A guide for divorced women and single moms

After the emotional trauma of a divorce, reality sets in and slaps you in the face. You are now alone, dealing with so many issues and responsibilities that once were shared. The overwhelm can be paralyzing….or empowering. Your finances and money issues are a huge factor in feeling secure and in control of your future. It’s time to take one big step towards that independence!

Step number one: Understand the importance of your belief system about money.
How were you ‘programmed’ about money? When you were growing up, did you hear, “we can’t afford that” or “money doesn’t grow on trees”? If you were like most, you probably heard those words, or a variation. Time to reprogram those old, useless beliefs.
You see, your thoughts create your feelings, which in turn create your actions, which bring you a certain result. If you keep thinking the same thoughts, you get the same results, plain and simple. So, now what? You replace your old record player with a new high definition, digital recording. Through visualization, meditation or prayer, you need to see your life the way you want it. Visualize and affirm on a daily basis that your finances are in perfect order. Visualize money flowing easily into your life. These new thought patterns will change how you feel about your finances, which will enable to take proactive action towards that goal, which bring desired results. Taking action is key. Just wishing for more money doesn’t work!

Step number two: Put down on paper your current financial picture. Why is this so important? In order to get where you want to go, you need to know where you are starting out! Think of this as the ‘mapquest’ of your finances. You have a starting place and a desired destination. So, how do you do that? Organize, organize and organize. Organize all your bank statements, credit card statements and all other expenses. Make a spreadsheet of every expenditure you have, right down to the salon and coffee shop visits. You must have a handle on what goes out every month and where it goes! Organize your insurance information, living trust, investment accounts etc. Next, do a simple income statement and balance sheet. The income statement shows your income and all expenses. Your balance sheet reflects your assets and liabilities (your home and mortgage). Taking this step will help you start taking control of your finances.

Step number three: Define where you want to be financially. Some would respond to that with “duh, where do you think I want to be”? Seriously, do you know in specific terms? What do you want to make monthly? What is your vision with regards to retirement? Do you know what you need in net worth to be able to retire? At what age do you want to retire? How many years is that? These questions will help define the necessary actions that have to take place to achieve these goals and desires. A must-do action is always pay yourself first. Before you pay your mortgage or rent, write yourself a check. Put whatever amount you can, whether its $20/month or $200/month, just do it every month.

Step number four: Manage your debt and take care of your credit score. Getting out from under credit card debt is a vital step towards reaching your goal of financial freedom. If credit card debt is an ongoing challenge for you, I encourage you to ask yourself a very personal, direct question. Are your purchases a result of a ‘need’ or a ‘desire’? If it is a desire, what emotional trigger is playing a part? As a society, much of our credit card debt stems from emotional purchases. A good rule of thumb is, if you can’t pay your credit card bill in full, don’t put anything on it. Remember that net worth vision we discussed earlier? Your credit card debt has a direct impact on your credit score, which has an effect on many things. Not only does your credit score play a role when you buy or refinance a home, it can effect pricing on your homeowner’s policy and your auto insurance rates. Did you know that some employers will check your credit score before they hire you? Needless to say, you must know your credit score and how to keep it high.

Step number five: TAKE ACTION! Nothing will change for you unless you make it happen. Remember, if you do the same thing you have always done, you can expect the same results. Take some type of action now. Get your papers organized, understand where you are at financially and know where you want to be. Read books on investing, get referrals for financial advisors or take a class on the subject. Taking control of your finances will give you a wonderful sense of empowerment and strength to handle whatever your future holds for you!

Copyright 2007 Patti J. Handy All Rights Reserved www.wisdomwithinyou.com

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Author's Bio: 

Patti Handy, Life Coach, is the founder of Wisdom Within You, a company dedicated to “guiding divorced women and single moms in rebuilding their lives… financially, physically, emotionally and spiritually”. As a member of the Coach Training Alliance certification program, Certified Personal Trainer and with 25 years experience in the financial services industry, Patti brings a unique combination of experiences to her coaching clients. Being a divorced, single mom herself, she understands the fears, challenges and overwhelm faced by others. Visit her website at www.wisdomwithinyou.com to download her FREE special report and sign up for her FREE monthly newsletter.