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Divorce and Financial Planning
Planning To Be A Stay-At-Home Parent: Is It Affordable?

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# Wednesday, 28 November 2007
Wednesday, 28 November 2007 14:51:47 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00) ( General Life | Term Life )

No one likes to think about the possibility of divorce. Unfortunately, however, it does occur, leaving emotional and financial uncertainty in it's wake. As with any major life change, attention needs to be paid to your financial plans and goals.

Due to the emotional nature of divorce, it can be hard for some people to concentrate on the financial aspects of their life. However, as hard as it may seem, some decisions need to be made regarding savings, housing, etc.

If you have children, you will need to work out a financial plan with your ex regarding support. You will also need to factor in such expenses as post-secondary education, and arrange some sort of savings plan in order to provide for future expenditures. Also consider such items as vacations, car insurance for teenagers, etc. Both parents should have life insurance in order to protect the children's financial interests should something happen to one of you.

If you are just recently separated, do not rush out and purchase a new home. Rent for a few months, and house hunt, but avoid the impulse purchase. Buying a home that you later decide you don't like, or have decided to move to another area, etc. can seriously affect your finances. Allow yourself some time to get acclimated to your new situation, and avoid making any big purchases. Wait until you are more certain of what's in store for yourself, and then make a decision on home buying. If you are planning on selling the marital home that already has a mortgage, you may find it hard to acquire a new mortgage until the first has been settled.

Obviously, you will need to make a new financial plan, based on your earnings, not the combined earnings you had. Re-evaluate your spending habits as well, they should reflect only your income. Many people find themselves deeply in debt when they keep spending the same amount, but with only half the income coming in. As well, consider your long term financial goals, with a view towards retirement. It's advisable to consult with a financial planner at this point in order to ensure a secure financial future for yourself.

Both parents can purchase term life insurance policies that are specifically designated for the care of their children in case of death. Both parents can buy term life in an amount that takes care of the children until they are adults. Disability insurance is a good idea as well, as there is only one income in the house. Should you become ill or get injured, you will need to still have money coming in to take care of the household responsiblities.

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# Friday, 16 November 2007
Friday, 16 November 2007 17:07:40 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00) ( General Life )

Many Canadian homes have both parents working; either by choice or financial necessity. If you are planning on having one parent stay home full time, it's important to plan for it financially and emotionally. Although reducing your family income can be a rough transition, being prepared can help you adjust to the new changes.

Don't just quit your job. It's a good idea to actually try living on one income before actually quitting your job. Do a "dry run" for 3 months living solely on the one paycheck, and bank the other. This gives you the option of changing your plans if necessary without having to look for another job, as well as some savings!

Review your financial plan. You will need to re-work your financial plan, as your yearly income will be decreased. This change in income will affect not only your short-term finances, but your long term goals as well. Expensive items, such as cars, vacations, etc. will need to be discussed and planned for. As well, long term financial goals such as retirement may need to be reworked.

Make a new budget that reflects the change in income. Your new budget should cover all the household expenses as well as savings based on the one salary. It is recommended that 60% of your gross income goes to committed expenses, i.e. taxes, mortgage, utilities, credit cards, etc. 10% should be saved as an emergency fund (ideally this fund covers 3-6 months of living expenses). 20% should be committed to your long term plans and retirement fund. The remaining 10% of your income should be spending money to cover expenses that are not considered a necessity. Each spouse should have their own bank account, in which they each receive 5% of the "fun" money each month to spend as they please. This gives both partners some financial independence.

Review your insurance before quitting your job. The stay-at-home parent needs to maintain adequate insurance. Life insurance not only covers lost income in case of death, but the costs required to maintain the family. Should the stay-at-home parent die, expenses such as daycare, home maintenance, etc will need to be covered. Disability insurance at this stage is also recommended in case the working parent suffers an accident or illness. It is also important to review health insurance policies to ensure that the working parent has sufficient coverage that covers the whole family. If the parent who is quitting their job has been the sole provider of health coverage through their employer, other insurance is available. HealthQuotes.ca offers FollowMe, which does not require a medical questionnaire if applied for within 60 days of discontinuation of group insurance. This policy provides health and dental insurance at an affordable rate.

As family finances change, it is important that all financial goals are reconsidered. Your insurance coverage needs to reflect these changes in order to best provide for your family. Before making any major decisions, consult with your insurance broker in order to ensure you have the correct coverage, and to make the necessary changes.

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