Debt, Divorce and Determination

by : Patti Handy



As if dealing with the emotional roller coaster of divorce isn’t enough, the debt and financial challenges that go along with it, can frighten even the strongest of souls. Although it can be a very confusing time, there are some simple steps you can take to keep debt in check. Take things one day at a time, but don’t lose sight of the big picture. Here are some tips to keep you focused:

*Emotions are high and the need to take care of ourselves is even higher. Be careful not to get caught in the trap of ‘emotional spending’. I do encourage taking good care of you, but don’t get caught up in ‘the now’. Those credit card bills will show up and when they do, you’ll be dealing with additional stress.

*When you go to purchase something, ask yourself a quick question.? "Is this something I need or is it a desire." Sounds simple enough, but the tendency is to buy now and think about it later. We all do that from time to time. If it’s a desire, give it a day or two and determine if you still want it. Most times, that initial impulse to buy will dissipate.

*When dealing with credit card debt, I recommend collecting all your bills and organizing them. I realize that’s not your idea of a fun time, but I do have a purpose. Put them in an excel type spreadsheet, with each store name, total balance and interest rate charged. You may be surprised as to how high some of those rates are! Once you have that organized, you can start a plan of attack in paying those off. Start by calling the creditors on the cards and negotiate a better rate, especially those at the higher rate. Ask to speak to a supervisor if you don’t get the answer you want. Then start paying off the card with the highest interest rate. If it is a department store card, cut the card up, but don’t close the account. Closing the account can actually cause your credit scores to drop. Continue to pay down as much as you can and stay consistent. If you have credit cards that were joint and you are now going through a divorce, I recommend transferring whatever balance is owed to another card (whatever you and your ex decide) and close that account. With a divorce, closing the account is really the best option.

As the emotional, turbulent times begin to subside, you will be pleased that you kept your finances in order. Stay determined and always believe in yourself!