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Supporting Yourself After Divorce


Woman biting on pencil while looking at bills
Jamie Grill/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Did you marry young, have children right away and become a stay at home mom? Did you spend the majority of your married life helping your husband build his career? Are you now divorced and wondering how you are going to survive financially?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average woman’s family income drops by 37% after divorce. In other words women suffer more financially than men do from divorce. If you are a woman thinking about divorce I suggest you do some serious financial planning before filing.

If you are a woman already divorced, I have some suggestions that will hopefully help you survive the loss of income and get your finances in order.

  • You Can’t Live On Child Support And Alimony:

    Don’t think of child support or alimony as income. Child support is temporary and, in most cases so is alimony. You have to set yourself up NOW so that you will be able to survive financially once those temporary support checks stop coming in. You have to make an investment in yourself that is going to give you a return down the road.

    I’ve experienced first hand what it is like to go from not worrying financially to counting every penny I had. I know what it is like to be left with no marketable skills, children to raise, food to buy and a mortgage to pay. It isn’t easy transitioning from housewife and mother to single working mother but it is a transition that has to be made. You are going to have to work and you want to work at something that will pay well.

    If you have a degree but have been out of the work force, call a local college or university. Ask about classes that will allow you to brush up on some skills or get further certification that will make you more marketable in the work force. Talk to the financial aid office and obtain student loans that will pay for classes while you attend school.

    If you have skills or talents that you believe are marketable then consider opening your own business. Data entry, medical transcription, billing and coding are all fields that can be done from home. Most Doctor’s offices outsource those types of jobs and pay well for clerical work to be done from home.

    If you are a people person, consider a job in sales. I don’t mean behind the cosmetics counter at your local department store either. Get your Real Estate License and align yourself with a reputable Real Estate company. There is money to be made in Real Estate, why shouldn’t some of it be your money. I have a friend who works for a large car dealership. She meets interesting people daily and making big money. Companies like Edward Jones will hire and train you even though you have little background in the financial industry. With a few months training, at their expense you are certified as a broker and given an office to work out of. There are many opportunities in sales jobs, you just have to do the research and find where the opportunities are.

  • Keep Company With Women Who Are Financially Secure:

    There is no better place to learn how to get to the top than from someone who is already there. Women who are financially secure and independent can teach you how they save money and plan their financial futures. Cultivate relationships with women in your community that are business leaders. Join local women’s clubs or groups and be eager to learn from those who can get you to the next level financially.

The success strategies for surviving financially are cutting expenses until you are engaged in a stable career. Once you are there start building up an emergency reserve of cash by setting money aside each month, start a retirement plan of your own and then sit back and enjoy the freedom that comes from knowing you are financially self-sufficient.

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