Staying Positive When Living in the Negative
Waking Up Divorce Poor
It’s not just the fact that in America we spend and waste $28 billion a year on divorce (we do also spend $39 billion on ice cream… but that tastes a lot better), it’s what we wake up to. At the end of WWI the victors woke up to crippling debt and the decline of European power. It is not until the divorce is final and the final bill is received that you realize that no one really won. If you are reading this now and you are contemplating divorce or are in the middle, one of the most important pieces of advice that you will hear (but will probably not listen to), is that there are no financial winners in divorce, and there is a real financial cost when you get past the emotions. Yes, you may be happier and in a better place, but the cost and effect on your investment and savings will never catch up to what was and what could have been.
Five Tips to Heal Your Finances –
- Consolidate debt as much as possible to low interest accounts. Get a hold of this sooner rather than later and pay it off!
- Spend Less – Sounds like a Duh! but I have a lot of friends who following divorce believe they should live life like a rock star to prove something to themselves, their ex, or those around them. Going on a date? A picnic with wine is a lot cheaper than a 5 star restaurant with champagne. That new Corvette also makes you look more divorced…
- Live within your means – Change is hard, especially if from two incomes to one, or rejoining the workforce following divorce. Day one.. SET A BUDGET AND KEEP TO IT! I’m personally terrible at this, but at least I know it… This is nothing more complicated than using a paper and pencil. Start with your after tax earnings, and make a list of all fixed costs, bills, and debts that you have to pay monthly. Then look at your variable. Do you really need HBO? (of course yes when Game of Thrones is on… but you can at least save for a year now!)
- Invest in your passions and yourself – There is no better investment than in yourself (no not tanning and a new nose…) and your education and health. Can’t afford a gym membership? Then get out and run or walk. Need a degree for that next step at work? Online classes or community colleges offer some very inexpensive options.
- Move On – Bitterness and anger towards your ex or the situations surrounding it only hurts you. You have to let go, look forward, and set your course for your future.
Stop the Bleeding
Looking back, with all the emotions flying, my thoughts were only of the present, what I thought at the time was “winning,” and not the future. At the time, “winning” seemed a lot more like surviving and trying to work out what happened. At the time I really paid little attention to my exorbitant legal fees and that in the end I also paid for my ex’s. The real cost was pension plans, dream travel and adventures, and college tuition. In hindsight, the destination would have been the same, but I would have made it a much shorter journey. Stuff is just stuff, but the future is always coming.
Keeping it simple, Keeping it cheery,
With the love of PB & J Sandwiches and Savings,