Cleaning Up After a Divorce

A member of the Penny Forward Facebook group posted this story about cleaning up her finances after her divorce. This story is, unfortunately, all too common. It’s important for couples to communicate early and often about their finances. A trusted friend or financial professional can help you clean up after a situation like this, or help you avoid it in the first place.

After my husband left me, I went over my finances and nothing made any sense. He told me that only one person should handle the bills so we could keep our spending under control. He controlled it, alright. (Insert a lot of very bad words here.)

I was so broke, I couldn’t afford a pack of gum. I called my friend, Frank and asked him to come and look at it with me. Sometimes fresh eyes help see things we miss. I found out that some credit cards charge interest on a daily basis. I did not know this. I also found out that some people pay one credit card payment with another credit card. Never heard of that, either.

Frank helped me sort out the mess and organize my finances, using what we called the “Avalanche” method of paying off credit cards. He showed me how to do this by looking for the card that charged the most interest and figuring out how to pay it off as fast as possible and put it away. I paid the minimum on the other cards for about 3 months to do this. After each one was paid off, I’d go to the next and the next until everything was paid off. I did not want to get into more debt. I wanted someone I could trust to look at my bills with me and show me what they would do in my situation.

I now have a nephew (who has a big financial investment company in California) look over my finances every 6 months to see if there is any way to increase my wealth. I do not have an investor-personality. I’ll obsess over it if I do. The great thing about what Penny Forward is doing is that we are able to share what we’ve done about our finance so others can choose if they want to try it. Btw: I paid off my Student Loans this year and have about $1k in credit card debt that I pay off each month.

When someone tries to control your money by playing the “You’re disabled and only I can help you” game, it’s a giant Red Flag. Parents die. Spouses die. Children get married or move away. In the end; it’s on You to pay your bills. Have your check sent to your bank account and do not allow anyone else to control your credit. Make sure to pay your bills on time. Keep your spending to a minimum until you understand fully what it means to have money to spend.

Just because you have money in the bank doesn’t mean you can spend it all. Rent, Utilities, Insurance, Food, Transportation, Laundry, Everything Else has to come first. If you tithe; make sure you’ve paid your bills FIRST. God forgives. The Landlord doesn’t.

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