Certainly, if you’re emerging from a divorce or still suffering from one, this is a very emotional time for you. What’s more, many women still face a glass ceiling in employment.
Life is tough for divorced moms. It’s even tougher for divorced moms who have to manage their careers and children.
My parents divorced when I was three. Having been raised by a single mom until she remarried when I was 14, I’ve seen the difficulties firsthand. There was no alimony, child support, food stamps or welfare.
She, my brother and I survived by her tenacity and careful planning. Despite her financial roller coaster, she managed to buy a home and a car on her own. It’s worth noting she put off purchases until she could pay cash. Years went by before the house was fully furnished.
Despite her struggles, she never stopped supporting us. She encouraged my brother and me to study and engage in hobbies and sports. She only had a high school education, but I was encouraged to attend college.
Now, elderly and slow-to-get-around, she’s still a strong-minded woman. Fortunately, she’s secure in her retirement with a wonderful husband. I learned a lot about life from her.
In experiencing financial hardship, she wasn’t alone and still isn’t. In a sense, she was fortunate to be a product of the Great Depression. She intimately knew the meaning in Benjamin Franklin’s quote: “A penny saved is a penny earned.”
Today, the U.S Census Bureau indicates a woman’s income plummets 37 percent after divorce. The problem is made worse when you consider data from the Bureau of Labor statistics – women are only paid 77 percent of what men are compensated.
Frankly, life was even tougher for single moms when my mom was young, so she privately shakes her head in disapproval when she sees people with attitudes of entitlement.
For financial security, here are four planning tips:
1. Take baby steps and start looking for a financial adviser – If you’re careful, you’ll soon start setting aside some money. Only listen to an objective advisor or counselor who will not profit from your savings, investments or retirement account.
If you can’t afford to pay a fee to an adviser, look for a quality free service. Even better, find a female mentor you can trust. Someone who is successful and has what you want for yourself and your family.
Set up a budget, use computer software to keep track of your money and use your credit union or bank’s online system for bill-paying.
2. Start a rainy day fund – Do your best to set aside enough money that will cover your expenses for six to 12 months. Put the money in an account that you can draw from later, if necessary, for emergencies. If you’re contemplating purchases, remember – first things, first – when it’s not necessary, don’t.
3. Fund a retirement account – To quote the wise man who married my mother when I was a teenager, “It ain’t how much you make, it’s how much you bring home.”
True, it won’t be easy, but save as much as you can to contribute to a 401(k). Hopefully, you’ll find an employer – offering a company-sponsored retirement plan – who will match your contributions.
4. Constantly evaluate your financial state of affairs – Conditions change. Fine-tune your situation whenever necessary. If you stay balanced emotionally and focused, your financial situation will improve.
So treat your situation as an adventure. Make it a game to save money, and some day you’ll look back and will forget about the struggles. You’ll be self confident and will treasure your successes.
From the Coach’s Corner, be sure to read the six values for financial protection.
If you’re an entrepreneur or business executive, here are valuable tips for a downturn survival – a six-part series on “Surviving Economic & Industry Downturns.”
If you use all the tips, you can avoid having to visit soup kitchens.
“What’s a soup kitchen?”
- Paris Hilton
Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.