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Financial New Year's Resolutions with long-term payoff


It's the time of year, as 2019 turns into 2020, that we think about New Year's Resolutions. They're notoriously hard to start, and even notoriously hard to keep, but they're intended, at least, to make us better.

For those who are in the process of getting divorced, there are a number of suggestions out there to help with emotional well-being and starting a new life. But because a divorce is first and foremost a financial transaction, here are some things to keep in mind for a resolution list whether you're getting divorced or you've just gotten divorced. In some cases, they can be very simple actions that have some long-term payoff for couples who heed them.

Prepare for the name change process

For people who are considering changing their names, make sure that you keep financial documents consistent across the board. Remember that changing your name to get it consistent everywhere you need it is a process that has several significant steps along the way. There's a legal name change you can implement as part of your decree, but there's also a name change that needs to happen separately with your Social Security account, which may need to be done before you can make some of the other changes you want to make. This link can help you get started there.

Consider closing your joint credit accounts

While it's generally not a good idea to close a credit account, especially if it's one you've maintained and it's in good standing, joint credit accounts can be problematic for a few different reasons. During a divorce, any charges racked up there can be a cause for contention. In the dividing of assets and debts, it can be complicated to allot a joint credit card account, especially if there's been a lot of recent activity on it.

Follow up on what's in your decree

Remember that just because your decree says that only one party is now responsible for a certain account, the company overseeing that account will treat both parties as responsible for the account as long as both names are on it. Getting your name off an account can be challenging and can take some calling and even some legwork.

Make sure to change beneficiaries on your documents

One of the things that people can forget when they're getting divorced is that they have wills, life insurance policies, and long-term disability policies where beneficiaries are listed - and may still include exes or other family members who you no longer wish to have receiving your money or benefits after you die. It's a good idea to be preparing the chances to those documents even before the decree is final, but if you don't, it's a thing you shouldn't put off. (You never know what's going to happen tomorrow, and you certainly don't want a dying regret, should something suddenly and unexpectedly happen to you, to be your ex remaining in your will.)

Though financial resolutions are about taking care of your assets, they can also bring you peace of mind that directly relates to your emotional well-being. While they can take some time to get done, depending on the complexity of your finances, they can be well worth the time investment.

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