I’ve been divorced for four years and have a teenage son. I work free- lance, but my support is my alimony. My concern is, should I go back to work during this difficult teenage time or should I stay home and take advantage of my situation until I have no other choice financially?
Returning to the work force “when you have no other choice” will be too late. If you are relying on alimony with no other means of support, I would invite you to come up with a serious financial plan. Yes, teenage years can be challenging, but those years also free you up because your child is becoming independent. I do believe you can be a responsible mom and continue to guide your son even if you work. You will have some restructuring to do, but in the end you will have financial security. One thing to look at is whether your alimony is modifiable. If you go back to work, can your ex take you back to court to lower your alimony and/or child support? If so, calculate if it is financially in your favor to work outside the home. Factor in what you will make, what if anything you will lose if the alimony is modified, taxes, etc. As moms our priority is always our children, but you also have to take your future into account. You’re not being selfish, you are being smart.
Financially, I am a disaster; I can’t seem to get a handle on my finances. I can’t fig- ure out why it’s so hard for me since I took care of all the finances when I was married. Any suggestions?
Since you managed the finances before, it’s not a matter of knowing what to pay or organizing your bills, it’s a matter of mindset; you are still living in the old one. Maybe when you were mar- ried you could get manicures every two weeks and belong to the country club or go out to dinner twice a week. You need to step back and look at your budget now. Women get into trouble with their finances for many reasons. Perhaps they don’t want to adjust their lifestyle or their kids put pressure on them to con- tinue with vacations as before and guilt sets in. Or, quite simply, they don’t know how to live on a budget. The fig- ures you see in front of you are exactly what you have. No checkbook gremlins are going to come at night and add zeros to your balance. Be honest about your situation now, as painful as reality may be. It will save you tons of stress later caused by debt.
NOTE TO SELF
I am willing to let go of old ways that are no longer to my benefit.
The Road to Wealth by Suze Orman
Debbie Martinez is a Certified Divorce Life Coach. She has given workshops on divorce and women’s issues and has offices in South Miami. For more information, call 305- 984-5121 or go to <www.thepowerofdivorce- coach.com>