The recently divorced are definitely big targets for personal finance news, and information, but they might not think so. When you divorce from someone you have a lot of things on your plate, and personal finance is only a tiny part of the picture. Anyone that thinks divorce isn’t emotional has never gone through the process. It’s definitely an emotional battlefield that can really take it out of you. Does it have to be that way? Of course not — you just need to figure out what you want to accomplish at the end of the day.
You don’t have to just live under the labels that you’re given. This means that you aren’t just defined by the fact that you’ve gotten a divorce. A lot of people get divorced and find that a new chapter of their life really begins anew. Other people find that they just can’t seem to let go of the life that they used to have.
There are a few things that you need to understand about personal finance if you’re new to the divorced scene.
1. Establish Your Own Identity
When we say that it’s time to establish your own identity, we mean that in every way. You can’t go on thinking that you’re married when you’re not. If that means that you have to start thinking about your career again, so be it. You might have come from a marriage where you didn’t have to work because your spouse worked. You might come from a marriage where there were a lot of fights about money because your spouse was a spender and you weren’t. It doesn’t matter — the time is right too start your own identity.
However, in the world of credit, you have to be careful. Establishing an identity here means getting credit under your own name. A lot of times people get married and establish credit in both people’s names, which makes it easier to get credit. This is especially true if there is one person that makes a lot more than another or one person that has a substantially higher credit score than the other person. That doesn’t mean that one person is better than the other. When you get married, your credit is combined into one. However, when you divorce you have to rely only on your credit, which can definitely make a big difference in how things get done.
2. Budget Wise, Budget Long
A budget helps you get things done, but you would be surprised at how many divorcees really don’t think about a budget. They make a lot of excuses on how many things that they have to focus on, which means that they can never really think about a budget the way other people do. Here’s some news you need to hear, no matter how blunt it sounds: budgets aren’t just for single people. Everyone needs a good budget because they tell you where you need to go, what you need to get done, and everything else in between. There’s no reason to think that you just don’t have time to think about a budget — there is always time to think about a budget. If you have extra time to watch television, you definitely have time for a budget.
But what does it really mean to create a budget? Well, you will need to budget not only just the essentials, but the other things that you will want to do as well. It can’t just be able the essentials because you will end up getting bored and just making purchases anyway. On the other hand, if you do set up a framework that you can follow, then you will be much more likely to stick to the budget.
It’s very similar to the way dieters see the world — a super restrictive diet may lead to rapid weight loss, but there does come a time where you’ll get bored and start slipping in “cheats” that end up derailing you from the results you wanted so bad in the first place.
3. Watch the Income-Expense Cycle
Watching your expenses is definitely a good thing, but do you ever think about growing your money? This is a subject that doesn’t really get discussed as much as it should. Indeed, you have to realize that there does come a point where looking at the money that you make is important. A lot of divorcees lose earning power because they weren’t as focused on their career as they should have been. Is that always a bad thing? No — definitely not if not focusing on your career meant that you spent more time with your family. As much as we all would like not to think about money, the truth is that having extra money left over month after month really helps you get things done. That’s a lot better than not having enough to make ends meet — who really wants to live like that?
There are plenty of freelance opportunities out there for people that have skills like writing, researching, drawing or painting, and even subject matter expertise like investing or interior decorating. You can make a business out of just about any pursuit you can think of.
You must keep in mind that it can take time to raise your income in this way, and you will have to really work at it. However, what if you already have a career, but you just need a little more money? It’s time to think about what you can do to get yourself a raise. Moving up the corporate ladder can take time and energy, especially when you have multiple responsibilities outside of work. Yet if you really want to make your family’s life better it’s just one more thing you’re going to have to do!
It may seem like life after being divorced is a battle that you can’t win. This isn’t true at all. Personal finance does take time, and if you need help you shouldn’t feel ashamed about that at all. The truth of the matter is that when you really want to get things done, finding more information is really the best way to go. If you just sit and hide thinking that your problem will go away, you’ll be disappointed each and every time. There are plenty of finance groups for men and women alike that can help you with investing, saving, controlling spending, and plenty of other financial topics that are all important.
When you have other responsibilities, such as your children, you need to make absolutely sure that you will be able to do everything without dropping too many tasks. Personal finance growth comes from within — in other words, you have to make sure that you really are choosing to reach for a healthy balance of finances every day. It’s not something that’s just for the short term, either — this is something that you will want to do for the rest of your life, so you need to make sure that you at least work out a plan that makes sense from every direction.
It can be scary to take action steps, but action is the key to change in your life, so why not get started today?