Real-life, practical advice for the newly-divorced, separated, widowed or suddenly single, by two 40-something single moms
About this project
Why We’re Doing This
Today’s world of high divorce rates, higher life expectancy rates for women than men, and increasing numbers of women who never married at all, means women are often solely responsible for their well-being, including their financial health. Not surprisingly, perhaps as a reflection of the current economic state of affairs, women often find themselves struggling financially, living paycheck to paycheck and treading water in a sea of money worries. With staggering debt plaguing our nation – the average family has eight credit cards and the U.S. government debt in the trillions – knowledge about money is crucial to staying afloat. Sadly, most people have no clue where to begin. They’ve been taking (perhaps outdated) money advice from their parents or well-meaning friends. Even our money managers, accountants, and brokers seem to have their share of financial woes, so how do you know who to listen to? The bottom line is, women, whether single now or not, need to get involved with and educated about money in order to maximize their worth and make money work for them. We can empower ourselves through education. That’s what this book is about. We’ve made our mistakes and are still learning many lessons. Our experiences and research are geared to help other women develop healthy money habits and become educated, and thus, empowered, about money.
TAKE A LOOK INSDE OUR BOOK
Suddenly Single Women’s Guide to Finances
From Struggling to Secure Single, at any age
Real-life advice for the newly-divorced, separated, widowed or suddenly single (for whatever reason) woman, by two 40-something single moms who have gone through the ups and downs of marriages, relationships, layoffs, teenagers, pets and dwindling finances and lived to write about it.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Finance 201
Chapter 2: Our Stories
Chapter 3: Getting Your House in Order
Chapter 4: Making Decisions
Chapter 5: Managing Bills
Chapter 6: Juggling Jobs
Chapter 7: Reinventing Yourself
Chapter 8: Moving Forward
Chapter 9: Resources
You’re divorced/separated/widowed/newly single or seriously contemplating a change in relationship status. Now what? With some 41 million people widowed, divorced or separated and another 59.9 million who never married, according to 2000 U.S. census numbers (which have undoubtedly risen since then), women increasingly find themselves on their own, responsible for managing their money, more than ever before.
No matter how you’ve come to find yourself flying solo, smoothly navigating your path involves making smart decisions and taking the right steps to protect yourself and ensure your best interests are met.
So, how do you know if you’re making the right choices? We found there weren’t too many practical guidebooks for suddenly single women out there that extended beyond the emotional, despite the thousands of new divorcees annually that need this advice. We learned the hard way what (not) to do, and this book was born out of our, and many other single women’s experiences.
We’re not high-level financial executives, we’re regular people – single moms who’ve had to figure out how to fend for ourselves and our children to learn how to support ourselves, on our own, on one income – who have learned through experience what not to do, as well as what we wished we had known.
It’s our hope that sharing some of our “wisdom born of pain” will prevent others from making the same mistakes. We’ve been there – we’re still here – singles, surviving in what sometimes seems to be a sea of financial struggle. Security is the goal, and knowledge is the vehicle to get us there. Knowledge is power, and becoming educated about how to make the most of your money is empowering. So we share our hard-found education humbly and with the hope that it will help some of you singles out there move from struggling and surviving to secure and thriving.
Chapter 1: Finance 201
Many suddenly single women find themselves dealing with finances for the first time. And unless you lived in one of the few states that require financial education in high school, you likely learned all you know about finances on your own. While not the case for all of us, money is often managed by the men in our lives, and we’d rather not worry about it. If this is you, the first step is to get yourself a basic education about finances.
I married my college sweetheart, my dashing prince, expecting to sail off into the sunset to live our fairy tale, but we didn’t live happily ever after.
We got divorced after more than two decades of togetherness, two children and a move from halfway around the globe.
I was beyond overwhelmed but I made a conscious effort to trudge on with the sole responsibility of two young children, a few part-time jobs and a mountain of debt courtesy of my ex.
I love my life even more now, even if an important, long-term relationship ended to make me flourish. As I have been told many, many times, there is always a lesson somewhere in there. You may not see it right away behind tear-filled eyes, but there are lessons to be gleaned from every setback, disappointment or heartache.
I made the decision to leave my kids’ father and move from Kauai to California when my kids were 1 and almost 5 years old. It’s been a learning experience, to say the least, but somehow, I’ve managed to keep my kids in our upscale community throughout their school careers.
I’ve supported them on my own, with minimal help from family, for 12 years. It has not been easy housing and raising two children on one paycheck, and I’ve learned all kinds of ways to make and stretch dollars during these lean years.
Despite the struggles, I am living proof that no matter how bleak the picture, you can figure it out and make it work. As the saying goes, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Most finance professionals will tell you that you should have anywhere from three to six months’ worth of living expenses. This is your emergency fund and your peace of mind.. Say, you spend $3,000 a month, it is highly recommended you have anywhere from $9,000 to $18,000 in an easy-to-access account.
Of course, for most people, including single women like us, it’s not that easy to have that much extra money stashed away. You just have to start somewhere. It could be $100 this month and $200 next month when you get that extra project. Just keep socking money away. It is even better if you automate it and have $50 going to your emergency fund automatically from your checking account.
You can also draw from this account when you get hit with unexpected huge plumbing bill. I did! Or when you have that emergency car repair. You will stress less, believe me. Do it now.
Other things we’ll cover:
The Rule of 72
Modern tools for money
How to save
Protecting lump sums
What to ask your financial advisor
Documents every single needs
Risks and challenges
Publishing a book is every writer’s dream. And we are no exception!
We decided to go the self-publishing route because of the stiff competition out there in the publishing world. Statistics have it that for every 50 promising book ideas, only one lands an actual book deal! Plus, we’ll have more creative and editorial control, and more freedom to hire some local talent – artist Jen Livia who designed our book cover and photographer John Foronda who will take our photos, among others.
We would like a first run of 500 to 1,000 paperback copies of our book, hopefully even more if villages of women and men who care about their women will embrace this project wholeheartedly. About 65-75% of our budget will go towards printing and shipping costs alone. The remaining 25-35% will cover labor and creative costs, plus miscellaneous fees.
While we have both tried to anticipate potential challenges and delays down the road, we don’t anticipate any major setbacks. We have given ourselves plenty of wiggle room by promising an August 2015 delivery of the book.
We promise to update everyone on Kickstarter just in case our August delivery date gets pushed back for whatever reason.