Breaking Up Is Hard To Do – At Work and At Home

One of the few things harder than staying in a bad relationship… is ending one. Whether it’s a business relationship or a personal one, it’s never easy to move on in a different direction, regardless of which side you might find yourself in the aftermath of a breakup.

No one begins a relationship of any kind with the anticipation that it will end.

There are as many reasons that relationships end, as there are stars in the sky. Every day, my team and I hear stories of good relationships gone bad and it’s been our experience that there are quite a few things that you can actually do to make the most of this difficult situation.

We hear about the reasons behind breakups all the time…from a wife who might describe the demise of her marriage by saying, “we just grew apart” to a disgruntled employee who left his company because “they didn’t appreciate the things that I did.”

While business and personal relationships are very different, there are several common things that you can do if you ever find yourself in the midst of a transition of any kind.

Keep a Clear Head

Change is always difficult and it’s easy to get off-kilter. Whether you’ve changed jobs or had a spouse move out, it’s imperative that you give yourself time to catch your breath and get your bearings. Though you won’t have to feel like you’re being selfish for very long, you have to keep the following mantra in mind (courtesy of our friends, the airline attendants):

“In the event of an emergency, please secure your mask before assisting other passengers.”

 No matter how it may feel, it’s actually rare that any decision has to be made immediately. Remember that during the early days of a transition, you must take care of yourself emotionally.

 Know your numbers

When you enter a transition, it’s important that you assess your financial situation. For a business owner who loses a key employee unexpectedly, it’s important to determine the amount of productivity lost and to begin planning on how to replace that productivity. For someone who enters into a personal separation, it’s important to know your income and your outflow. Most people don’t love to budget (there’s a reason why financial stress is the leading cause of relationship problems amongst adults) but unless you’re independently wealthy enough for the both of you…

Financial stress is a fact of life in your –new- life.

 There’s almost always someone caught in the middle – pay as much attention to them as you do to yourself.

 In any type of split of a long-term relationship, there are always other people who are affected. Whether they’re your children or your customers, it’s important to realize…

Your decisions create changes for other people.

If you’re a parent and your primary focus is not your children, then you’re being foolish. If you’re in business and you don’t spend more time focusing on your customers rather than your former employer or employee, you won’t have those customers for very long!

Don’t win the battle and lose the war.

Determine what the “high ground” is for you and when you’re involved in any negotiations, get to your high ground quickly. Allowing your transition to last too long is detrimental to your health, your business and your family… don’t do it! It’s common for egos to get involved when two parties part ways. While it’s human nature to want to win, I’d suggest that…

It’s better for everyone to find a way to “not lose” to some extent… and to do it quickly, rather than to concentrate on “winning.”

Focus on the next chapter.

After assessing your situation, decide what you want your life to look like going forward. If you’re a business owner who has lost a key employee, this is a time to reevaluate job roles and responsibilities and if you’re a displaced employee, this is a time to decide on whether or not you want to remain in the same industry or pursue something that might suit you better. For folks dealing with personal breakups, use this time to evaluate your priorities and to chart a new course. While it’s often scary, there’s also plenty of opportunity for excitement when thinking about aligning your money with your life. For some people, the unexpected opportunity represents the first time in their lives where someone isn’t telling them how to spend their own money!

You can’t sail into the future with an anchor in the past.

Build a recovery team.

When you’re dealing with a transition, it’s important to have a group of trusted advisors. I’d suggest that you consider engaging both a family physician and a licensed counselor. On a personal level, these professionals make sure that you protect your most valuable assets : your mental and physical health. From a financial perspective, you’ll want to partner with a financial advisor, an estate planning attorney, an accountant and an insurance agent (preferably professionals who can coordinate with one another.)

A financial advisor can help plan your financial future with confidence and coordinate with other professionals to ensure that you execute all the phases of your plan.


***Any opinions are those of Chip Munn and not necessarily those of Raymond James


About Chip Munn

Managing Partner, SWS Senior Wealth Advisor, RJFS Chip is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Clemson University, where he earned a degree in education and was selected as an Academic All American by USA Today. He began his career in finance as a financial consultant with Wheat First Union in 1998. He specializes in retirement and education planning and the transfer of wealth among generations. Chip lives in Florence with his family. Follow Chip on LinkedIn.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.