When divorce or death becomes your next storyline, pull together a team of experts.
Jane Cottrell, divorced, is adamant that women, whatever age, shouldn’t abdicate fiscal responsibility as she did. Unless you are well versed in legal lingo, she also recommends hiring an expert to help analyze assets and liabilities, develop a budget, and cut where necessary. “Many planners now specialize in women in transition and teach them how to manage money,” says attorney, mediator, and coach Karen Covy. Example: Rhinebeck Certified Financial Planner ™ Vicki Haak has helped many learn to live comfortably on their income.
Even if you think you can mediate a divorce, it may be prudent to hire a matrimonial attorney to explain what you face, Covy says. “Know that you don’t have to have the Cadillac of representatives, but buy a few hours to understand ramifications,” she says. In the case of death, you need a competent trusts and estates attorney.
A therapist or grief support counselor or group can help you look forward after you’ve grieved and been on your own. “It’s fine to feel sadness, but don’t get stuck,” says Dr. Robi Ludwig, a New York City therapist. In the process, discover who you now are and learn to articulate your wishes, says Dr. Gilda Carle, a relationship expert in Yonkers.
Having a routine, being around other people, and building an income stream is good for your balance sheet and emotional self-worth. And it can help expand your circle. Update your resume, get your name on business networking websites such as LinkedIn, and bolster computer and social media skills.
Figure out how to add a hobby into the picture. It doesn’t have to be expensive but should add a dimension to your life. “I saw my parents’ health decline before they died, so I wasn’t going to wait until I was old to incorporate joy, passion, and adventure,” says author and blogger Vicki Larson.
Don’t wait for everyone to take pity and include you, though they may during your first year of being single. Gatherings in your home don’t have to be expensive but can mean hors d’oeuvres and desserts.
Too much space, high maintenance, too far from loved ones? Give yourself a year to make clearheaded decisions and start mulling over possibilities.
Don’t focus on replacing your spouse. “Ask yourself what you really want − love, sex, companionship, or marriage?” says Larson, who’s been in a relationship for two years but doesn’t believe remarrying is always necessary. “We don’t have to follow the ‘fall in love, move in together, marry, house, kids’ love script — we can write our own now.” She’s seen others also develop a rich life of their own rather than compromise or become a “nurse with a purse” for male counterparts who may be eager to be cared for. Yes, more men over 50 do want to remarry.