Divorce – 5 Financial Steps To Take BEFORE Getting A Divorce

Marriage is defined as «the state of being united as spouses in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law». When two people enter into a marriage the expectations are that it will last for the rest of their lifetimes, for better or worse, until death do them part. However, some marriages – as hard as people may try – don’t always last a lifetime.

A marriage may result in separating ways and end in divorce regardless of how hard one or both parties try to make it work. This can be a giant roller coaster of emotions. With everything going on there is one extremely important thing many people neglect to think about… YOU. If you find yourself going through a divorce you need to look out for yourself and your financial independence. Too often we see a separating spouse blindsided by certain financial realities. Take a look at these 5 steps BEFORE getting a divorce to ensure you are looking out for your own interest before the divorce finalizes.

1. Audit your current financial situation

Divorces can be unexpected and abrupt. They can also be prolonged and only come to fruition when a step is finally taken to formalize it. Regardless of sudden or more prolonged, there is an urgency with awareness of your current financial situation as a married couple.

With some couples, one person handles the finances more than the other person. While this is not recommended, it does inevitably happen. And in some cases of couples separating we see females who are left in the dark about the financial state of the two as a couple. Whether it be because the husband assumed the role or the wife is staying home with the kids, it is more common for the woman to be less aware of the couple’s financial state. However, this can undoubtedly go both ways and both should take this step into consideration regardless of which role.

This is something you need to protect yourself from. If you know that a divorce is coming, you will be initiating a divorce soon or you just had the bomb dropped that your husband or wife wants a divorce, take this step with extreme urgency. Print out or make copies of bank, brokerage and retirement statements, credit card statements, trusts, or joint investments. Have hard copy evidence of any and all of assets of the marriage.

Why do this?

The hope is that the divorce will be an amicable one, however, when emotions run high, one party may do something out of spite. We’ve seen instances of a spouse trying to shield assets from the other, change account authorizations to restrict the other spouses access, or hide any information that would benefit them-self to do so in the event of a divorce.

So how do you combat this? First start with educating yourself on your current financial situation. If you have a financial advisor you trust, set an appointment with them. If you want to consider a different financial advisor that is independent of your spouse, make an appointment accordingly.

Be aware of any outstanding debt there may be. Sometimes one side of the couple is blissfully unaware of the amount of debt their spouse is racking up while they are still married. This can come out when the divorce is in process and may leave both spouses responsible for the debt regardless of who created it.

Its far too important to be prepared with documentation in case your spouse decides to try and change log-in information etc. preventing you from getting access to these records later on. Do this with urgency to protect yourself and take control of your financial independence.

2. Establish your own credit

In the event that a couple shares credit card accounts, it may be likely that the account is held in one person’s name while the spouse has authorized access to use the credit card. You may be unaware that the account is held solely in your spouses name. This information will need to be figured out because simply having your name on a credit card does not mean that you are establishing any credit. Typically we’ve seen this with a spouse who does not currently work. They have a credit card under the working spouse’s account because of this.

Why do this?

When a divorce occurs, this becomes important. Having a credit card in your own name helps build your credit. You will be better able to be approved for a new mortgage, based on your own qualifications, if you decide you want to purchase a home on your own, or any loan that you may need. This should be done before the divorce proceedings happen. Especially if your spouse earns significantly more than you do or if you didn’t have an income while married. It is a lot easier to get approved for one while still married with a joint income. Also, a credit card can help with the day-to-day expenditures when you’re still figuring everything out in the divorce settlement.

3. Review and revise beneficiaries, wills, health proxy, power of attorneys and other estate plans

When two people get married, it is not uncommon for them to make each other their beneficiary, health proxy, power of attorney, executor etc. When you’re married, you want your spouse to be the beneficiary and you believe they will carry your wishes out should something happen to you. This changes when a divorce occurs and should be looked at carefully.

Why Do This?

When you know you’ll be separating ways it is best to review and revise these. Change each of them to reflect the current situation. You may want to consider using a family member of your own or children if any are of age to do so. It is best to review them with a trusted individual and most financial advisors would be willing to help you with this process.

4. Adjust your budget for your new financial independence

Many married couples have two incomes coming into the household. You get used to spending at a certain level without feeling any financial pressure. This level is typically more than you would be spending when you were single and operating on your own salary. When you are entering into a divorce, it’s time to adjust your budget and become acutely aware of where your money is going. To do this, start by taking an objective look at what your new budget will be. Look at the expenses that are necessary and then look at ones that you would be able to eliminate. Create a new budget you can commit to on your own.

Why do This?

All too often we see a recently divorced woman or man trying to live the same lifestyle as they did when married. It can be a harsh reality when they realize this can no longer happen. Any reduction in income takes some time to get used to. You may have to sacrifice shopping trips, golf outings, getting your nails done, or other luxuries you were able to comfortably afford as a married couple. Understand that life is changing. Doing this step will help you find your new financial independence and put you in the best position for your financial future.

5. Surround yourself with those who will support you

Going through a divorce most likely won’t be cut and dry. Any situation that involves emotions from 2 or more parties makes it difficult. Sometimes divorces are sudden… and some times it is a long time coming. No matter how the divorce has transpired, it is extremely important to surround yourself with people who support you. Especially in a time where a lot of decisions will need to be made.

Why do this?

You need to surround yourself with those concerned with your best interests. Divorces can hold feelings of resentment or distaste towards the other spouse. When emotions are all over, people may do things that they wouldn’t normally do, out of spite. Have the support behind you to make sure you stick up for yourself but also be there to tell you when it’s best to put your pride aside and come to an agreement.

In Conclusion:

Going through a divorce can be an emotional and even traumatic event. Just remember, it doesn’t define who you are. You WILL make it through this and your life WILL move on. Be mindful to protect yourself in the process and be confident that you can start again with new financial independence! Consider each of these 5 steps to take when getting divorced. Hold your support system close and don’t be afraid to call in some professional advice.

Most financial advisors will be able to guide you through this process and help you make good decisions that are in your best interest. If you are from Buffalo or Western New York, we would be happy to review your situation and offer suggestions. Call us at 716-662-4470 to schedule your free consultation.

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List of the Top Places to Visit in London

Visiting London is one of the most enthralling things that you could do in your life. Some people are intimated to come here because of the expensive lifestyle that they have. And sadly it is true. Usually the ones who can only go there are those who have the means and who can afford all the expenses. So whether you are in London for a vacation, business trip or furthering an education, take some time to look around and see the top places there are in this city. You will love everything that you find here from amazing stores to fancy restaurants. But of course, do not say that I did not warn you. Bring our cash and credit card as well.

London has many things to offer to tourists who want to enjoy and see breathtaking sceneries.

Let us start with the Oxford or Regents Street. The reason why you will love this place is because there are a lot of shopping stores that you can visit. The best time to come her is I guess during Christmas when the streets are filled with lights.

Next is the Trafalgar Square where Nelson's Column is located. Here you will find sculptures as well as statues. There are also huge buildings all over the square like Canada Houses and the South Africa.

Third is the Leicester Square which is an absolute entertainment haven. It is here where you will find numerous eateries, cinemas, bars and cafes all over the square.

You may not want to miss out on Piccadilly Circus. This is a very popular place where several advertising boards can be found.

Hyde Park is considered the largest in London central which is near the Kensington Gardens.

Of course, City of London should also be included in your list of the top places. This is regarded as one of the greatest financial centers in the world. Historical buildings are also found here.

If you want to buy fresh fruits and vegetables then go to the Covent Gardens. When you are there, grab the chance to visit the Royal Opera House.

London eye is also a famous attraction among tourists because of the giant wheels.

For a luxurious visit then head to the Mayfair. The flats here are among the most expensive in the world so expect that the people who are staying here are among the wealthiest in London. There are also high end shops and expensive diners around the corner.

These should be on top of your list of the top places to see in London.

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One Pound Houses

The cheapest street in Britain. On Wednesday I watched a documentary on Liverpool’s housing scheme – the opportunity to purchase a dilapidated house for a pound and do it up. That sounds like a fabulous idea for those struggling to get on the housing-ladder, and several families had accepted the offer and were eagerly renovating their properties.

However a few problems came to light. Because the area the houses were in was a run down district, there was a lot of crime, vandalizing and even shootings, which was frightening for the new residence. There were only a few sales amid rows of empty houses.

The council had apparently had 2500 enquiries for the properties, why couldn’t they move faster at getting more families in thus creating a thriving community of like-minded people working hard at renovating their homes. A higher occupancy would probably lower vandalism.

Another problem the new purchasers had, was their lack of the skill-set required to repair rooves, flooring and completely renovating a shell. The work obviously had to be completed to a high standard and the new purchasers were working to a small budget and doing as much of the work as possible; also sometimes their work was being destroyed by vandalism.

Some may say why was the council selling off housing stock? They had previously been planned to redevelop the area but funding ran out – but there were benefits to the scheme:

Selling the houses for renovation would bring in council tax.

Homes would be provided.

The area would be tidied up and improved with new residents taking pride in their properties.

An improved district, once everyone had moved in, less crime etc.

It seems to me with a few tweaks the scheme could produce a win-win solution. By selling say 50 houses a month in due course the revenue from council tax could be:

50 houses X £100 CT = £5000 per month. Which isn’t being provided whilst houses are empty!

If council tax was halved for the first 6 months whilst the houses were renovated and tuition/support offered from a team of vetted builders, also doing work at a subsidised rate, this would encourage more people to purchase, and the uptake would be faster. (The revenue raised could help provide the services).

A thriving community would quickly develop, reduced crime in the area, some housing deficit satisfied and revenue form council tax for the future.

As this is only the first episode it will be interesting to see how the project develops, and how the council deal with the arising problems. The program returns next week.

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Vacation in Chester

History

Chester is an old city dating back approximately 2000 years to Roman
times (when parts of the City wall date from) when it was known as
Deva. They built it as a fortress for Legio XX Valeria Victrix, the
20th Legion, safe in the loop of the River Dee and used it as a port
and defense from the Welsh Celts. It was then the principal town of
England, with many relics remaining today, including the weir on the
river to keep water levels high and stop ships going too far, the
'cross', where the four main streets intersect, as well as remains of a
strong room and hypocaust system underneath shops and, controversially,
half of its original amphitheater, with the other half built over. The
Roman Empire fell three hundred years later.

In AD 605 or AD 606 king
of Northumbria defeated a big Celtic army at Chester and established
the Anglo-Saxon position in the area. The Saxons extended and
strengthened the walls of Chester to protect the city against the
Danes. After the 1066 Norman Conquest, Chester Castle was built as
another defense from the Celts. Along with this, the Normans built what
is now Chester Cathedral. In the Georgian era, the city became again a
center of affluence, a town with elegant terraces where the landed
aristocracy lived. This trend continued into the Industrial Revolution,
when the city was populated with the upper classes in amongst the
industrial sprawls of Manchester and Liverpool.

The Duke of Westminster
who owns an estate at Eaton near the village of Eccleston owns a
significant amount of land in Chester. Grosvenor is the Duke's family
name. In 1969 the City Conservation Area was designated. Over the next
20 years the emphasis was placed on saving historic buildings, such as
The Falcon Inn, Dutch Houses and Kings Buildings. On January 13, 2002,
Chester was granted Fairtrade City status.

Place Of Interest

In a big Victorian building opposite the Roman amphitheater, is the
largest uncovered amphitheater in Britain. The center has a gift shop
and a licensed restaurant serving meals and snacks. Admission is free.
In the center of town much-photographed Eastgate clock is situated.
Another interesting activity is to climb the nearby stairs and walk
along the top of the city wall for a view down on Chester – Passing
through centuries of English history, the River Dee, formerly a major
trade artery, and many 18th-century buildings. The wall also goes past
some Roman ruins, and it's possible to leave the walkway to explore
them. The walk is charming and free.
Eastgate Street is now a pedestrian way and musicians often perform for
pleasure beside St. Peter's Church and the Town Cross.
The Rows are double-decker layers of shops, one tier on the street
level, the others stacked on top and connected by a footway. The upper
tier is like a continuous galleried balcony.

Museums & Art Galleries

Grosvenor Museum, Cheshire Military Museum, Ellesmere Port Boat Museum
Hack Green (Secret) Nuclear Bunker, Moldsworth Motor Museum are the
main museums to visit in Chester. The city has two cinemas and a
theater, the Gateway Theater, and in the summer the city hosts the
annual Chester Music Festival, the Chester Midsummer Watch Parade and
the Chester Mystery Plays, the latter of which dates from medieval
times.

Shopping

The city Chester is a popular shopping center, with its unique 'Rows'
or galleries (basically two levels of shops) which date from medieval
times. The city is heavily populated by chain stores both in the center
and on retail parks to the west, and also features two indoor shopping
centers, an indoor market and a department store, Browns of Chester,
once known as 'the Harrods of the North', now absorbed by the Debenhams
chain. There are two main indoor shopping centers, The Grosvenor Mall
and the Forum. The latter refers to the city's Roman past, and is to be
demolished in the Northgate Development to make way for new shopping
streets, a new indoor market, a new library and a performing arts
center.

Food & Drink

Chester has wide variety of eating establishments, covering a whole
range of culinary areas. There are many national restaurant chains and
a wealth of high quality local restaurants. The Bell Pepper, Fat Cat
Café, Praslin, Chez Jules and Bella Pasta are some famous
restaurants providing foods from different cuisine. Numerous pubs
populate the city, some of which are medieval, as do wine bars at
night, and Chester also has five night-clubs.

Education

Like any major town and city Chester has a wide range of educational
facilities for every age group. University College Chester and West
Cheshire College are the place for higher education. The Hammond School
of Dance and Education is the institution that combines dance and drama
tuition with normal educational studies.

Sports

The city has a football team, Chester City FC, who play in the Deva
Stadium and a national basketball team, the Chester Jets, who play in
the city's Northgate Arena leisure center.

Hotels & Accommodation

Being a city that attracts thousands of tourists and business people
every month, there has to be a large number of hotels in Chester. Chester Grosvenor, De
Veer Carden Park, Grosvenor Pulford Hotel, Mill Hotel, The Queen Hotel
– these are some prime hotels with star rating in Chester. Beside all
these hotels Chester hosts a number of lodges, youth hostels and budget
hotels. Among them Alton Lodge Hotel, Dene Hotel, Green Bough Hotel, Ba
Ba Guesthouse, Bowman Lodge, Chester Youth Hostel are some to mention
about. Comfort Inn Chester, Holiday Inn Chester South, Holiday Inn
Ellesmere Port, Moat House Chester are some of the famous hotel chains in Chester.

Tours and Sightseeing

Chester has a few organized tour operator and car rental agencies.
Organized tours include all the main tourist attractions. Different
group or individual tour are arranged by different tour operators –
some tours consist of Guided Walking Tours. Specialized tours are
conducted by the government tourist authority in the following
languages: French, Italian, Spanish, German, Japanese, Cantonese,
Mandarin, Shanghai, Romanian, Russian, and Dutch.

Transport

Chester Airport known as Hawarden Airport
is the only way to reach Chester by air. It's well connected with all
the cities in UK and Europe. Chester has a railway station to the North
East of the city center, designed by Francis Thompson with an
impressive Italianate frontage dating from 1848. Trains go from here
along the North Wales Coast Line, as well as to London Euston,
Liverpool, Crewe, Manchester, Wrexham and Shrewsbury. Bus transport in
the city is provided by the council owned and operated Chester Bus.
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Chester had an extensive
tram network from Saltney in the west at the Welsh border to Chester
General station in the North West.

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How to Predict the Outcome of a Soccer Match

There are some people who are very good at predicting the outcome of sporting events. Professional gamblers can do it and can make a good living from it. Team managers to some extent need to do this in order to plan a team’s season, knowing which games to focus on and which ones to leave more to hope. Some sports journalists also have the knack of getting it right more often than not. To some it may seem like guess work or going on gut feeling but there is a science to sport and if you know what factors are important you too can be successful at predicting match results.

League position

The first and most obvious thing to look at when deciding who’s most likely to win a game is the relative position of the teams in the league table. If there are a number of places separating the two teams then the higher team is most often going to win and if the teams are close together then a draw is the probable result. You can do this by rule of thumb or it is possible to be more methodical by going back through the records and quantifying just how much of an advantage the league position is. Over the last five years in the English Premier League for example, when the two teams are within 6 places a draw is on average the most likely result. Different leagues will vary depending on how competitive they are and it will also vary at different points in the season. League position is less effective a predictor at the start of the season when there aren’t enough results to make a reliable prediction; and also at the end of the season when teams (particularly the more successful ones) are tired!

Home or away

The next most important factor to consider is whether a team is playing at home or away. In some leagues away victories are relatively rare. The main reason for this is the influence of the crowd. For teams that have a long way to travel and few supporting fans the opposition stadium can be a hostile environment. Also (although of course it shouldn’t happen) the crowd can have an influence on the referee. Refereeing is full of marginal decisions, and the presence of a large crowd of jeering supporters can effect the referee’s judgement. This effect of ‘home bias’ by referees has been scientifically tested by analyzing match videos, and has been shown to be a genuine phenomena – not just a frustration in the minds of the disappointed away fans! Because of this home advantage teams will often have two configurations: one for home and one for away. Away teams will often be more cautious and play a defensive mid-fielder in place of one of the strikers, making an away victory even less likely. It’s easy to quantify the home advantage in a league by adding up all the home wins over a season and comparing it with the number of away wins. The ratio is typically around 2 to 1 in favor of the home team.

Who’s playing?

A key decider is the team announcement. When the line up of the teams is announced, usually twenty minutes before kick-off, this gives a big indication of how the game will go. The team sheet will tell you two things: firstly whether the manager is playing his best team (e.g. are there players out through injury? Or is he saving players for a more important match?). Secondly it will tell you the likely formations. If a team has no recognized striker then they are probably going to be playing a more defensive formation. However, if there are a number of strikers on the substitutes’ bench then it is likely the coach will be putting them on the pitch at a later stage in the game and thus is not settling for a draw. Also look out for players just coming back from injury. Such a player may have a good first game but performances may then dip as fitness becomes an issue. Typically it takes 5 games for a player to get back to full match fitness.

Who’s on a roll?

As with many sports, confidence is a huge factor. Teams can get into cycles where bad results leads to bad confidence which in turn leads to worse performances. The same is true when a team’s confidence spirals upwards. It is for this reason that teams tend to go through good and bad patches. When a team is on a winning streak there is a strong likelihood they will continue winning, even against better teams. Look out for runs in a team’s recent matches: e.g. how many games have they gone without a victory? Although they won’t often admit it players are acutely aware of these statistics and it does play on their minds. Other runs to look out for are:

  • Games without scoring a goal
  • Number of clean sheets (no goals against)
  • Consecutive away wins
  • Number of games unbeaten
  • Number of games played

This last point is an important one. Tiredness is an important factor in determining a team’s chances of winning. A player should normally be able to play 2 games a week but this is hard to sustain over a number of months, especially if there is a lot of traveling and the games are very competitive. A team that has not played for 7 days has a significant advantage over one which has played in the last 3 or 4 days.

Derbies and rivalries

Some matches have a special significance for supporters and players alike. Derby games, where the two teams are local to each other, can throw up unexpected results. Part of the reason for this is that the away supporters don’t have far to travel and so can be in the stadium in equal numbers to the home fans. This can create an unusually vibrant atmosphere which can make players more nervous and accident prone. The intense rivalry between such teams can produce special performances from some teams. This all makes it hard to predict the outcome of such games. There can be other team rivalries that one should also be aware of: for instance teams that have a history of victories over one another in important competitions; and teams that have an equal number of trophies.