Starting over is never easy, whether it’s from a divorce, a job loss, or bankruptcy. Here are 8 steps you can take that will help you not only recover but thrive:
1. Get a job, then get a job you love.
If you are like most recently divorced people, you can find yourself needing to supplement your income by finding a new job. Finding work that you love may take longer than you can tolerate, so consider taking a job just for the pay until you can discover a job you can really love doing. You will probably have to work longer than if you had stayed married, but finding work that brings you joy will ensure you won’t mind working longer.
2. Cut expenses.
You should look carefully at your monthly expenses and start cutting wherever you can. If that means driving your paid-off car a little longer or finding a less expensive place to live, you will find that having the extra financial cushion will feel better than spending on luxuries.
Since you will be relying largely on yourself now, it is important that you have an emergency fund. Financial experts recommend having at least six months’ worth of living expenses in savings.
4. Avoid risk.
While you may be tempted to go for larger returns from your portfolio, this strategy can prove risky. Look for investments that offer steady growth, sacrificing speed for safety.
5. Check into a Roth IRA.
A Roth IRA lets your money grow tax-free and the beauty of it is that a Roth can function as both a retirement account and an emergency fund. If you need access to your funds, a Roth allows you to withdraw monies without taxes or penalties.
6. Take advantage of your employer match.
Many employers today offer matching contributions to a retirement plan, and not taking advantage of this benefit is like ignoring free money. Companies typically require that you invest a certain percentage of your pay before they match it, so be sure you contribute enough to get the match.
7. Make wise housing decisions.
If you kept the house after your divorce, you need to be sure that the maintenance costs are manageable and that you are not making yourself “house poor” for emotional reasons. If you think moving is a good idea, look for a place that has little lawn maintenance requirements and is energy-efficient. Renting may be the best option until you can afford to buy as maintenance costs are all covered in the rent.
8. Don’t take Social Security too early.
The longer you wait to claim your Social Security benefits, the more income you will receive. Today, the conventional wisdom is to wait until age 70 to receive the maximum possible benefit. If you were married for at least 10 years and are over 62, you may be able to collect Social Security based on your ex-spouse’s work record. Before you file a claim, be sure you understand all your options.
At Cistaro Law, we are not only concerned with your divorce today, but also with your quality of life long after your case is over. Your family law issues deserve to be managed with dignity and respect. You can prepare to civilly resolve your divorce, heal, and move on with your life with a legal team that has helped individuals all over New Jersey to heal and prosper. Contact us today for your free consultation.