Your Other 8 Hours: Financial Help for Women:
5 Effective Strategies
By Robert Pagliarini, Tribune Media Services
In a divorce, a woman's life is turned upside down -- nearly everything about her existence changes. But for the man, sometimes the most he has to change is his phone number and address. Women who had left jobs to raise families are at a significant disadvantage and find it difficult as they try to re-enter the workforce they left years earlier. I don't have marriage advice, but if you do a few simple things in the other eight hours, you can survive a divorce and get back on your feet as quickly as possible.
I've been thinking a lot about my own experience growing up in a single-parent home (my mom raised five kids after my father left), because a good friend of mine and her two young boys were just abandoned. One day they were a family, and the next day her husband was leaving her for another woman. She is now struggling to survive. Not only is she trying to deal with the emotions of the situation, but she has to raise her two boys and find a way to pay the mortgage.
So, what must women do to protect themselves and their family in case a marriage ends in divorce? I'm glad you asked ...
1. Stay connected socially. Your social network is your lifeline in a divorce. You must have a network of friends you can call on for help -- a person you can stay with while you and your family get back on your feet, or someone to look after your children while you interview. If you go to church/temple, consider getting involved in small groups so you can extend and deepen your support network.
2. Stay connected professionally. Don't quit your network if you quit your job. Make sure your professional network grows, or at the very least remains stable. A really efficient way to stay connected is to set up a meeting with two or three others in your network once or twice a month. You should also communicate at least once a month with every person in your professional network. Phone calls are best, but you can also ping them with a short e-mail or note.
3. Keep up your skills. Mothers, and new mothers especially, have very little "free time," but keeping up your skills is critical. Invest the other eight hours to keep your licenses and/or credentials up to date. You could also take a night class at your local community college. This furthers your knowledge and gives you a chance to network with professors (who are usually practitioners in your field by day) and other students.
4. Know your finances. This is a biggie, gals. Don't leave it to your husband to handle everything. Schedule a "financial date" with your husband once a month to review credit-card statements, investment accounts and your budget. There are several easy programs you can use to get a quick snapshot of your financial health, but my favorite is Mint.com.
5. Create a side business. One of the best ways to protect your family and earn some extra money is to start a side business in the other eight hours. You could turn your hobby into a moneymaking business, start a blog or invent something. For a starting point, check out the Top 10 Cre8tor Channels from my book, "The Other 8 Hours: Maximize Your Free Time to Create New Wealth & Purpose" (see: www.other8hours.com/book/cre8tor-channels).
I'm passionate about this topic because it hits close to home and, unfortunately, it affects a lot of homes. Most research shows that 45 percent to 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, and that 84 percent of single parents are women.
Protect yourself and the women in your life by sharing this message.
Robert Pagliarini is a CBS MoneyWatch columnist and the author of "The Other 8 Hours: Maximize Your Free Time to Create New Wealth & Purpose" and the national best-seller "The Six Day Financial Makeover." Visit YourOther8Hours.com.