Marriage and divorce lessons on money

Divorce is a long process of shedding and reinvention, with lots of hard-won money lessons along the way.

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My house was recently sold in what was one of the last steps on the road to settling my divorce.

Regardless of the price my property commanded, selling it was one more loss in a long process of shedding – which is what a marriage breakdown all comes down to.

You shed your identity as a couple and as a wife.

You leave behind cherished memories and possessions that hurt too much to think about.

And when it’s all done, you find yourself stripped back to a strange hybrid self.

The single self you were all those years ago, when you were on your own.

But she is overlaid with a new, wiser, older version, burnished by loss and forged in fire.

This experience has taught me some hard-won lessons.

You can walk away with (almost) nothing and be happy. 

I left a three-bedroom townhouse with a double garage and extra storage. I ended up with one bedroom apartment, no garage and no storage.

It was already furnished, so I left a house full of furniture, appliances, books and ‘stuff’.

Left it there, threw it out, donated it or squeezed it into a few boxes in mum’s garage.

So, I barely own any stuff now. And I am happier than I have been in years.

Money means choices. 

Nobody gets married thinking it will end.

I didn’t think it would happen to me, but sometimes it does, and it did.

And you have to deal with the emotional upheaval just as much as the practical stuff.

Finding rent and bond for a new place is a big expense.

I was able to do that because I had savings.

I could choose a nice apartment in a nice area.

That meant I could focus all my attention on the essentials, like bursting into tears on the train every morning, for example.

Ultimately, nobody is going to look after your interests like you do.

No matter how happy your relationship, you’ll never regret giving yourself the knowledge and tools to be in control of your life and your choices.

You can always reinvent yourself 

You just never know how things will turn out.

You are just one decision away from changing your life, or someone deciding to change it for you.

This is both liberating and terrifying.

The only thing to do is be ready for anything – to embrace the new opportunities or tackle the crises.

And to put away what money and resources you can, in order to do that successfully.

So that’s what I learnt once I picked my life up and put it back together.

If I had to sum it up, I’d say, no matter what happens: you’ve got this.

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