You thought you were with your husband or partner for life. But one day you find yourself Suddenly Single. What do you do next?
Would it surprise you to know that one in three women live alone by the time they reach retirement age? An increasing number of women are becoming Suddenly Single, either through divorce or bereavement, and finding that the world as they knew it has been turned upside down.
Financial advisor and author of the book Suddenly Single, Jo Read, shares five things you need to do if you find yourself unexpectedly on your own.
Who are these Suddenly Singles?
Typically, Suddenly Singles are women who had a career before taking a step back to raise their family. Their priorities had shifted to managing the family home, and their husbands were the ones to manage the family finances.
Then suddenly, the world as they know comes to an end. Their marriage or relationship is over and they find themselves Suddenly Single – and forced to re-evaluate everything.
But, at a time where everything feels so raw and uncertain, how on earth do you start again?
Five things you need to do if you find yourself suddenly single
As a Chartered Financial Planner, I have noticed more women coming to me for financial advice who have found themselves in just this situation.
Here’s what I advise them to do if they do find themselves lost and not sure which way to turn.
1) Take stock
It’s really hard to make important financial decisions when emotions are raw and you probably aren’t thinking logically. So before making rash decisions made out of anger, hurt, or just so that you feel as though you are doing something, STOP!
2) Work out what you’ve got
Take time to work out what you’ve got first. It can feel like you are doing something just by searching out documents, making a list of bank accounts, investments, balances, spreadsheets. Then you know what you’ve got to play with, what the situation is.
(As an aside, I have a number of resources available to help you do this which you can download for free on my website, suddenly-single.co.uk.)
3) Focus on your emotions
When I work with my clients, I ensure that during this taking stock process, emotions are taken into consideration too.
Of course, I don’t profess to be an expert, but I do know from experience (I too am Suddenly Single) the importance of talking through the situation with someone independent and who isn’t involved – whether you’re going through a relationship break up or bereavement.
It will take time to heal from the hurt, and there will be decisions that need to be taken before then. But just going through the process of taking stock will help you to understand where you are, then you can start thinking about where you want to get to.
4) Work out what you want
Work out what it is you want from your new life. Do you want to move, stay in the same house, retire, do a different job, travel the world?
What we’re trying to achieve is a plan. We need to know where the starting point is, and define the finishing point. Then we can join the dots between the two. So take some time to work out what it is you want to do now.
It’s difficult, as you may be used to the comfort of having someone there, and anything on your own may feel daunting. But there will be something positive to come out of the situation, even if it doesn’t feel like it just yet.
For example, if I hadn’t been made Suddenly Single, I wouldn’t have written this book, and wouldn’t be helping women like me to make the most of their new single life. For me, it’s my passion, and I wouldn’t have had the chance to realise this.
5) Don’t try and go it alone.
There’s a lot of help out there. People don’t talk about it because they are embarrassed, guilty, ashamed (in the case of divorce) or because they don’t want to bother family and friends, or feel like a burden.
So take advice and seek help. From everyone you can. Whether that’s emotional, financial, spiritual, for your health, from people who have been through it
Take the time to plan your new life
Becoming Suddenly Single is so sudden, but now’s the time to sit back and take stock before planning what to do with the rest of your life.