Going through a divorce teaches you many life lessons. For instance I learned that I am okay on my own, being me is more important then being something I am not, and I don't need anyone to take care of me.
Aside from the life lessons, I've also learned some important money lessons that have shaped and will continue to affect my financial life. Here are my seven money lessons learned:
1. Money earned on my own is worth more than money earned by someone else. I have worked since I was sixteen years old and there is something about earning money that gives you a sense of pride and accomplishment. After my son was born my ex begged me to stay home full-time; I was miserable and we ended up compromising and I went back part-time. I loved my son and spending time with him but I needed to feel I was accomplishing tasks outside of feeding him and changing diapers, it was part of my self fulfillment. I have many stay at home mom friends and I think many would agree earning money on your own instead of receiving an allowance from your spouse makes a big difference.
2. Having debt stinks. In my married life we lived pretty carefree, we had a car payment and a mortgage not unlike many couples today, but no credit card debt. After my divorce I found it tough the first few years to survive on my income alone and fell into the trap of using credit cards to cover bills. It was a vicious cycle but with hard work and patience I paid them off and vowed never to use them that way again.
3. Having a "financial plan" is essential. Without having a plan you are planning to fail. The first step is setting up a budget , and sticking to it. Then work on your long and short term goals. Don't forget about insurance and will planning especially if you have kids.
4. Money does not equal happiness. True happiness does not come from having things, or money. When I was married we had a lot of "things" 2 nice cars, a beautiful home, a boat, a motorcycle and a hot tub. On the outside it looked as if we were living an idyllic life but behind closed doors I was miserable.
5. Lending money to friends and family is almost always a mistake. One thing I've come to realize is that lending money to family or friends is almost never turns out well. If you're going to give money to family, give it and don't lend it. By the same token, don't co-sign. There is usually a reason why someone needs a co-signer. You can check out my story here, Fool Me Once Shame on You, Fool Me Twice Shame on Me .
6. Start saving as early as you can. The earlier you start saving for your future , the better off you'll be. Interest that you earn on your money compounds at an amazing rate if you start saving early. The wonders of compounding interest! It's never too late to start!
7. Check you credit annually. This is especially important after divorce as things you thought were taken care of during your divorce end up coming back to haunt you. To check your credit report for free once a year go to www.annualcreditreport.com
I truly believe going through a divorce builds character and can change your entire view on life and your finances.