. No, it’s not creating a workable budget. It’s creating a vision for the life that you want. For some, it’s easy to create a vision when things are going well. What happens when you lose your job or worse, a spouse or a child? What happens when your marriage is ending? It becomes much more difficult to create your grand beautiful vision in the face of adversity. Sometimes, it’s easier to see that vision begin to crumble than it is to consider the possibilities. 

What state are you living in?

I’m not referring to geography. In his book, Touchdown: Achieving Your Greatness on the Playing Field of Business and Life, Dr. Kevin Elko describes how we either live in a state of circumstance or a state of vision. I specialize in working with people going through divorce. Frequently, when clients sit down with me for the first time, they are living in a state of circumstance because of their pending divorce. They are terminating their marriage, whether by choice or not, and this major life change is dictating how they live their lives and the choices that they are making. My goal is to move them from circumstance thinking to vision thinking.  

Do you have a vision for your future? If you’ve had a major disruption in your life recently, you may not have had time to even think about your future. Or maybe you’re looking at your future with fear and with the idea that it will be a bleak existence. Those feelings are natural.  

Overcoming Resistance to Change 

Resistance to change often interferes with the ability to fulfill one's vision. Carrie Greene writes about this concept as it relates to building a business. While it may not seem directly related, her discussion around overcoming resistance to change makes sense. In her book, She Means Business, Greene writes about overcoming resistance to change with what she calls lacking “The Three Cs”: 

  1. Clarity: If you don’t have a vision of what you want your future to hold, it is difficult to make the changes you need to get there. A clear vision can be both motivating and inspiring.
  2. Confidence: There are a myriad of emotions that result from a failed marriage and those can lead to an overall lack of self-confidence. Confidence is key to overcoming the resistance you may have to change.   
  3. Competence: I find this to be a major issue when I am working with individuals on money issues. Many women who don’t understand financial issues choose to bury their heads in the sand, choosing not to deal with them or putting them off. Financial issues and budgeting for your future is something that will not go away if you ignore it. You’re better served to grasp the reins and take control of your financial future.    

My Story  

Prior to my divorce, I remember daydreaming about being single, particularly after a fight with my former husband. Before we seriously discussed divorce as an option, I had been unhappy in the marriage for quite some time.  

My dream wasn’t to meet other men. My dream was about freedom and independence from a marriage that felt stifling. After I’d told my ex-husband that I wanted a divorce, it was difficult for me to even remember the dreams I’d savored of being independent. I was struggling with fear about my future. I was overwhelmed. I had three children. What was I thinking? Could I truly survive and thrive on my own?  

I'm Not Alone

Thankfully, my mom has always been extremely supportive. She continually reassured me and always made me feel that I would never be alone. I really don’t know what I would do without her. 

Knowing I was not alone provided me the confidence I needed to start thinking about what I wanted my life to be like. This notion of starting anew was very much like the emotions I had when I graduated high school and college. Certainly, there was the fear of the unknown, but it was mixed with the excitement for the possibilities that lay ahead.  Following ten years of being a half of a couple, I was ready to chart my own course.  

Bolstering Your Confidence  

When I reflect back, I realize it was the positive vision I’d set for my future that helped propel me through the rough days – I don’t want to sugar coat it, there will be rough days. Change is not always easy.

My support system was essential to staying strong. However, action also begets confidence. As the Chinese proverb goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” What small step can you take today that will help you move toward the future you want? Write it down and follow through on it. Continue to focus on the small steps and before you know it, you will be amazed at the progress you have made.

Leah Hadley is President of Great Lakes Divorce Financial Solutions. You can reach her by clicking this link.