Recovering from a divorce always entails a mixture of emotions and ups and downs. In addition to the emotional roller coaster comes the financial fear that at times seems to paralyze people. It’s simple math. . . 2 incomes are better than one income, and if you were married, but didn’t work outside of the home, you’ve gone from one income, to no income. I know that reality can be quite scary and overwhelming. I know because I was there myself and that is why I am here to tell you that this financial burden and fear you may experience right now is not the end all, and be all.
Yes, it’s scary and it sucks, but it is not what your life will be like in a year from now (or maybe even less), and there is a ton of potential to make changes that can turn your challenges into incredible blessings.
Here are some suggestions of things I think you should start with:.
- Change your Money Mindset: Try to NOT think about money as a bad thing (debt, bills, collections, etc). Instead see it as an opportunity and a tool for which you will be the master of. When you stop worrying about money, and start focusing on how you will increase your quality of life, and take control of your life, you will shift your energy from scarcity to abundance and that is the first step to attaining financial freedom.
- Don’t live beyond your means. Yes, you might come from a 5000 square foot home, or the most luxurious condo in your city, but it’s time to face reality. Don’t sign up for anything you can’t comfortably afford. Take a step back and reevaluate what your priorities are. When I was marriage I lived in a beautiful condo that I realistically couldn’t afford after my divorce. I moved onto my parents two family home and created a beautiful cozy home for my daughter and myself. It served us amazingly well and we have some of the best memories of those years. If things are really challenging for your right now consider living with a friend or relative is an option! It’s only temporary (assuming you make the other changes that I am listing in this post). Save where you can, don’t overindulge and be mindful of things you need vs. what you want.
- Save automatically. There are several ways to save automatically, but one of the best ways is to put a small percentage of your earnings into a savings account. Once funds are in savings, forget about them! If you have to open a whole new bank account to prevent yourself from being tempted, do that. If you can’t see it every time you login to your online banking, you’re less likely to spend it. If you ever do spend it, I can assure you, you will regret it.
- Have a Plan: Know how much money you ideally need to live comfortably. Then ask yourself how are you going to make that income? What resources do you have to accomplish that plan? How fast could you make that plan a reality? I get that these are all very broad and open ended questions, but they are only for you to answer. Here is a great tool you can download for FREE to help you get clarity on your expenses https://pearlflaxfinancialfreedom.gr8.com/ (the best part is that I programmed the sheet to do all the math for you :)!
- Check your Credit: One thing you don’t want to do is let months go by and you realize that your credit is now shot because you had debts you either didn’t know about, or had forgotten about because your spouse handled paying the bills. As soon as you can, check your credit. Know how much debt you have, who is owed and ensure that managing any personal debt is part of your budget and your plan. If you find that you are in more debt than you can afford, make the right calls with the debtors and let them know you are having some difficulty. As long as you communicate with them, they will find a way to work with you. It’s when you ignore them that gets you nowhere and only damages your credit.
I know that you might be in a place where your financial challenges might feel paralyzing, but instead of allowing them to drain and control you, use them to motivate and challenge yourself to think creatively and tap into your resilience. Follow these manageable steps and a year from now (maybe sooner), you will look back and appreciate how you got to where you are. I know the struggle is real, very real, and I had days I didn’t know how to feed my child, but I never gave up and I knew I could be more and do more. YOU ARE MADE of so much more and you will rise above this! I did and SO CAN YOU!