There is no doubt that a divorce can be one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. Going from married to single is a huge life change—not just emotionally, but financially as well. A family becomes two, which means two separate households. If the household while the couple was married was a one-income household, then the stay-at-home spouse must now work in order to pay the bills. This can be a challenge for a parent of young children.
While divorce can offer freedom and happiness outside of a miserable marriage, finances are something to consider. You will likely have to make some adjustments, especially if you have not worked in a long time. You may need to go back to school to update your skills. You may have to change your work schedule from part-time to full-time to make ends meet. You may have to look into daycare and budgeting.
Even though more and more women are taking on the role of working mother (or working spouse), women are still hit harder than men financially in a divorce. This is primarily because, while there is more equality in the workplace than there used to be, women still only make 82 cents for every dollar that men earn. On the bright side, married women make 20% more than women of other marital statuses, so if you worked during your marriage, you will be a little better off in a divorce.
Another thing to consider is that in most marriages, women do not handle the finances. That is traditionally the man’s job. When a woman becomes divorced, she has to take on this task in her new household, and this can be daunting.
However, managing finances after divorce is not impossible. Most women get the hang of it over time. Some even go on to lead more financially secure lives after a divorce. Financial freedom is possible. Here are some tips to help you accomplish this goal after ending a marriage.
A Fresh Financial Start After Divorce
Ready for a fresh start? Follow these tips to help you achieve financial freedom.
- Do an inventory. Do you have any idea how much you make per month versus how much you spend? You will get a better idea once you take an inventory of all your income and expenditures on a monthly basis. You will also want to add in financial goals, such as paying for a child’s college tuition or buying a new car.
- Increase your income. Even if you receive child support and alimony from your ex, you will need to step it up in your career. These types of support will not last forever. You need to do whatever you can to make more money, whether that means finding a better job, working more hours, going back to school, or taking on a second job. Even if you are earning enough to pay the bills, you need to be able to sock away some cash in a savings account, as well.
- Create a budget. Now that you are living on your own and solely responsible for all your bills, you might find that you will need to cut back on expenses. You may no longer be able to afford a daily coffee from Starbucks. You might not be able to eat out as much or go to the movies every week. You have to make sure that necessary expenses are being paid and you will have to eliminate unnecessary items for now, as hard as it might be.
- Update your long-term goals. A divorce can put a wrench in your future plans. Think you can still retire in 10 years? Think again. Your income will not last as long after a divorce. You may need to delay retirement and put off certain expenses, such as vacations, cars, and electronics. Find ways to make do with what you have for now so you can continue to save more money.
- Look for financial assistance. As a divorced woman with a low income, you may qualify for certain government and community programs. There is no shame in this. Your main goal after a divorce is to ensure you and your children are well-cared for. Your children may now qualify for free or reduced cost school lunches. You may qualify for cheap healthcare benefits. At this point, you should take what you get to eliminate paying more than necessary. You are not the only person to use these benefit and you will not be the last.
- Start right away. Do not wait five or 10 years after your divorce to start doing something about your financial situation. As soon you make the decision to divorce, you need to make a plan to figure out how you will live and pay the bills once you are on your own. You will not be able to depend on anyone else to help you, so start thinking about jobs, savings accounts, and debt repayment.
Exploring Your Options
While divorces are emotional in nature, they can also hit the wallet pretty hard. Not many people benefit financially from a divorce. Many struggle to maintain the same standard of living they enjoyed in the marriage.
It is possible to become financially successful after a divorce, but it takes a lot of hard work and it can take time. Going from one house to two residences after a divorce takes much more money. It helps to have a plan to save and budget after a divorce.
If you are considering divorce, contact Palm Beach divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler today. He can help you understand your financial situation as you end your marriage and start a new life on your own. Schedule a consultation by calling (954) 346-6464.