From DINK to SINK: Updating Your Financial Plan Now That You’re Single

Sep 26 / Corrinne McKenna, MBA, CFP®

Divorce or separation from a partner are the most stress inducing life events a person can experience outside of the death of a spouse. The stress created by separation is no less for Dual Income, No Kids (DINK) couples. If you’re just beginning the shift to a Single Income, No Kids (SINK) lifestyle, it may be challenging to know how to respond to all the changes in your life, let alone your finances. The uplifting news is that your breakup can provide you with an opportunity for growth and learning. It will also allow you to redefine your financial goals entirely on your terms.

While it may seem daunting to tackle everything before you as you detangle your finances from your partner, it can be managed well if you silo the tasks and reach out for help when needed. Breaking the tasks into three manageable sections can help in moments of overwhelm. Moving through one section at a time allows you to slowly redesign your financial picture.

1. Get organized

The very first section creates space to get organized and includes reviewing all your accounts (joint and independent) to understand what your assets and liabilities are. This will be the time when you discuss how to divide joint assets and liabilities. This section also involves adjusting your insurance coverages and beneficiaries and updating your estate planning documents. A great way to get organized is to create an “everything” binder book where you collect the details of your financial accounts, insurance coverages, legal documents, and more. Simply getting organized can create a significant reduction to your feelings of overwhelm. Give this section some time and resist the urge to rush through it. Allowing yourself to get truly organized will give you the information you need to make the remaining sections easier.

2. Update your budget

Once you’ve taken the time to get organized, the next section of tasks will help you update your budget. This section includes reviewing your cashflow under a single income, inventorying your personal expenses into musts, shoulds, coulds and won’ts, making updates to your forced budget, and determining how much cash is left over for your goals. During this section, give yourself time to actually make the changes to your budget. Cancel the expenses you no longer want (ex., subscriptions you don’t even use), and establish the expenses you do want (ex., that monthly writer’s workshop you always wanted to attend!)

3. Revisit your goals

The final section of tasks involves revisiting your goals. This section can be both exciting and intimidating. When living a DINK lifestyle, you worked with your partner on the same set of goals. Now, you have the freedom to consider goals based solely on what you desire for your life. At this point, you will have a reliable figure for how much cash is available to direct toward your goals. So, ask yourself, how would you like to use it? Consider things like what financial independence and retirement mean to you, what brings you joy, and .

While the shift from DINK to SINK can feel daunting at the beginning, breaking down the necessary tasks into manageable sections will help you transition to a place that allows you to pursue your goals with confidence. If you need help, schedule a meeting with a Childfree Wealth Specialist® here.