Divorce for Female Entrepreneur

5 Causes of Divorce for Female Entrepreneurs & How to Save Your Marriage

Divorce for Female Entrepreneur

 

The life of an entrepreneur is an exciting one. Female entrepreneurs learn to be tech-savvy, hone interpersonal skills, and manage money as they build their business. But there is one downside to the entrepreneurial life that is all too common for married businesswomen. Getting a divorce!

Building an empire (even if only from your living room) is fantastic, but your spouse may not always feel that way. Statistics show that for every 1000 US women, 16 will end up divorced each year. These are not great odds for those looking to marry their forever person.

So, what about a strong female pursuing her professional dreams? Does her professional aspiration put her marriage in jeopardy? These are the 5 most common causes of divorce in entrepreneurs and 3 steps to take to make sure your marriage stays strong and healthy as you follow your dreams.

5 Causes of Divorce for Female Entrepreneurs

1. Not Enough Quality Time Together

Women entrepreneurs are passionate and feisty so it’s no surprise that they put their whole being into building their businesses. But sometimes this passion comes at the cost of their marriage.

Research indicates that couples need a 3:1 ratio of happiness to succeed in marriage. And when are couples most happy? Studies say it’s when they are spending quality time together. In fact, survey results revealed that couples experience a boost in happiness and a decrease in stress when they are spending alone time together.

When you are putting all of your strength and energy into your business, there’s little left at the end of the day for your spouse. Not spending quality time together can be a real relationship killer.

2. Added Stress

As wonderful and exciting as marriage is, it can also be an incredibly stressful experience at times. In-laws, maintaining a romantic connection while raising a family, buying a house, and other ins and outs of your daily routine can sometimes feel overwhelming.

Now, on top of all of these normal aspects of marriage, throw running your own business into the mix and you’re in for some stressful times ahead.

When couples don’t form a strong partnership as a unit, this stress can drag the relationship down.

3. Financial Worries

One study surveyed 748 instances of conflict between 100 different couples and found that money was the most repetitive and salient topic they argued about.

This survey highlights how tricky the topic of money can be in a marriage. Especially if you don’t have enough of it. Research shows that low-income couples are more likely to be affected by stress and mental health issues than other couples.

Starting your own business is certainly an adventure, but it’s also a big risk. Working for yourself, especially if you are just starting out, means that you won’t have a steady income for quite some time. You may not even be able to take a paycheck for several years.

Not only does this put a strain on your household finances, but it may also force your spouse to become the breadwinner of the family. They can cause resentment and anxiety to form within the marriage.

4. Not Leaving Work at the Door

One of the biggest problems for both men and women entrepreneurs is the inability to create a work-life balance.

Because you work for yourself, there is no way to “clock out” of your job. Getting back to work after a long day is as simple as picking up your smartphone and answering emails. This behavior is great for your business and bad for your marriage.

In a survey of 308 adults, 46.3% admitted to feeling ignored when their partner is on their smart device. This “phone snubbing/phubbing” practice has been shown to lower relationship satisfaction.

Furthermore, studies show that spending too much time on your smart device and social media can threaten real-life communication, even with family and close loved ones.

5. Lack of Stability

Research shows that 90% of startups will fail. This is a frightening fact for most entrepreneurs, not to mention their spouses.

When most people get married, they expect a certain standard of living. That isn’t to say they expect to sleep on a bed of hundred-dollar bills, but they want to come home to a loving spouse, perhaps buy a home or start a family together.

But when married to an entrepreneur, there is no stability. There are no set hours for work, no guarantee that they will be there to support the household or engage in family life.

What a Marriage Needs to be Successful for Female Entrepreneurs

There is no such thing as a perfect marriage. All couples are bound to go through some lulls throughout their relationship, but this doesn’t mean your love is destined for divorce.

Here are 3 key tips for keeping your marriage alive as a female entrepreneur.

1. Open Communication

In a survey of 886 troubled couples, 53% admitted a lack of communication as one of the most common reasons for filing for divorce.

This statistic highlights the importance of talking openly and honestly with your spouse.

Communication is the basis of every strong relationship. Not only does communication help couples get to know one another better, but it also helps partners avoid miscommunications and grow closer.

If you are going through a stressful time trying to get your business off the ground, don’t shut your partner out. Talk to them about what you’re going through. This will help them understand your emotions and behavior. When your spouse knows what’s going on in your life both emotionally and otherwise, it also gives them an opportunity to show you their love and support.

2. Putting the Marriage First

For women entrepreneurs, their business is their baby. They would do anything to care for it and ensure its success in the world.

Many times this passion and drive to put the business first causes entrepreneurs to put their spouse on the backburner.

Not being a priority can make a spouse feel hurt, betrayed, and neglected. This can lead to serious relationship problems.

Don’t let your business come before your spouse. Or at the very least, make sure they are on equal footing.

3. Quality Time Together

Having a regular date night will strengthen your marriage for years to come. Research conducted by the National Marriage Project found that there are both emotional and physical benefits to spending quality time with your spouse on a regular basis.

The research results showed that couples who practice date night one or more times a month experience more eros in their relationship. Eros refers to the romantic love that we often feel during the beginning stages of a new relationship that creates excitement, overwhelming attraction, and passion for each other.

A regular date night also strengthens commitment and reduces stress in a marriage. The study goes on to say that couples will also experience an increase in sexual satisfaction and that “spouses who experience high levels of couple time are significantly less likely to report that they are prone to divorce.”

Women entrepreneurs put their heart and soul into building their businesses. This is great for your professional life, but don’t let it be a drain on your marriage. Make time for your spouse, learn to create a work-life balance, and communicate openly. These keys will help you avoid the curse of entrepreneurs – divorce.

The post 5 Causes of Divorce for Female Entrepreneurs & How to Save Your Marriage appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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financial advice for new single mothers

9 Pieces of Important Financial Advice For New Single Mothers

financial advice for new single mothers

 

Life is different now. You have recently been through a divorce and are now the single head of a household, which is a huge personal – and financial – responsibility. While you may still be doing many of the same things as before, you now are 100 percent responsible. There is no one to share the myriad responsibilities and decision-making.

This may be all new to you. It is also likely that you are still riding an emotional rollercoaster. Now is a good time to step back and take a deep breath. While many financial challenges lie ahead, understand that you can do this.

Financial Advice For New Single Mothers

What do single mothers have to do differently financially? To achieve financial success, newly single mothers should heed the following advice.

Just say no to credit card debt

Don’t live beyond your means and rack up high-interest credit card debt. This is one of the worst debts to have due to high-interest rates. Credit card debt should be paid off first when prioritizing bills.

Prioritize what is most important.

Take a moment (or longer) to assess your new financial life. Your family needs you to clearly understand how you can make everything work, without sacrificing too many of “the good times.” Review your lifestyle and analyze what changes and/or adaptations need to be made. Prioritize and differentiate between your needs and wants, and those of your family. Make notes. Create lists. Write things down.

Ultimately, let this “prioritization” process guide your budget. Focus on just a few practical lifestyle/financial priorities and learn to make concessions with others.

Get real with what you can afford.

Create a realistic budget. Track your spending over a specific time to see where your money goes. The goal is not to set up an austerity program that is so severe that everyone is unhappy; rather you just need to accurately understand your spending habits so you can manage and track your flow of money in an honest manner. For example, if yoga makes you happy and less stressed overall, look a reasonably-priced studio in your area or do an at-home workout.

Not spending money on yourself (within reason) can be detrimental in the long run. It is fine to put some of the focus on you. Every mom has been told that she needs to take care of herself first, so she has the energy and resources to take care of others. This applies to finances too.

Don’t try to keep up with everyone else.

Even if your lifestyle had been different previously, now is not the time to try to keep up with your neighbors and friends. As we said earlier, your life is different now. The financial decisions you make going forward will be based on a different set of circumstances.

For example, prioritize making mortgage payments and saving for (or taking) one annual family vacation, rather than putting yourself into debt to drive a more expensive car.  Even if it seems that’s what everyone else is doing, prioritizing driving the Mercedes instead of keeping up with your everyday bills will only hurt you in the long run.

Manage risk smartly.

Having only one income means it is just that much more important to protect. Obtain life and disability insurance to protect you and your family in the event the unforeseen should happen … because it can. Unfortunately, I have worked with clients who depended exclusively on one income and that person became sick and was out of work for several months.

It was both unfortunate and sad. Purchasing a cost-effective disability policy is a prudent way to safeguard against a potential loss of income.

Develop a plan B.

Planning for the future is an important component of ongoing financial awareness. Many people have asked me what is necessary for an estate plan when you have young children. At the very least set up a will. Should something happen to you, you want to have a say in who will care for your kids and where your assets will go. You do not want to be in a situation where the state determines who the guardian of your children should be – what if that is not aligned with your intent? Get it in writing.

A full estate plan is recommended (including health care proxy and power of attorney), but creating a will is a good, productive first step.

Pay yourself first.

With only one income, it may seem harder to save for retirement, especially if you envision having college educations to pay for, but it is critical to do so. Children can receive financial aid, scholarships, and loans to help pay for school, but those alternatives do not exist for retirement. Put away as much as you can into your retirement savings on a pre-tax basis and make sure to contribute at least as much as your employer matches (it’s free money!).

Don’t try to do everything on your own.

Not having a knowledgeable team of resources on your side can be the biggest disservice possible to yourself. A smart parent – especially a single parent – is aware of what they don’t know and asks for help when she needs it. This includes seeking help with your finances. Work with an advisor who places your interests first to help you make sense of the various aspects of your financial life and empower you to become educated on these topics.

Get referrals for accountants, estate planners, etc., from trusted friends or colleagues who you know have been in a similar situation to what you are facing. Building a support system will make managing finances as a single parent much less overwhelming.

Proactive Approach

Taking a realistic, proactive financial approach as a single mother is essential to your well-being and that of your family. Following the advice in this article can help you avoid unnecessary anxiety and keep your financial options open as a single parent.

The post 9 Pieces of Important Financial Advice For New Single Mothers appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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child-centered summer activities

Single Mom Budget: 10 Fun & Inexpensive Child-Centered Summer Activities

child-centered summer activities

 

Growing up in a family of six children, raised by a single mother, vacations were few and far between. I cherish those moments and remember many inexpensive things done near home.

Airplane tickets were out of the question and with six kids, even a small vacation was expensive. My mom was often so busy, angry and exhausted that having a break, just to relax and enjoy time together wasn’t at the front of her mind but I wish it had been.

I want to create fun memories for Hidalgo, broaden his mind, help him become a well-rounded individual. This also means broadening experiences and getting out into the real world. I can’t afford to take him to multiple exotic summer homes but I can do lots of little things.

Here are 10 inexpensive Child-Centered Summer Activities

1.  Tent Camping:

If your only experience of camping is on a crowded campsite with dodgy plumbing this sounds horrible. There is a better kind of camping, in nature. Check the regulations at your nearest state/national forest, borrow or rent some basic equipment if you’re not convinced and try it with your kids. With a car, a map and some basic equipment, you can head to the hills.  Be surrounded by silence, tell stories and roast marshmallows over a campfire, take walks and explore in nature. Kids love it. I love it. Maybe you love it?

2.  Rent a cabin:

I’m a huge fan of state and national parks and forests. The low-cost resources available at them are second to none. Europe does not have the extensive land or preservation system of the U.S. and these are resources that can become a lifetime of vacation memories. If the thought of sleeping on the ground really creeps you out, cabins are very affordable. The rustic nature plus convenience of indoor plumbing get you out of your surroundings and into nature without going fully feral.

3.  Fishing:

Again, this one involves equipment (borrow at first), nature and a car. Don’t forget to the fishing license from your local bait shop (kids are free). I’m a bit of a tomboy and really like the thrill of catching my meal.  My love of it came from those tight money times when my mother crammed us into the car and drove us to the nearest lake to spend the afternoon angling for the big one. To this day, I have no idea if we needed that fish to supplement our meager rations or it was really a vacation. We just liked being outside, all together, focused on the wiggle of the pole and eating the spoils.

4.  Canoeing:

As you see, there is a theme building in terms of nature activities which involve equipment. I lived a few years in the Western part of the U.S. just after graduation when I had the least money but the most energy. I’ve tried many outdoor pursuits…kayaking, rock climbing, backpacking, hiking, fishing because they were cheap and fun. Many state parks and local outfitters rent equipment at reasonable prices. Who knows? You might love it so much you buy your own equipment and find a great new hobby. There are tons of things to do in nature.  Inspire your kids, Inspire yourself.

5.  Amusements:

Amusement parks, zoos, science centers, water parks, aquariums, and natural history museums are all fun and inexpensive activities. I don’t love them all but the little one thinks they are great. The ones in your town or near your town are probably good. Drive an hour and maybe the large city nearby has great options. I find it odd that people will spend lots of money to come all the way to France to see museums and exhibits but have never been to their local attractions. Check your city’s visitor guide. I bet there is stuff you haven’t seen or done yet.

6.  Ride the rails, Ride the ferries:

Depending on where you live, this is either very easy or near impossible. Public transportation is of poor quality in the states compared to Europe but there are places the trains go and if you buy early, they can be economical. Many large bodies of water are traversed by public and private ferry service. Think of a novel form of transport that gets you somewhere new. Kids like new experiences…riding a training even if it’s just a few towns over for a burger might be new to both of you.

7.  Build a fort:

When I was a kid, we were allowed to roam the neighborhood at all hours and discover the edges of our little world. We built kid camps just on the borders where the houses stopped and the ravines and wild places began.  Sadly, many kids don’t have this kind of freedom anymore. But a fort can be built over summer with found objects in your own back yard. Help as necessary for safety but let them do as much as they can on their own. If you’re lucky, they’ll sleep in it and give you some much needed quiet.

8. Join a local recreation center:

Join a local recreational center, like the YMCA, which offers affordable memberships and plenty of programs. My summer days were spent at the local city pool run by the recreation center. A pass purchased for a city-run activity is quite inexpensive.

9. Thank local heroes:

Take a tour of your police or fire station. Since most locations don’t have set visiting hours, call ahead to arrange an appointment. What better lesson for kids to learn than showing respect for and thanking their local heroes.

10. Build an obstacle course:

Build a backyard obstacle course with hula hoops, jump ropes, even a hose, then time the kids. The building and running the course, will teach them creativity and keep them occupied with a fun activity.

Having fun does not have to cost lots of money. I grew up poor but didn’t really know I was until the later years. Times were hard but my mother did the best she could with what she had. We had fun, we did stuff during the summers as a family and we enjoyed it. That’s how I want Hidalgo to remember his childhood.

The post Single Mom Budget: 10 Fun & Inexpensive Child-Centered Summer Activities appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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career ladder

How to Get Back On the Career Ladder after a Divorce

career ladder

 

You may have decided to take a break from your career while you were married because your spouse’s salary was more than enough to support your family. And you probably never imagined that you two would ever split.

However, after years of being a stay-at-home mom looking after the kids and mastering the art of being a “domestic goddess’, you might feel like you’ve lost your corporate mojo and don’t really know where to start getting back into the career saddle.

Getting Back On the Career Ladder after a Divorce

The following guide was designed for divorced women like yourself who want to get back on the career ladder but don’t know where to start. Whether you’re going back to work because you want a fresh start, a new challenge or because you need to in order to support yourself, the following information should be very helpful to your quest.

Take stock of your skills and expertise

Start your journey back to the top by evaluating all the skills and expertise that you have to offer. This includes work experience that you have acquired from previous jobs and any professional qualifications that you may have. Consider the things that you excel at the most as well as tasks that you truly enjoy. This should give you a good idea of the type of profession that you want to explore as you revitalize your career and reinvent your life.

You might find that you still enjoy the career you were in before you got married and are keen to get back into it, or maybe you discovered another aspect of yourself and have fallen out of love with your previous profession. If that’s the case then you can always explore a different role but within the same profession or re-launch your career in a completely different field. Whatever you decide, be sure to keep an open mind and take advantage of the fact that you have a chance to start on a clean slate again.

Learn how to write a resume

Learn how to write a resume by Googling “resume templates”. This will give you an idea of how your own resume should look and how you should format it when you start on the first draft. You can also get in touch with a local recruitment company that will help you to further polish your resume to fit your preferred profession.

Practice for interviews

You’ve been out of the job market for a while so your interview skills are probably rusty, to say the least. Get interview practice by playing pretend with your friends and family. Or even practice in front of the mirror or with your kids to get your confidence back. That way, you’ll be much more comfortable with the process when you eventually start going for interviews.

Network

Start networking by joining a local networking group where you can make contacts, meet like-minded people and perhaps even prospective employers. Networking on a regular basis can also build your confidence so that it’s easier to get out there when the time comes.

Networking also involves contacting past colleagues whom you might find are occupying higher positions than they were when you left your job. If you have a friend or family member that’s in recruitment, don’t hesitate to let them know about your ambition to get back to work. Ask them to keep an ear out for job vacancies in the field of work that you’re interested in to help you get referrals.

Spread the word

Tell the people in your life that you’re looking for work in a particular field. Or take it one step further and tell a stranger! You never know who you’re standing next to in a queue and sometimes an opportunity is just one “hello” away while waiting in a line at Starbucks.

Hire a job coach

A job coach will provide you valuable advice on which jobs you should consider based on your skills, qualifications, and passions. They’ll also offer information related to the jobs that you’re interested in, including the pay, the number of hours involved, and more. This information will help to determine whether or not each option is a good fit for you and ultimately help you to find the perfect position.

Get a makeover

Some women find that revamping their look gives them a confidence boost. Getting a makeover might just be what you need to improve your self-esteem and make you feel more confident about getting yourself out there. This could mean getting a new hairstyle, going for mani-pedis, working out more regularly and even updating your wardrobe by hiring a stylist.

Believe in yourself

The only thing standing between you and career re-launch success is a belief in yourself. There’s no need for you to feel insecure about your abilities just because you’re a little rusty. You were probably amazing at your job before you got married and had kids. There’s no reason why you can’t excel and enjoy professional success again. So believe in yourself and put yourself out there. You won’t get anywhere if you don’t start so, put all the tips we’ve given you to the test and get started!

The post How to Get Back On the Career Ladder after a Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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credit during divorce

10 Tips For Protecting Your Credit During Divorce

credit during divorce

 

Divorce isn’t pleasant for either party. While dealing with the emotions surrounding the divorce, the idea of entering the dating scene again, or starting a new life as a single person, financial issues can seem like an even larger problem to manage.

Don’t let finances be overlooked as you handle the relationship aspects of the divorce. When you separate or divorce your spouse, you need to protect your money and financial future as soon as possible. Here are actionable ways that you can keep your finances and credit intact during the divorce process.

Protecting Your Credit During Divorce

1. Close all joint accounts

If you and your spouse hold joint bank accounts, you’re equally responsible for them, especially any debts. Don’t risk your spouse accumulating more debt or making late payments. Because both of you are named on an account, both of your credit scores will be impacted by actions on the account itself.

2. Call your Creditors

Once your joint accounts have been closed, you should contact any remaining banks, lenders, or credit card companies about the divorce. Many institutions will require a certified letter. When you speak with the creditors, request a current account statement and let them know that you will not be liable for any debts after the date on the certified letter. You should also request the account be set as inactive. This will prevent any new charges from being made. Let them know that once any balances are paid in full that you would like the account to be closed entirely.

3. Request Monthly Statements

For any accounts that are currently outstanding, request that monthly statements be sent directly to you. You should also request this for accounts that are not able to be closed or accounts that will be remaining open. Keep an eye on the accounts and track that payments are being made on time.

4. Make a Decision about Owned Properties

Often after a divorce, women want to stay in the home especially if there are children in the picture. Depending on the housing market where you live, it may or may not be a great decision to keep the marital home. If the market where you live has consistently appreciating value, you may want to continue to build equity in the home. If you can afford to stay in the home and the market it good, you should consider doing so. However, if there is a large amount of debt in the home and you cannot afford it, it is more of a liability than an asset to you.

5. Keep Your Contact Information Up To Date

If you do move following the divorce, be sure that you submit a change of address request with the post office. You’ll want to ensure that your bills, financial statements, and any other important documents are being sent to your new residence. Missing payments on bills because you didn’t change your address is an overlooked way to damage your credit quickly.

6. Don’t Spend Money to Get Revenge

It’s common for people going through a divorce to try and “get revenge” on their ex-spouse by spending huge amounts of money on shopping sprees. This tactic will usually come back to haunt you financially or even in the divorce proceedings. Try to maintain your normal spending habits and get control of any debts that you have. A shopping spree during a divorce will likely be marked by a judge as marital debt and order the individual who did the shopping to be responsible for it.

7. Think before you use your credit cards

If you’re still using credit cards during your divorce, be wise about how you use them. Try to pay all of your credit cards on time, or at least make the minimum payments towards the balance. Don’t max out credit cards if you have large legal bills or other expenses that are divorce-related. A large portion of your credit score is based upon the credit card debt that you have. An individual with a high credit score will have low credit card debt. You’ll want to avoid any of your accounts from going to collections. For more information on removing collections from your credit report, read this blog post from Crediful.

8. Monitor Your Credit Reports

Once your divorce is completely finalized, you should continue to monitor your credit report. Check for any errors that might arise from the time you were married. There are many online options to request a free annual copy of your credit report.

If you believe you may be at risk for identity theft or your ex attempting to open joint accounts after the divorce is finalized, you should also consider utilizing a credit monitoring service, especially if your ex knows your social security number and other personal data.

9. Put a hold on any of your credit files

If you’re concerned about your ex going on his own revenge streak, you should put a hold on your credit accounts or a fraud alert. By doing so, any action that is made on your credit accounts will freeze your credit files and prevent your ex from opening new credit card accounts in your name or using your social security number.

10. Utilize civil court actions if necessary

Even if your ex was ordered to pay specific debts when your divorce was finalized, if they don’t pay you’ll want to pay off those debts or risk damaging your credit. While this doesn’t really seem like a fair situation, you can try and recoup the money by taking your ex to civil court for not following the court order.

After a divorce, both parties typically just want to move on personally and financially. If you can take action as soon as possible, you can mitigate potential credit and debt problems from adding more stress to an already stressful situation.

The post 10 Tips For Protecting Your Credit During Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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financial house in order

How I Got My Financial House In Order After An Unwanted Divorce

financial house in order

 

Tax time. As I dropped by the post office to get the right postage for the thick packet of homework to send to my accountant, I smiled to myself, confident that I had my financial house in order. It brought back memories of all the effort it took to dig a new foundation years ago, after my divorce.

I no longer get weak-kneed and shaky thinking about those months leading to the divorce. The request for a divorce came as a surprise to me. So busy with family and career that I hadn’t been attending to the finer points of our family finances—that was something my trusted husband did.

Evidently, I wasn’t attending to the marriage either.

Rather, I was full throttle busy but confident that it wouldn’t be long before we would have an opportunity to do a reset as a couple once our last child left for college.  My husband was on another page. When the last child was launched, he would also start his new chapter. And, it didn’t include me.

The shock of divorce rattled me, and I don’t rattle easily. In fact, calm is my middle name. My career track steady and upward for the entirety of our marriage, I was now close to the top of my field, responsible for business lines that were valued at tens of millions of dollars. “On the rise” is what people would tell my husband about me at the rare work event of mine that we attended together.

I wonder now if that message didn’t send alarm bells to him—a signal that we were out of sync. After all, he had married a younger woman still in grad school with no prospects, and as he was older, his career was already launched. Perhaps neither of us took stock of what that would mean later.

Silly me, I thought we were happy and about to enter that golden time in a couple’s marriage when the burden of children is lifted, careers are set, and a second honeymoon is around the corner as empty nesters take the time to find one another again.

Some must find divorce a relief after years of strife, or abuse.

I found it confusing, embarrassing and disorienting. It took me months to feel myself again and to assure myself that the kids were ok—or as ok as they could be with their world shaken. But they had new worlds to explore, going off to college was a happy and understood rite of passage.

Divorce at middle-age is not. Although more “gray” adults are divorcing now, it still hurts me when I see a couple that is celebrating their 40 plus wedding anniversary. Surrounded by children and grand-children, toasting one another with loving looks, sometimes sharing a truth about having weathered a storm or two, but toughing it out. Good for them.

Life is hard. So, when you find someone to hang onto, it is a blessing. When you lose that person, it is difficult, regardless of the circumstances. After the initial shock wore off, and I adjusted to the fact that my husband of twenty years plus didn’t want to be married to me anymore, I wanted to get out of the marriage as quickly as possible. During that period of deep hurt, I realized how little I knew about our finances.

Pulling papers together, going through correspondence, talking to bankers, and finally, my own attorney, I was overwhelmed. I needed help. Someone to take charge of my funds—once I settled out— invest them, and work with me on managing them wisely. I also needed a CPA to help me with tax planning, short and long term.

I was startled by what I didn’t know. 

It’s not like I was a princess who had waited for her prince charming to come along and rescue her. I was a smart woman who had navigated to a high-profile career with a great future ahead of me. But I had not paid attention to the essentials of investing for my own future. Why would I? My future was intertwined with my husband’s, and he was looking out for both of us, right?

I felt powerless and knew I had to take control to conquer that fear. And, I did. But it took years, and a small village, to get me to a place that feels comfortable.

How I Got My Financial House In Order

Fortunately, through the referral from a trusted friend, I found a broker who was indispensable when it came time to receiving my settlement monies and guiding me through the decision making on where to make investments. Another friend referred me to her tax accountant who turned out to be heaven-sent. To this day, she has my back and has recently helped me through the intricacies of college savings for my grandchildren.

As I leave the post office, I realize that my comfort now is due to the fact that I educated myself, took advice from trusted friends, and brick by brick learned to build my financial house on solid ground.

My lesson was learned the hard way. Married couples are partners for financial planning and the tasks should not be delegated to one partner only.  Quarterly meetings to review your financials and make adjustments as needed, with both partners conversant and supportive of the financial plan is the best practice. Things happen, and when they do, the last thing you want is to be distracted about is your financial security.

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survive financially as a single mom

3 Ways Single Moms Can Survive Financially

survive financially as a single mom

In the end, there are really only two things to focus on if you want to survive financially as a single mom: decreasing expenses and increasing income. The more you do both of those things, the better off you’ll be.

 

Whether you’ve always managed the household checkbook or this is your first time, the financial struggles of being a single mom can feel overwhelming. Stop, breath, and start with these simple steps to getting your finances under control.

3 Tips For Surviving Financially As a Single Mom

1. Stop incurring new debt.  If you’re in the red hole, the first step is to simply stop digging deeper. It’s just not possible to get out of debt if you keep creating more. It might be easier for a while to just stop using credit cards in order to not incur any new debt. Every day that you don’t add to your debt is another day closer to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. If you find that you can’t get to the end of the month without incurring debt, Step 2 below will help.

2. Budget every dollar. I know, it’s a dirty word to many, but I turned my financial life around when I got serious about budgeting. One of the reasons we find ourselves out of control financially is because we don’t have clarity on what goes in and what goes out. Even if you think you know, you never really do until you track your income and expenses and account for every dollar. Mint is a free app that can help, but I find YNAB to be worth every penny (plus, you get a free month trial to then budget how to pay for the app).

If apps don’t appeal, there’s always pen and paper, an Excel spreadsheet, or even a Word doc to get you started. You can round up to the nearest dollar, but you may be surprised on just where those dollars have been going! It will help you figure out where you really can cut back, and where you can’t. YNAB uses the zero-based budgeting method (this method can be used with or without the program) and the concept is, you can only budget the dollars you have. If you’ve been budgeting by assuming your income and expenses, it will take some adjustment to get used to this new method, but it will be well worth it to get you on a more solid financial footing.

3. Beware the Single Mom Guilt.  I have been there. I have felt so guilty about my marital status that I’ve spent more than I could afford, trying to overcompensate. But after using my tax refund to pay off credit card debt, and then building up debt, and then paying it off, and then doing it again, I finally had enough. And I realized that throwing money at the problem wasn’t really helping.

The more financially stable we became, the less stressed I was. The less stressed I was, the happier my girls were. The happier my girls were, the more we could simply enjoy being together and not have to spend so much money on cable, on outings, on activities they weren’t really enjoying. Instead, my oldest daughter helped out at the dance studio to get a break on tuition.

My youngest daughter shops at Goodwill when she needs new leggings. We come up with solutions together when we hit financial blocks. And if you feel bad for saying, I can’t afford it, try saying, “sorry, that’s not in our budget right now” instead. A small difference, sure, but it takes the focus off the negative part, and reminds both you and your child that you have financial goals.

Of course, personal finance is always personal, and you will have to make some difficult decisions, but try to remember, that’s true for most of us! Divorced or not, kids or not, we all can only work with what we actually have. And you may find that there simply isn’t enough. If things are that tight, you may need to look into increasing your income.

I ended up going back to school once it became clear to me that I was never going to make it on my salary as an Assistant. So I went back to school, got my Paralegal certificate, and got promoted. I took out some student loans and was able to get reimbursed through my employer’s educational assistance program for some of it. Thankfully, my interest rate on my student loan is low, but I am currently throwing any and all “extra” money into paying that off. So far, I’m paid a year ahead.

If going back to school is not an option, consider freelancing. Please do NOT pay for any “work from home” opportunities. But there are things like ride-sharing services, babysitting, and e-commerce sites. I have a friend who has done very well with her Etsy shop!

In the end, there are really only two things to focus on when it comes to managing your money: decreasing expenses and increasing income. The more you do both of those things, the better off you’ll be.

Our family has gone from surviving to thriving, and I can trace it back almost to the day that I was absolutely done with the paycheck-to-paycheck struggle. I am now a month ahead financially, and having that breathing room definitely, helps when we get hit with a new financial problem.

I am out of credit card debt completely, and we even went to New York this spring to see Hamilton, all completely paid for in cash. (I do use credit cards again, but only for the rewards, and I have auto pay set up to pay the balance in full every month so that I don’t pay any interest.)

It’s true that money doesn’t buy happiness. It’s also true that money can’t buy the previous, married, 2-parent household, either.

It’s also our job to teach our children about personal finance. As with everything else, they will learn these lessons by our actions, and not our words. If you want your children to have a healthy relationship with money, it’s time to have your own healthy relationship with it, too.

You’ve totally got this!

The post 3 Ways Single Moms Can Survive Financially appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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