How to Cope Financially After Your Marriage Ends
When a marriage fails, not only do you have to suffer the emotional anguish of a broken heart, but you also have to go through something that can cost a lot of money. You find yourself severing ties with the one person you thought you will grow old with, at the same time wondering what will happen in the future now that it’s just you from now on. It’s terrifying and paralyzing, and it can leave you more broke and broken than ever, with not a lot of options for the future.
But eventually, the pain disappears and the tears stop falling. When that day comes, you have to deal with the costs of the separation, and then figure out how you can survive financially. For some people, the end of a marriage means freedom and financial independence. For others, it means financial problems and diminished incomes.
Whatever it may be, you don’t have to sink deeper in loss and despair because you can survive it, just like all the other men and women who have bounced back from failed marriages. Here are just some of the important things that you need to do that will help you cope financially.
Review your finances.
It’s not guaranteed that you will still be able to live the lifestyle that you had when you and your spouse were still together. More often than not, when a marriage breaks down, income gets reduced by half, or even more than that. As you go through the process of breaking up and separating, as ugly as it may sound, it all comes down to money.
Go over your financial situation. Reassess all that you have left in terms of assets, liquid or not. Do you have cash value life insurance? How about retirement assets, or real estate, or personal properties, or other business interests? Asset negotiations may not be settled quickly, and it may not always be a smooth-sailing affair. But you need to know how much you have so you can focus on funding your new life after the split.
Learn to live with less.
Review your bank and credit card statements. Do you really need to have five credit cards all at once? If you think you’ll no longer be able to have more than one credit card for now, cancel the others. If you think you can live comfortably in a much smaller house, go ahead and downsize. You can even rent out your house, or sell it and split the proceeds. Also, if you think you can survive without a car for the meantime, you can put it up for sale and use the proceeds to settle more pressing financial obligations.
Take a look at how much money you need to survive each month. Check all of your monthly bills to see how much you need to have monthly to settle all of them. List down all of your expenses for the house, the car, the pets, and the kids. Include miscellaneous expenses.
Doing this can give you a better idea about what you need to prioritize, what you can no longer afford, and what you need to give up. If you have spousal and child support, it will be a little easier to cover the costs. However, if you will be doing it alone, you need to prepare for all possible future expenses. You can also close joint accounts with your ex and open an individual savings account. If there are any auto debit arrangements in place, you need to update or cancel those as well.
Create new streams of income.
We’re not saying it will be fast and easy, especially if you have spent the last few years as a stay at home parent or spouse. However, your financial obligations will not stop just because your marriage did not survive. If anything, this rough time in your life is also the best time to get out there and land the job that you have always wanted.
Depending on how long you’ve been out of the workforce, how extensive your work experience is, and how advanced your skills are, finding a job can take a few weeks, or even a few months. Do not be discouraged if it doesn’t happen right away. You can use this time to take up courses that will bolster your chances of getting hired. Get certified in the profession you want to join and add this up to your resume. Start networking professionally and market the skills that you’re proud of.
Get that promotion and enjoy that salary increase. You can also explore other opportunities that offer better benefits and more competitive salary packages. If you want to set up your own business, you can also get started on that by doing something that you’re really good at. If you need money to get your business running, you can always look for cash loan lenders, or even liquidate some of your assets. Be patient and work hard at it. Eventually, you will get back into the swing of things and become more financially stable.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
It’s normal to wallow in self-pity and be overcome with regret, anger, and loneliness. But if you want to bounce back from this major life blow, you need to put emotions aside and deal with the financial reality of it all.
The sooner you accept that this is your new reality, the sooner you can get back on your feet, and the sooner you can enjoy better, bigger, and happier things.
You can’t do it alone, though, no matter how strong and independent you are. Take all the help that you can get from your parents, siblings, friends, and co-workers who can give you support, both the financial and emotional kind. Know that this chapter of your life is over and done with, and the best thing that you can do right now is to move forward. Commit to being happy as you rebuild your life. You may not have been successful marriage-wise, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a success elsewhere. Look brightly at the future, because there are still plenty of opportunities for growth and discovery.