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Divorced Moms: What to Do When Conventional Financial Wisdom Doesn’t Work

In the years after my divorce I’ve read many books on personal finances from a number of the most popular voices in the field. I’ve reviewed several of them on my blog, and I’ve worked at putting many of the recommended steps into practice.

But sometimes conventional financial wisdom doesn’t work for divorced moms, as I have seen time and again in my own life and in the lives of other divorced women. Instead of beating yourself up for not being able to follow the experts’ advice or feeling guilty for spending too much or saving too little, there is another way.

I’m currently reading the new book from Tony Robbins – “MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom.” As I read the section on how anyone – anyone – can save, and the examples of people who didn’t make very much money and still managed to amass large savings, I grew anxious and irritable. Familiar feelings of guilt and “not good enough” began to surface. If these people could do it, why couldn’t I?

Then I realized that there wasn’t a single example of a divorced mom, or even a married woman with children, among those who saved at least 10% of their income while earning very little. While it’s certainly desirable to save–and a worthwhile goal to set aside at least 10% of your income–it may not be feasible for a breadwinner mom providing for a family, especially in the first few years after divorce.

This awareness led me to challenge the conventional financial wisdom and my feelings of guilt about not being able to follow the experts’ advice. Conventional wisdom doesn’t always work, but that doesn’t mean there is no hope. Nor does it mean that  divorced moms’ financial needs can’t be met.

In fact, our real security doesn’t come from our emergency funds or our retirement accounts as I wrote about here. We live in an abundant universe that can provide for our needs in many ways.

So here are some ideas to try if conventional wisdom isn’t working:

  • Start with the spiritual. Trust in the abundance of the universe to bring solutions beyond what you can envision with the conventional approaches outlined in most financial books and espoused by most financial planners. Make a choice to trust and to invite divine guidance into your financial life.
  • Make a conscious effort to practice living from a place where your needs are always met. This might include daily prayer and meditation, writing affirmations or keeping a gratitude journal, reminding yourself aloud of your choice to trust, and using tools such as Asara Lovejoy’s The One Command.
  • Focus on what you have. What we focus on grows, so recognizing the ways in which we already have what we need and the ways we have been taken care of helps us gain right perspective. List all the ways your needs are being met and keep your focus there.
  • Take actions to increase your financial well-being from a place of connection with the spiritual rather than from fear or anxiety or desperation. Actions are required, but right action from the right spirit will make a world of difference. Every divorced mom’s actions will be different. Some of you may find the courage to look at your spending and identify places to cut or to ask for more support from your former husband or for a raise. Others may decide it’s time to look for new work or start a new business. You may need to say no to your kids and involve them in financial discussions. The important point here is to remain open and relaxed so that we receive what we need – whether that be inspiration to specific actions or direct financial resources.

It may be that elements of conventional wisdom are possible over time, but if they don’t work for you today in your life after divorce, don’t despair. Try starting with the spiritual and see where it leads. For more information and help, download a copy of my free ebook: 7 Practices for Financial Well-being after Divorce. You can find it here.

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  • Andrea Conway March 3, 2015, 12:14 pm

    Joy, thank you for telling it like it is! There can be times in our lives – and post-divorce is likely to be one of them – when there really is no surplus. If we feel bad about ourselves because of that, we only add to the stress. I appreciate that you suggest putting the spiritual connection first – this has always come through for me. I appreciate your honesty.

    • Thanks, Andrea. I so agree. If we’re doing the best we can, there’s no point in making matters worse by beating up on ourselves. Things have always gotten better for me when I can relax and become aware of my spiritual connection and then act, as I wrote in the post. Glad to hear that’s been true for you as well. – Joy

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