Monday, 23 July 2018

6 Smart Ways to Get Through a Breakup Without Trashing Your Finances

Are you recently single?

Join the club. (Just be thankful you didn’t experience it right at the beginning of Dry January.)

Anyway, you might be sitting on the couch crying with all of the lights in your apartment turned off. Or maybe you’re sipping champagne and painting your nails red (you do you, boo).

Either way, if you’re feeling confused, apathetic or just flat out have no idea what’s going to happen next, here’s something to feel relieved about: One thing you do have control over right now is your money.

6 Ways to Get Over a Breakup Without Going Broke

Even if you shared your finances, it’s still possible to take a step back and get them under control — you just need to implement a smart plan.

Here’s how to keep your financial situation together when you feel like the rest of your life is falling apart.

1. Re-evaluate Your Budget

Now that it’s just you, you’ll probably need to re-evaluate your budget as soon as possible.
My ex and I split groceries and bills, so my expenses almost doubled without him.

On the other hand, if the jerk was a freeloader, congratulations — you can now spend your money on something other than a waste of space.

By re-evaluating your budget, you can cut costs you can no longer afford and still manage to stay afloat without your freshly exiled human.

2. Think Twice Before You “Treat Yo’ Self”

We love the idea of treating yourself — but we don’t love how expensive it can get.

If you want to indulge in something like a spa day, Michelle Hung, chartered financial analyst and founder of The Sassy Investor, recommends doing it at home.

She recommends doing facials with some friends, stating face masks “can just cost a few dollars,” and also recommends doing manicures or pedicures at home or at a friend’s house.

Also you don’t need to go out and buy elaborate material goods to feel better — here are a few ways to treat yo’ self for free.

3. Put Down the Credit Card

After a breakup, you might want to go out and spend, spend, spend — because you deserve it, right?

By all means, if you can afford it, do it — but if you have to charge it, don’t you dare!
Financial coach Craig Dacy recommends figuring out what your budget allows you to spend and then going from there.

“If you decide $200 is something that makes sense in your budget, go and withdraw that money and keep it in cash,” Dacy says. “By having this money in cash, it is much more difficult to accidentally overspend because it is separated from your other money. When the cash is gone, you know that you have hit your limit.”

(Tip: If getting cash out of the bank is inconvenient for you, Hung recommends you purchase gift cards instead — when they run out, they run out!)

Credit cards can potentially have limits of thousands of dollars, which can entice you to overspend. Try putting your credit card in your sock drawer until the initial shock of the breakup wears off and you’re back in a position to make steady financial decisions.

4. When You Feel Like Spending, Write

Aside from writing down how you’re feeling about your recent life changes, you could also try writing when you feel like going out and spending money.

Hung tells her clients to write when they feel like spending money, mainly because seeing the costs on paper can clarify that they may be heading into a overspend spiral.

“Writing down and actually seeing the numbers is a really big wake up call,” Hung says. “It’s the same as when you look at your credit card bill, and you see everything add up — you might think, ‘Holy crap, did I really spend that much?’”

Writing down what you want to purchase before you actually do it can really put it into perspective for you. You can ask yourself: Does it fit into your budget? Do you really need these things? Are there cheaper alternatives?

It’s all about awareness.

5. Spend Time with Family and Friends

If you want to be around people during your healing time, make sure it’s with those who are close to you.

Your family and friends are the ones who can help you heal emotionally. In a time where you probably feel horrible, there’s nothing like sitting on the porch with your mom or going for a ride in the car with your best friend.

Talking is important during a healing process, and these are the people who want to listen to you.

Not only will they support you emotionally, these are also the people who might even be willing to buy you a beer or lunch without thinking twice. It’s okay to lean on friends every once in a while for these things — just don’t become a freeloader!

On the other hand, make sure you surround yourself with people who will keep you both emotionally and financially on track.

“Choosing your shopping buddy may not be the best person to lean on during this time,” Dacy explains. “Find someone that understands your financial goals and will help you move on without giving you the ‘you deserve it’ pep talk in the checkout line.”

6. Sell the Stuff That Makes You Think of Your Ex

If you know they’re gone for good, what’s the harm in selling things they gave you or left behind?

You could profit off of last year’s anniversary gift or last week’s spontaneous purchase at the Sunday market.

If you’re ready to make some extra cash off your breakup, check out these ways to sell your ex’s stuff.

(Side note: Just be sure you’re emotionally ready to let go of those items — that’s more important than making money from them!)


Saturday, 21 July 2018

The 5 Stages Of Divorce (And How To Turn Your Relationship Around Before It's Too Late)

There are many things you can do to turn your relationship around when you find yourself on a rocky road, if you’re willing to team up and face reality together—and that will only happen if you both wantyour marriage to last. The key factor in getting back on track is turning things around as early as possible. It happens over different time frames for different people, but at some point, you reach the point of no return.

Marriage therapists often describe five stages in the divorce process that start long before the D-word is ever mentioned by couples. Here, I'll describe each stage and explain how you might start to redirect when it's still possible.

1. Dissatisfaction:

This is a place of disillusionment, where you have a growing sense of disappointment about the way your relationship is going and how you feel around your partner. Maybe the spark has gone out of the relationship and it feels flat. Criticism may creep into your everyday conversations and actions.

Ignore these warning signs at your peril—finding yourself regularly feeling disappointed and flat about your relationship is no small thing. Getting help at this point is likely to be beneficial because you’re probably still both open to change and not yet so resentful of each other that you stop wanting to try. Sadly, one of the most common mistakes couples make is to shut their eyes and keep careening dangerously towards the end of the road believing things will just magically fix themselves. Most of the time, they don’t.

How to turn it around:

Turning around means consciously putting energy into your love like you did at the start, creating a shared focus on connecting, increasing awareness of your relationship vulnerabilities and strengths, seeking strategies to reconnect deeply, learning skills, and building generosity of spirit toward one another again. You must move away from dissatisfaction and back into happiness before too much damage is done to your relationship.

Start by finding the courage to own how you really feel, without defensiveness or blaming. Consider getting couples counseling earlier rather than later, because that’s when it will be most helpful. If that’s too difficult or daunting, at least gather some basic resources that will help you start a new conversation together—some books or an online relationship class to prompt you to face your dissatisfaction head-on together.

2. Emotional erosion:

This is where you stop caring as much about your partner—or worse, developing a sense of resentment and apathy about doing anything to improve your closeness and communication. The distance between the two of you may seem to increase every week. but you don’t pay too much attention. Couples who don’t turn around at this stage tend to increasingly distract themselves and hope the relationship will fix itself. It can last weeks or years depending on how much you can stomach.

How to turn it around:

As you drive around the communication boulders on this rocky road, you start to clearly see why turning around sooner would have been a better idea. The less interest you have in healing the relationship, the more resistance you'll face when you try to turn things around. But that doesn't mean it's necessarily too late. If you care enough to save your relationship, that's enough to take the first step. At this point, professional intervention is your best bet. Try to start regular counselling on your own, if your partner isn't open to it initially—as soon as possible. That way, even if it doesn't work out in the end, you'll know you did everything you could to save the relationship. And you'll be prepared to move forward in a much healthier way.

3. Loneliness:

In this third stage of a fading relationship trajectory, if you open your tired eyes, you’ll realize that glaringly obvious danger signs have been all over the road for miles. The signs tell you to find each other again urgently—to reactivate intimacy or risk losing it permanently. This is a place of emotional detachment, to the point that other interests—children, friends, work, sports, or even another potential lover may become more important to you than each other. 
Instead of the disappointment and confusion of dissatisfaction or the anger and resentment of the erosion you may start to feel what Pink Floyd called "comfortably numb." This stage usually ends when something bright and shiny at the side of the road suddenly catches your eye and you feel alive again, awoken to what you’ve been missing. Trouble is, you’re likely to jump out of the car on your own to chase it, causing injury to every heart.

How to turn it around:

Act now if you want to save the relationship with openness, energy, empathy, love, and most of all by teaming up again. This is your relationship’s trial by fire. It shouldn’t have come to this, but it has. Now, you must really fight for each other. Turn to one another with a shared focus, or keep gazing out the side windows, ignoring each other, at your own peril.
Still haven’t managed to turn the car around?

If you've been trying your best and it still hasn't happened, know that it's not your fault. You can't do it alone. It absolutely takes two. Taking the best path is ultimately knowing in your heart that you did your best.

4. The fork in the road:

The fourth stage of the journey to divorce is the fork in the road. Here, single street meets the road you've been on, and your paths diverge. It’s here that you must make the final decision to turn the car around together. Otherwise, it's time to go on alone. Either way, it’s your responsibility to yourselves and any children you have to choose your path with dignity and handle the fallout with maturity and grace.

People survive divorce, but abuse, unkindness, and chaos cause damage—whether a couple stays together or not. If you decide to go your separate ways, don’t let it be any more painful than it has to be.

That's not easy to do when you feel (understandably) angry, lost, panicked, and hurt, but here's how you stay in control.

Remember that behaving in any way other than with kindness and within your values will hurt everyone even more—including yourself. It will extend your recovery time and intensify the pain all round.

If you haven't yet, get help now. Breaking up is hard to do. You must both get all the support you can and treat each other with compassion.

5. Mourning:

The final destination on the journey through divorce is a place of sadness and reflection, but maybe also relief. Here, you can finish this relationship journey, remember what was good, and strive to understand what went wrong. You can hope for a better future for all parties involved and do your best to create it.

Acknowledge all the things you are mourning. The end of a marriage means changes to home and family forever, but you will survive and you can all thrive again.

Get support. Allow yourself to feel pride for the mature way you handled things during such a difficult time in your lives. Then focus on growth and learning so that there will be less of a chance of repeating past mistakes in future relationships.


Friday, 20 July 2018

Know who you are, where you are and where you are going

Knowing who you are, where you are and where you're trying to go are all essential as we work through times of hardship or seek out personal growth or improvement.

In this video I'll discuss how we can become defined by our 'back-story', the events that happen in our life and help to shape us. These can be useful experiences that help us grow, or they can become labels that we unhelpfully cling to or apply to ourselves.

I also share the importance of understanding exactly where you are in life and any given process of improvement or journey through (and out of) adversity. Finally, I'll describe the importance of being clear about your goals, where you're going and figuring out how you're going to get there.

If you'd like to receive the occasional message from me containing thoughts, information or inspiration related to living a better life after divorce, you can join my mailing list at the following link:

You can also subscribe to my free podcast, Kintsugi Life at:

Thanks and have a great day!


Rules of Engagement: Setting the Stage for Post-Divorce Dating With Kids

This is a good news/bad news situation. The good news is now that your divorce is final and you survived the temporary insanity that it caused, you’re ready to consider another relationship. The bad news is next to divorce, getting into a new relationship is the second leading cause of temporary insanity.

I’m not trying to be a buzzkill here. A new relationship can be an exhilarating and blissful experience. But to avoid putting yourself and your kids through another round of family drama, you have to be very aware of what you’re doing — just like you were during your divorce.

Here are some guidelines to help you steer clear of trouble:

Make It A Feature Length Movie, Not A Short Film. That initial phase of a new relationship can be one of the most amazing rushes ever. Everything about it makes you want to go full speed ahead, taking your relationship from brand new boyfriend to forever-and-ever life partner in a matter of days. But because you are a responsible grown-up, you know that would be a really stupid thing to do. After all, you’ve worked hard to get to where you are today. You remember the living hell that your divorce was. And if you really work at it, you can even vaguely remember how you were once head-over-heals in love with your ex. So, you know full well that sometimes things that seem really amazing in the very beginning turn out to be pretty terrible in the end. The last thing you want to do is to jeopardize the life that you have carefully reconstructed for yourself and your kids. Just as you enjoy a piece of cake one delicious forkful at a time rather than swallowing it whole; take the time to savor each minute of this phase of your relationship rather than rushing ahead.

Don’t Fast Forward. Here’s a common misstep divorced women make when it comes to new relationships: As soon as they’ve been on two dates with a guy, they want to introduce him to their kids. Your kids have had enough rough sailing for the time being. The last thing they need is a bunch of waves created by moving too fast with your new boyfriend.

Your love life can have a big emotional impact on your kids. If they end up liking the guy they will form an attachment to him. Then, if you end up breaking up sooner rather than later that sets them up for a loss that was totally avoidable. If, on the other hand, they end up not liking him, then your boyfriend can become a wedge between you and your kids, and that creates tension for everyone.

Protect your kids and your home life by holding off on the introduction until you’re sure it’s worth the upheaval it has the potential to cause. Don’t introduce your new love interest until you know him really well and you’re reasonably certain he’s going to be around for the foreseeable future. I’m talking about a vetting period measured in months, not days. Feel free to date, but try to schedule your dates on evenings that your kids are with their dad or otherwise away.

Don’t Treat Kids Like Oscars. If your new boyfriend has kids, resist the urge to wage a campaign to win them over right away. Women who do this think that getting in good with the kids will help impress their new love interest and advance their budding romantic relationship. Not only is this strategy unfair, it often backfires.

It’s not fair because it involves manipulating the emotions of children simply to further your love life. That’s a pretty crappy thing to do. It backfires because when you start off acting like a fan rather than a friend, you often end up pretending to be someone you’re not. It won’t take long for the kids to figure out that you really aren’t who you pretended to be, and they will then conclude that you were using them to get in good with their dad. At that point you will have your first obstacle to overcome — one that is completely your fault.

A better approach is to have the patience to get to know each other gradually. Rather than pretending to like every single thing about the kids only to have your real opinions come out later; you can slowly discover what you honestly have in common. You won’t like every thing about his kids, and they won’t like every single thing about you. But you will both be able to trust that your opinions are honest and the developing relationship is genuine.

Of course, women aren’t the only ones who do this. Make sure you don’t let your new boyfriend approach your kids like they are Oscars that can be won if his performance is impressive enough. Your kids deserve to be treated like people who are worthy of respect, not prizes that are up for grabs. 

Don’t Act Like You’re Auditioning For Replacement Parent. Don’t encourage your kids to call your new love interest Dad or invite his kids to call you Mom. These kids already have a mom and a dad, and being told to start calling someone else Mom or Dad only serves to confuse them or make them feel awkward; and it could even cause tension with their actual mom or dad. Instead, model for them what it looks like to approach a relationship in a mature manner: slowly and with respect and restraint. That’s a lesson that will serve them well in many ways.

You’re The Casting Director Of Your Love Life. Your kids don’t get to decide who gets cast as your boyfriend — that’s your decision. But they do get to decide whether they themselves like him. And don’t be surprised if they don’t at first. Many kids are not thrilled to have a new leading man waltzing into their house and changing up the family dynamic. While you can’t order them to like your new boyfriend, you can insist that they treat him with respect while everyone works through the transition. The best way to maximize the chances that your kids will eventually like your boyfriend is to be selective about who you choose to begin with, carefully vet him before you make any introductions, and then continue to take things slowly once you do.

Handling Negative Reviews. If your kids don’t like your boyfriend, give them a chance to explain the basis for their opinion. If they tell you that he gives them a creepy feeling, they caught him rifling through your jewelry box, or he told them he’s a reptile freak and he’s in the process of setting up a snake aquarium in his house, these are serious complaints and you should break up with him immediately. But if they tell you he is an attention hog or that you really don’t need a boyfriend, anyway, because you have them, that’s a different story. Complaints of that nature indicate that their objections aren’t based on anything specific to him; but rather they dislike the idea of your having any boyfriend at all.

Their views are understandable. After all, these are your kids. From their standpoint, there’s a big gross out factor when it comes to the idea of their mom being all starry-eyed over some guy and doing all of those things that go along with dating. And what kid wouldn’t get his back up over some new guy cutting in on the time and attention they get from their mom?

But while their complaints might be understandable, that doesn’t make them legitimate. There’s no need to break up with your boyfriend over unfounded complaints. In fact, doing so would send your kids the message that they have ultimate authority over your love life, and that would set a precedent that you would quickly come to regret. While breaking up isn’t wise, making some adjustments to take the pressure off everyone would be a very smart move. Continue to see your boyfriend, but go back to seeing him away from the house and/or at times when your kids are not around. Don’t hide the fact you’re continuing to see him; just don’t include your kids in your plans.

Over time, your kids will adjust to the idea of your having a boyfriend and their resistance will diminish. Then you can slowly ramp up the occasions when your boyfriend is included in family events. A side benefit of this approach is it affords you additional time to get to know him, which means you will be that much more sure of things before he gets involved in your kids’ lives. And your reward for being sensitive to your kids’ needs is that your kids will be far more likely to actually like your new flame (rather than simply accepting him) if they don’t feel like he is being forced on them. And all of that gives your relationship a greater chance of succeeding.

Don’t Give Your Kids A Supporting Role. Every relationship — even a brand new one involving a guy you are totally smitten with — has its share of bumps in the road. Because you’re coming off a divorce and you haven’t dealt with the dynamics of a new relationship in a very long time, it’s natural for you to want to process these developments by talking them out with someone to get a little perspective. That’s fine — as long as that someone is not one of your kids.

You may feel that talking to your kids about your dating life makes you look cool or bonds you together in a new way. But it really constitutes over-sharing that runs the risk of causing your kids to see you more as a teenager and less as a parent; and that will diminish their respect for you. Also, they will be predisposed to take your side in any spats you have with your boyfriend, and that can interfere with their relationship with him in the long run. You and your boyfriend may kiss and make up, but your kid may find it hard to forgive and forget.

Have A Heart-to-Heart With Your New Heartthrob. Before you and your boyfriend meet each other’s kids, you should talk about these points to make sure you are both on the same page. If you don’t feel comfortable enough with him to have that conversation, you do not yet know him well enough to introduce him to your kids. And if you find yourself more worried about how he will react than how your kids are going to be treated, that’s a pretty clear sign that you’re suffering from temporary insanity. When you put concerns about your new relationship ahead of concerns for your children, you need to spend less time dating and more time thinking about your priorities.


Thursday, 19 July 2018

7 Things to Know About Divorcing During Your Senior Years

You thought it was until death do you part, but now you're headed to divorce court.

Dubbed “gray divorce” by some, calling it quits during your senior years may no longer be a decision that raises eyebrows. The divorce rate for those ages 50 and older doubled between 1990 and 2010, according to a study by Bowling Green State University sociologists.

While remarriages tend to have higher divorce rates, it isn’t only people on their second or third spouse who are seeing their marriage dissolve. The BGSU study published in The Journals of Gerontology found that 48 percent of divorcees were in their first marriage.

If it looks like your happily ever after is ending, here are seven things family law experts say you need to know.

1. Alimony is almost always granted after long-term marriages.

While younger couples may have temporary alimony agreements that provide financial support for their ex, often only long enough for lower earning spouses to get back on their feet, it’s a different situation for those exiting long-term marriages. “In New York, for example, the court will generally give alimony for life,” says Bruce Provda, a divorce attorney in New York City.

What’s customary for alimony can vary, but legal experts say senior couples can expect it to play some role in their divorce proceedings.

“If they’re working, they’re going to pay some alimony,” says Bob Boyd, a partner with the Atlanta law firm Boyd Collar Nolen & Tuggle and past president of the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

2. Your retirement money is about to be cut in half.
It doesn’t matter if one spouse was considered at-fault for the divorce; attorneys say retirement funds and other assets are likely to be split evenly.

“What looked like a lot of money to live on in your senior years doesn’t look like much when cut in half,” Boyd says.

Provda adds that some spouses may offer more of their pension to avoid making alimony payments. However, it may not be a person’s best interest to accept a deal that would trade tax-favored investments for potentially taxable income.

3. If you keep the house, you’re giving up something else.

Boyd says many women balk at giving up their marital residence. While it can be an emotional decision to give up a longtime home, it’s one that makes the most financial sense, particularly when courts often split assets evenly.

“If you take the house, it has a value,” Boyd says. “[Then your husband] is going to get something in his column to balance that out.”

That something could be a greater share of a pension or a smaller alimony obligation. Either way, keeping the house and giving up retirement savings or cash payments could put a person in a bind. Houses come with property taxes, maintenance expenses and other costs that can stretch already meager financial resources.

4. Your kids may be older, but they might still be a factor.

“Divorce is always a hard transition at any stage,” says Christina Pesoli, a family law attorney in Austin, Texas, and author of “Break Free from the Divortex.” “The silver lining [of senior divorce] is that it’s not going to have the same gut-wrenching kid issues that younger couples have.”

In most gray divorces, child support and visitation orders are out of the picture. However, that doesn’t mean adult children aren’t a consideration in the divorce proceedings.

Nancy Chemtob, a matrimonial attorney and founding partner of Chemtob Moss & Forman in New York City, says it’s not unusual for parents to provide financial support for adult children. While adult children may want this support to continue, it’s not something typically written into a divorce agreement unless a child has a disability or is in school.

“You can’t obligate someone to pay a third party,” Chemtob says. The same applies to couples who may be supporting elderly parents. As a result, some divorcees may end up in the difficult position of having to decide whether to use their diminished savings or income to continue this support.

Finally, adult children may react emotionally to their parents’ divorce. Pesoli says there is no reason to overshare if everyone seems to be adjusting appropriately, but parents shouldn’t have to keep the reasons behind the divorce a secret. “Share if it brings resolution and is needed to help kids make sense of what’s happening,” she says.

5. Being bitter benefits no one, but there is no reason to be a buddy to your ex.

Emotions run high during a divorce, but experts say to try to keep conversations neutral.

“It doesn’t matter how old you are, be as amicable as possible,” Chemtob advises. “There is no benefit in having a contentious divorce.”

Pesoli agrees but adds that being amicable isn’t the same as being an open book. Sharing information such as future plans, favorite possessions or desired assets could give a spouse considerable negotiating power during divorce proceedings.

“Be polite, be civil, but keep it businesslike,” Pesoli advises.

6. Make new friends, but don’t start dating before your divorce is final.

Getting a divorce can have an impact on relationships beyond the marriage. It can polarize friends and leave some ex-spouses feeling alone and defensive.

“It’s so important, as a senior person, when you get a divorce to not let yourself be isolated,” Boyd says.

Possible outlets for social interaction could be community events, volunteer activities or even hitting the campaign trail for your favorite candidate in the next election. However, Pesoli says newly single seniors shouldn’t make the mistake of squandering their blank slate and jumping into a new relationship too quickly.

“Dating before your divorce is final never makes things better,” Pesoli says. It can upset children, anger the soon-to-be ex-spouse and add time and money to the proceedings.
7. Get a prenuptial agreement for the second time around.

With remarriages being more likely to end in divorce than first marriages, family law experts advise anyone considering another union to get a prenuptial agreement. Without one, a second divorce can take retirement savings that have already been split once and divide them even further.

“If I were getting married for the second time in my senior years,” Boyd says, “I would surely get a prenuptial agreement.”


Wednesday, 18 July 2018

What to Expect When You’re Divorcing: The Real Costs of Living Single Again

When Sean Sutherland‘s divorce was finalized, he realized he had to toss his original plans for the future out the window.

Uncertainty about starting a new life started creeping into his head.

He was faced with questions about life after divorce he wasn’t sure how to answer: Will one income sustain me? Do I want to stay in an area that’s associated with memories of the relationship and people close to it?

While Sutherland, a Baltimore resident, considers himself lucky for having generous and supportive friends during his time of need, he still felt a financial burn from the startup costs of his new life.

Even though his divorce was finalized in January 2016, he still feels that burn to this day.
Life After Divorce Is Costly for Everyone

Sutherland isn’t alone in that he still feels the financial impact of his divorce.
It’s well-known that getting a divorce is an expensive process. Between litigation fees, charges for document copies, attorney bills and more, the expenses can leave you financially drained.

But the money woes don’t stop there — it’s actually where they begin. Once the papers are signed and the judge approves your divorce, your world opens up to a whole new variety of expenses.

The true cost of life after divorce includes everything from establishing separate residences and obtaining new insurance policies to getting back in the dating field.

Here are some examples of just how much it costs to start your life over again.

You’ll Have to Find New Living Arrangements

You and your ex-spouse probably shared an apartment or home, meaning you’ll be faced with finding new living arrangements.

If you’re renting, chances are you’ll have to come up with some large upfront costs, such as a security deposit, and first and last month’s rent.

Depending on your divorce agreement, you might not get all of your previous home’s furnishings, which means you’ll have to pay to replace those, too.

Lizabeth Cole, director of public relations and communications at The Penny Hoarder, had to start nearly from scratch after her divorce was finalised.

While she took small pieces of furniture from her former home, she had to replace all of her bigger furniture, along with linens, kitchenware, towels and more.

On top of that, she had to pay a security deposit and first month’s rent for her new apartment. In total, she estimates she spent about $3,000 on securing and furnishing her new residence.

Depending on location and the size of the home, these costs vary widely.

Rebuilding Your Savings Might Take Time

For Sutherland, the 50-50 split of his savings was the biggest financial strain. He said he funded their nest egg, with the intention of the two of them living off it in the future. But he and his ex-wife agreed to split it in the divorce, which left him in a new reality.

“It certainly derailed the plans I had and the vision for what my future would be,” Sutherland said. “Cutting a net worth in half is a big hit for anyone to take, let alone someone who was still pretty young and in the early stages of my career.”

Sutherland lost around $15,000 when he split the savings with his ex; it’s taken him nearly two years to get within reach of where he was before the divorce.

You’ll Have to Pay the Bills on Your Own

It’s common for people to combine finances with their significant other.

Once you get a divorce, though, you no longer have someone to split bills with. If you’ve been doing this for dozens of years, you may find it difficult at first to adjust your spending habits.

There are plenty of ways to get back on track after a breakup, though. Doing things such as re-evaluating your budget, thinking twice before making emotional purchases and preparing for financial success can help you get acclimated to only having your own money to spend.

You Need Your Own Insurance Policies

No longer being married means you may not have the advantage of bundled services, such as auto and health insurance.

Examples of policies and services you will have to hold on your own include:

Auto insurance: If you and your spouse were on the same auto insurance policy, you may have received a multicar discount. Now you will have to seek out your own plan, and it might cost more to cover your car. According to The Zebra, a single person saves about 5.6% when they get married, which equates to about $74 extra. Getting divorced increases premiums to nearly the same rate a single person pays.

Health insurance: If your ex had you on their health insurance plan, you will now have to find your own coverage.

Disability insurance: After getting divorced, you may owe your ex-spouse alimony or child support. You may want to purchase disability insurance so you can make the court-mandated payments should you unexpectedly experience an illness or accident that prevents you from earning money.

You’re Now a Single Tax Filer

Filing joint taxes when you’re married usually means you get certain benefits, like tax breaks and increased standard deductions. That means that as a single filer, you could see your income taxes increase.

Don’t Forget About the Cell Phone Plans

If you and your ex-spouse or significant other split a cell phone bill, you’re going to have to think about what to do next.

Many cell phone plans involve contracts that are costly to terminate. However, if your divorce isn’t exactly amicable, you might want to consider canceling the plan.

Erin Routzahn, senior account manager at The Penny Hoarder, shared a cell phone plan with her ex-boyfriend of two years. After they separated, they opted to terminate the plan.

The total cost to cancel it was $300, which they split.

Your Mental Health — an Overlooked Cost of Divorce
Caring for your mental health may not be an expense you considered part, but Elise Pettus, founder of divorce community group UNtied, thinks you should factor it in.

She compares divorce process to the grieving process, saying you might be “grieving the dream of having a family.”

“I do think therapy is a good idea,” Pettus said. “One of the things I see happen again and again is how helpful it is to have a community of others who are going through the same thing.”

If you’re turned off by traditional therapy due to the stigma or cost, there are outside resources available to help you. Examples include communities like UNtied or divorce recovery support groups. Some of these programs charge membership fees, and some don’t. Be sure to do your research.

Good News: You’ll Probably Need to Think About the Costs of Dating Again

After recovering emotionally from your divorce, you may consider dating again. While this is an exciting time in your personal recovery, keep in mind that it can be expensive.

Many adults spend $150 to $250 on a single date, including dinner, drinks and transportation.

Due to the rapid expansion of dating technology, we’re going on more first dates. That being said, some leave the traditional standards of who should be paying for the first date in the dust. Some people split the bill, others go simply for the free food.

The good news is, you don’t always have to go out to dinner for a date. Consider doing cheap or free activities such as bike riding or happy-hour hopping to save on costs.

A New Life: Expensive at First, But Worth It

The costs of starting a new life after divorce are significant, but with a new beginning comes hope.

Joy Prosperity Coaching founder and business coach Joy Passey signed her divorce papers in March 2014, after 13 years of marriage. Although she had to find her own health insurance plan, she also spent money on self-care and time with her friends.

“My friends said I became more fun when I got divorced,” Passey wrote in an email. “Ha! I also started improvisational classes and started performing again. I became a better version of my former self after my divorce!”

If you find yourself struggling financially while you readjust to life on your own, know that you aren’t alone.

Sutherland rebuilt his savings by working as much as possible in the months following the divorce. He even took on a second job, where he worked most weekends. For him, rebuilding his savings came as a “mental victory,” and keeping busy with multiple jobs helped him move on.

Sutherland offers a few words of advice to those who may feel like they aren’t able to get back on track financially:

“The best advice I can give is that you will get through this: Once the immediate shock is over, do your best to replace the funds you've lost — increase your savings, decrease your spending, but do so on your own terms. Only you can know what the right pace is for cutting back or cutting loose with your spending during these tough times.”

Here’s to new beginnings.


Tuesday, 17 July 2018

10 Common Dating Struggles Children Of Divorce Face

You're not alone.

Children who’ve witnessed their parents’ marital problems and divorce sometimes replicate those behaviors in their own relationships.

But they also tend to love smarter. They’re less likely to believe in “happily ever after” and know to keep their expectations about love reasonable. Below, kids of divorce open up about how their parents’ divorces have impacted their own love lives.

1. Not trusting that partners mean what they say and will actually follow through.
“I find it hard to trust they’ll keep coming back, which can lead to neediness if I leave it unchecked. My dad, who I adored, and who adored me, had a habit of trying to please me by making promises he couldn’t keep, and this means I often have doubt that anyone will stick to what they say. I used to keep my expectations too low to avoid the disappointment I expected to follow.” ― Reeyee Rockette

2. Fearing commitment and always making an exit strategy.
“Being a child of divorce taught me that ‘happily ever after’ does not really exist. I was always the cynic in the back of the theater who couldn’t buy into the idea of the couple riding off into the sunset. I knew that real relationships were layered and full of complexities. Growing up and watching the layers of a marriage peel off taught me to create walls and manage my emotional investment well. No matter how serious things became, I dated with an emergency exit strategy in place. My fear of heartbreak and divorce has made commitment both terrifying and difficult. So, despite the trail of broken hearts I’ve created, I find comfort behind the walls that keep me emotionally guarded.” ― Phoebe J. Mikneah

3. Being too much of a people-pleaser.
“As a child of divorce, I became the ultimate people-pleaser. Every relationship I have been in focused on me trying to please the other person with little to no regard of myself and my own needs. I didn’t know how to ask for what I wanted or needed out of a relationship and then became upset when I didn’t get it. Then, I would never be the one to end a relationship out of my fear of abandonment, no matter how unhealthy it was. These are the core issues I still face in my thirties. Even though I am aware of them, it is a hard habit to break when it is ingrained in your psyche. The only way I’ve been able to overcome these struggles is by taking the advice of many relationship experts and to date myself. It felt selfish at first but now I am learning to do what makes me happy and not worry as much about trying to please others.” ― Adam Petzold

4. Dealing with abandonment issues.
“My parents’ divorce and the initial absence of my father caused me to develop severe abandonment issues not only within my love life but also within my relationships with friends. I found myself constantly double checking on the state of these relationships. I was very sensitive to little things that should not have mattered, such as needing reassurance that they loved me or still liked me. I found myself living in fear of offending someone or doing something that would cause them to not want me. These insecurities became severe during my college years and caused issues within my multiple attempts at relationships for years. It wasn’t until I truly did some soul searching that I recognized that the insecurity and paranoia had come from the trauma the divorce had caused me. It was only then that I was able to resolve them and became involved in a healthy, now long-term, relationship.” ― Jeaiza M. Quinones

5. Seeking out spouses with the same issues that broke up their parents’ marriage.
“I saw my mom in a relationship with a narcissist and didn’t know any different. They divorced when I was a child, but I remember it very well. I married one at 19 and we divorced nine years later, but it took several years to be brave enough to do so. I am a better person now but it took a lot of mending.” ― Lindsey Gail Wright

6. Struggling to discuss feelings.
“I struggle to discuss feelings and important issues in relationships. But it mostly taught me there is a way out and that I don’t have to put up with crap from a partner.” ― Tash Smith

7. Holding on to the idea that love must be difficult.
“When surrounded by tumultuous relationships, children yearn for the balance that is key in every relationship. The rocky and inconsistent behavior of watching two adults quarrel can sometimes result in this idea that love must be difficult or a battle in order for it to be considered love. This is commonly felt amongst children of divorce, which may cause them to recreate this behavior in their own love lives. The crucial decision to disown this pattern of dysfunction and develop a new set of ideals, boundaries and perceptions of love is fundamentally what helped me survive and thrive in relationships.” ― Zoe Bernstein

8. Coming on too strong.

“Seeing my parents divorce made me realize how badly I want a happy ending. I’m a hopeless romantic by nature and by my own admission, and that desire can come off stronger than intended when dating. Some people in my life seem to think that I have a ring in my pocket at all times, just waiting to give it to someone, but that’s not the case. I just know that I’d rather have one woman in my life than deal with the headache and drama that comes with dating different people.” ― Mike Zacchio

9. Not undestanding what behaviors are normal in a relationship.
“I grew up in a family of yellers. If we were stuck in traffic, my dad yelled and slammed his fists repeatedly against the wheel. If my mother burned dinner, she shouted in frustration until my brother or I came to comfort her. Now I realize they were taking out their frustrations with each other out on things they couldn’t control—broken ovens, car accidents. When I first started dating my future husband, we hit massive traffic on our way to a concert. I prepared myself for him to start shouting and yelling, just like my father. And... he didn’t. Instead, he invented fun car games for us to play while we wound our way through the inevitable cluster of cars. Only then did I realize that yelling like that, over such trivial matters, wasn’t normal.” ― Emily Ballet

10. Pushing people away.
“I think [the divorce] was the subconscious beginning to the unknowing wall of protection I built around my heart as a teenager and young adult. Once anyone got too close, I pushed them away first so nobody could break my heart, except me.” ― Jayne Schroeder