How do I design my new life?

When you first split up from a long-term partner, it can be difficult to see the positives. However, as you begin to sort out the practicalities, you will find yourself able to move on with your life. Hopefully you will start to fall into a new routine with work, with your children and with your spare time. But what if you don’t just want to drift? How do you go about designing your new life?

Be selfish

A lot of us find this tricky. We are brought up to think of others and have probably been considering our spouse or partner’s needs while we were together. You now have the opportunity to think about what you want from your life without that. If you have children, their needs and desires will come into it, but you can begin to think about the memories that you want to make with and for them, as well as yourself.

Where to start

What things do you want to do, see and achieve? I would always begin with writing them down.

From experience, I believe that most people have a desire to travel. It may be worldwide, continent wide or countrywide. You may want to live abroad, have a bolt hole elsewhere or want to visit as many places as possible. One of my friends started with a list of places. When she goes to one of them, she crosses it off the list and adds a replacement.

If you don’t have the travel bug, you may wish to learn a new skill, such as playing an instrument, speaking a language or improving your IT skills.

I don’t have the money for my new life

I believe that the biggest issue that gets in the way of designing your new life is the financial implication and after that, probably time.

Let’s look at the monetary problem. After separation or divorce, the incomes of two people financially supporting one household now need to provide for two. It feels difficult to manage your budget without adding anything new to it. You may need to prioritise and compromise, at least to begin with. You could start with small wins, such as shopping around for insurances, utilities and seeing where you can cut unnecessary spending. Jason Butler’s book “Money Moments” can help with techniques for this.

I believe that 12 months in to the separation, things will begin to feel easier. In the meantime, try to tick off some of the lower cost things on your list. Travel to places locally that you would like to explore, learn something new by researching on the internet or exchange skills with people you know.

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Tamsin Caine is a Chartered Financial Planner at Smart Divorce. She specialises in working with separating or divorcing clients to help them to understand how to divide their finances to move forward with their lives. If you would like to speak to Tamsin or find out more about how she can help, email her at time or telephone 07975 922766 during office hours.

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