Going through a divorce can cause emotional strain, but the area of finances and how women cope with the aftermath doesn't get much attention. Statistics show that women stay in poverty longer than men after divorce. The shock of your new financial reality can seem overwhelming. I personally had to start from scratch after my divorce and remember working two jobs just to make ends meet. I’d like to share some insight on how I was able to rebound.
1. Invest – When I say invest, I mean to invest in yourself. Financial literacy is a must not only for divorcees, but women period. I have spoken to several women who either stayed home or did not handle the finances at all. Once their marriages fell apart, they were completely clueless on what to do financially. One lady shared how she didn’t even know what electric company they were with, and the only one she remembered had gone out of business years ago. Financial terms may seem daunting to learn, but it’s worth the time and effort. You can find a plethora of information on money and how it works. A great place to start is the book of Proverbs. Yes, Proverbs. It is packed with so much wisdom and practical life application! The Bible says that if you ask for wisdom, God will give it to you in abundance. Download a Bible App if you don’t already have one on your phone and listen to it while your get ready, exercise or ride to work. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you discernment and conviction as it relates to being a good manager of your money.
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2. Build An Emergency Fund – As quickly as you can, build a $1,000 emergency fund. I am a huge fan of Dave Ramsey and he often says, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong“. Let’s face it, life happens to all of us. Unforeseen circumstances can lead to you using credit cards resulting in unnecessary debt. Knowing that you have money set aside for a real emergency helps you feel confident and better prepared. One option to consider is to have money directly deposited into an account set aside specifically for emergencies.
3. Get out of Debt! – When I was in the midst of rebuilding my finances, I did what I had to do. One extreme measure was to freeze my credit cards. I literally froze my credit cards between a block of ice. It’s easy to fall into the trap of compulsive spending which is counterproductive to your ultimate goal of reaching financial freedom. Freezing your cards forces you to evaluate why you “need” to use credit. While you are melting that big block of ice, you have to consider if it’s worth the purchase or not. While you are getting out of debt, ask God to help you develop discipline and be honest with yourself about your needs vs. wants.
Divorce doesn’t mean that your life is over. Please understand your worth, that you are a priceless treasure. Most of all, you are the daughter of a King. God is our provider, ask Him to meet your needs and I promise He will. I hope you are encouraged on your journey to financial freedom!