Wealth Q & A: Your Questions Answered

Every single woman deserves financial health.  But how do you build it? Send your money questions from easy to extreme to laura@mebydesign.net and I'll have a lawyer, accountant or financial planner lend me their expertise for the answer.  You'll also win a copy of "what we're reading" when we post it.

Robert Frabasile, a CPA based in New York kicks off this feature with a commonly asked question asked by women who are newly single.

Q. I’m newly single (from being widowed, divorced or just out of a common law partnership).  What are the top 5 things I need to think about financially?

A. Welcome back.  Whether it’s through the tragic loss of a spouse or through a hopefully pain-free divorce or break up, you deserve to have the resources for a full, single life.  Here are some ideas to help kick start conversations with your financial advisor, lawyer or CPA.

1) Your home

Can you afford to continue living here?  Will you downsize/relocate?  Make certain your accountant helps you avoid tax liabilities for any assets you’re given as part of your divorce settlement, or that you receive because of your spouse’s death.

2)  Your new income vs. your debt

What is your new income and debt?  Make sure creditors know what you legally owe.  In the case of death, creditors may need a copy of a death certificate.  To protect your sole income, get disability insurance for yourself.

3) Yours, mine and ours.

Make sure your name is on your property and your share of marital property.   In whose name are your credit cards, mortgage, car title, gym membership, newspaper subscriptions?  Make sure you’ve got a healthy credit report.  You are entitled to get a free copy of your credit report once a year.

4)  Update your beneficiaries

Update beneficiary info on your: bank accounts, insurance, Will, trust, living Will, power of attorney, investment accounts and any retirement accounts.  Get your account information and policies in hand so your financial advisor/lawyer can easily update this information as soon as possible.

If you were married for 10 years or more, you’re entitled to a percentage of your husband’s Social Security benefits—register this info with the office near you.

5) Your future

To help make better decisions now, write down your future goals--from what will pay the bills to how you want to grow personally.

Get the name of your/an investment advisor and compare your dual-income retirement plan with a new plan using your income.

Planning a newly single life may begin with a lot of paperwork, but it does yield a healthy, independent future.