Worried About a “Financial Doomsday” During Your Divorce? How to Deal with Financial Setbacks

If you are going through a divorce, do you ever think, “Will I be able to afford living in my house?  Am I going to be able to keep the kids in the same activities?  What am I going to do with all of this debt?  Will I have enough money?”

Many people going through a divorce are worried about having enough money.  While you were married, there was enough income available to support you and your entire family living under one household.   After a divorce, there are two different households with different priorities and the same amount of income available.  Mathematically, you may not be able to sustain the same lifestyle you had while you were married.  You have a right to grieve your loss of support and lifestyle.

With that being said, some people go so far to think, “I am going to be homeless and living on the streets.”  If this is you, then you may be stuck in what I call “financial doomsday thinking.”   If you are stuck in “financial doomsday thinking,” I want to give you a little different perspective.

A change in your lifestyle may not be what you want and it may be tough to experience it.  However, everyone has experienced a financial setback in their lives.  Think about it: at some point you weren’t earning the income you desired, had to deal with an unforeseen debt, or could not afford the lifestyle you wanted.  During my college years, I lived off of Ramen Noodles and bagels.  I yearned to have enough money to have a better life.  So, I did the work.  I went to graduate school, started my professional career, and built a life with my husband that included a home and all of the trappings of success.  After my divorce, I moved out of our home, out of state, without a job to start all over.  I was frightened and angry that I had worked soo hard all of my life to be unable to have or do some of things that I wanted the most. 

I made it through my financial setback by making financial independence a non-negotiable.  I decided that I was going to deal with my financial stress by any means necessary.  I changed my budget and went in a different direction with my career.  Things did not turn around overnight for me.  However, what inspired me the most during this time was all of the small steps I was able to take in improving my situation. 

Here is my tip:  Make Way For Financial Success After a Setback.

First, identify what you prioritize as important to spend your money on.  Become more deliberate in understanding what your money priorities are in the instant moment.

Second, create a plan to get you to where you want to be financially.  Create a schedule for when you hope to achieve your financial goals, a plan to achieve your financial goals, identify the reasons your goals are important, and how you will feel once you achieve those goals.

Third, realize this setback is to set you up for your comeback.  Life is not a straight line — it’s full of twists and turns to lead you to your purpose. Sometimes we get set back, sometimes we accelerate forward. The transitional periods as the timeout in between these changes to make sure our future actions and decisions are really what we want. And if we don’t know what we want…we need to do more searching.

Fourth, give your self some space to appreciate that you are going through a major change with regards to how you spend your money.  Make your transition blissful: Because the unknown can get scary and uncomfortable, be intentional about making it “blissful” — and yes, using an extreme word like this is intentional. Make it blissful by appreciating every minute you have off and soaking up every experience you have as if it was your last. Decide that every person and encounter you have is meant to give you clues. Relish in your freedom to have this opportunity, repeat to yourself that you deserve to be happy and healthy and promise yourself you won’t settle.

Yours truly,