Divorced women face all sorts of challenges. I myself have faced many challenges throughout my divorce.
One day, while having lunch with one of my colleagues, she said these words in all seriousness, “Take a good look at your present lifestyle. Admire it. Praise it. Give it the love. Then, kiss it goodbye.”
I laughed and thought that what she said was funny. However, I failed to realize they were words of wisdom and experience. If you are one of the lucky ones and money is not an issue after divorce, count your blessings.
The rest of us, more so for those women 50 years of age and over, have to come to our shocking reality. Our lifestyle and money flow are definitely on a downward spiral from here on out. For many of us, it is south of 50% and maybe a whole lot more.
In the divorce settlement, I figured my share was equitable. The state splits assets 50/50. I also thought my ex was being agreeable by suggesting I have the house as my share in the divorce settlement. It meant that I didn’t have to move and uproot the children.
What Do Divorced Women Fail To Consider?
What I failed to think about at the time was this: Yes, I now own the house but the monthly mortgage payment is also my sole responsibility. For some crazy reason, I think I might be able to cover the expenses on my own. If I am careful and budget my money like never before, it is doable.
Here is what the little voice in my head keeps telling me: “I have a career. The salary is decent as far as decent salaries go for schoolteachers. Add in the child support, and I can do this.”
Before getting divorced, my husband was in charge of our finances, and I had no idea what it would really cost for the upkeep and running of a house. He always took care of everything. In short order, I realize that this was going to be one of the biggest challenges I would ever have to face.
I Made The Wrong Decision
My perspective when making my decision was that my children deserve to be brought up in the house where they were born, and where most of their precious memories were made. It’s not their fault they no longer have both parents together to raise them. My irrational mindset has led me to stay in that house and support it for another 18 years.
I bet you’re wondering, “How can she afford to keep her house on a teacher’s salary?” (It was a big old house in a great neighborhood.)
What I Thought My Secret Was to Avoid To Financial Disaster
Every time the interest rates drop, I’m thought I would be the first one beating it to my friendly mortgage consultant’s door to remortgage my home.
This lowers the payment and tacks on some years on the back end. I thought that if my situation got really tight and I couldn’t remortgage, my backup would be the good old second mortgage.
My ignorant thinking was that I was dodging the downsize bullet, and that I could deal with it down the road. But my denial of my actual financial situation was where I was “stuck” for many years.
The point of this little story is that I was “trapped” in the rejection phase after divorce without even knowing it at the time. The rejection phase is one of five on the Road Through Recovery after divorce. It takes years to get in touch with reality. I didn’t want things to change. As a result, I was unable to move forward with my life. I kept doing what I had always done.
As a result of keeping the house, other areas of my life suffered a downsize.
A Lesson Learned
Eventually, I sold the house and scaled down quite a bit. It’s what I should have done years ago. The children wouldn’t even have thought about it because I would have still been able to provide them with a nice but smaller home. I could have made it so much easier on myself.
I share this story to divorced women because if you are newly divorced, especially if you are older, the chances are your lifestyle is going to take a hit. Hopefully, you will be smart. Explore your options and learn as much as you can about how to manage and take control of your financial life.
Create Balance and Harmony In Your Life
Along with the responsibility and expense of homeownership, divorced women have to consider the other areas of your life. You want to make a decision that will allow for balance and harmony.
Some things to consider include self-care, your personal well-being, fun and recreation, and personal development. That takes money. Without a balance, you neglect taking good care of yourself emotionally, physically, intellectually, and spiritually.
Above all, I hope that you protect yourself. Put up your financial shield. Let the downsize bullet hit; and then, create a new life that is rich in happiness, love, and affordability.
Have you had to make certain lifestyle changes after your divorce? If so, did you find it to be a blessing in disguise?
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