Ways To Survive Financially Post-Divorce – From Someone Who Has Lived It

I divorced when I was 30 years old and hadn’t worked in a long time.  I gave up maintenance and any sort of financial spousal support so that I could have sole decision-making and more custody of my children.  I was also a stay-at-home mom and wasn’t confident in my knowledge of finances to know what initial steps to take in order to build my wealth back up in the short term (like budgeting or savings) or long-term (retirement and investments). 

I was starting from the bottom.  After starting from scratch, I realized I knew more about finances than I gave myself credit for and since then have built a successful career by being able to share my experience and expertise with others. Educating and empowering others is my passion so they can begin a new chapter after divorce and make decisions to improve their financial story into retirement.

7 Financial Tips to Build Wealth 


  1. Create a Budget. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and go out with your girlfriends or buy some new clothes, but at least KNOW what you are spending your money on. Write down your expenses and what you bring in to see if you at least have a positive cash flow.  Don’t create debt. 


  1. Invest in yourself. Look for a higher paying job, add a certification, or find a job with better benefits.  If your husband was the breadwinner, decide what you career you may want to develop and start taking the necessary steps.   Don’t sell yourself short!  If you haven’t worked much outside the home, know that all the things you did for your family built your organization skills, your communication skills, and your time management skills.  Start trying on new job ideas to find out what you are passionate about, and then start taking the steps needed to find your dream job.  The sky’s the limit!


  1. Pay yourself first. Out of every paycheck, maintenance check or child support check, allot a certain amount each month to retirement savings, vacation fund and/or emergency fund.  No one else but you is responsible for saving for these things.  Start separate savings accounts for each so you can take a trip or pay for new tires, if needed.  Something always happens so an emergency fund is key.


  1. Pay attention to your investments. There is no better secret to building wealth than routinely saving each month and reviewing your allocations at least once per year.  Seriously, like Einstein said, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world.  He who understands it, earns it…he who doesn’t…pays it.”
  1. Use credit cards for free stuff. Make sure you pay them off each month.  Everyone loves to get free flights and cash back, so use your credit cards to your advantage.  Most companies allow you to obtain a new card every three years.  Time it so you can get the bonus rewards every three years.  Then treat yourself to a vacation!
  1. Get a line of credit on your home. Tap into the maximum equity you can while you are still receiving maintenance payments.  Having cash readily available is optimal for confidence.  Your house is most people’s biggest untapped asset.  There will be a fee to set up the line of credit, but no charge if you don’t use it.  It’s the fastest and probably the cheapest way to access funds if you need to in a hurry. 
  1. Take advantage of employer benefits. Make sure you know what your company offers in the way of health, dental, vision, long and short-term disability, 401(k) match, life insurance, and other “freebies” or discounts.  Consult your employee manual for all the benefits for which you are entitled.  Never leave money on the table.  If your employer matches up to 5% of your 401(k) contribution per month, then make sure you are at least contributing 5% per month.

Next Step – Retirement

It is important for women to think about retirement and investments because no one else is going to do that for you.  You are in charge!  Pay attention.  Social Security is minimal.  You will thank yourself later for being mindful to put money away each month, max out your retirement plan at work, and to routinely discuss your investment allocations with your financial advisor. 

Investment advisory products and services are made available through AE Wealth Management, LLC (AEWM), a Registered Investment Advisor.

Next Chapter Wealth Strategies is not affiliated with or endorsed by the U.S. Government or any governmental agency.

The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation. 1733795 – 04/23