Divorce is unsettling for many reasons, but financial worries are at or near the top of the list. Too many people might stay or be tempted to stay in unfulfilling – at best – or toxic marriages for fear of the financial fallout of going it alone.
If you’re the partner who let your spouse handle all the money matters, divorce – and the financial independence that goes with it – can be especially scary.
It can be hard to make it on one income after you’re used to being half of a dual-income partnership. Or if you’ve been a stay-at-home parent and suddenly find yourself having to go back into the workforce, that’s a challenge, too. But neither of those scenarios is insurmountable. You just need to know a few things, and financial independence will be yours to celebrate.
1. Make a new budget
Get a good grasp on what your monthly financial picture looks like. What do you have coming in? What do you need to pay out? If your new financial reality shows more expenses than income, determine where you can cut back.
2. Figure out what you can let go of
Maybe you don’t need the country club membership. Some clubs will allow you to put your membership on hold temporarily. You won’t get to use the golf course or the swimming pool, but you won’t be paying pricey monthly dues, either. A country club membership is an obvious “nice to have” you may be able to let go of – at least for a time.
You may decide you don’t need to send the kids to $50,000-per-year private school. While this is an option for people with good public schools in their area, it’s admittedly not for everyone. If private school is a must for your children, consider talking to the school’s financial aid office about a payment plan until you’re back on your feet. Or a scholarship might be an option.
If you’re funding a child’s college education, look into financial aid. Or consider talking to your child about a work/study program or getting a student loan.
Other things you may be able to let go of: the expensive mortgage. (Consider downsizing.) Fancy (and expensive) vacations. Instead, a staycation where you become a tourist in your own town is one alternative. A series of day trips to interesting attractions near your home may not be Disney World, but it can be enlightening, fun … and budget-friendly.
3. Acknowledge that divorce, even an amicable one, stinks
Give yourself time to grieve the loss of your …….