The Solo Journey Challenge

by | May 17, 2024

By choice or otherwise, 90% of us women will be left solely in charge of our household finances. Whether you become suddenly single through divorce or widowhood, the experience is a financial solo journey challenge. You may be dealing with half the resources, a reduced household income, or unfamiliarity with all of the personal finance tasks involved, or any or all or more of the above. One widow I spoke with recently said it well, “It’s financial. Period.”

Moving Forward

I agree with her. Moving forward after any loss (divorce is a loss too, not just widowhood) is difficult. Even when your financial house is in order, picking up the pieces to move forward on your own is still a huge paperwork process to get through on top of the changes and decision-making that takes place.

And we are doing all of this during a time when our brain is trying to re-acclimate to our new situation. I watched the most amazing video recently that shows and explains why the feeling of brain fog, after any loss, happens. We literally need to give our brains time to rewire our new world!

It Changes Your Life!

So, when we are experiencing loss and all the paperwork, decision-making, and brain changes that go with all of that, it is natural to feel overwhelmed. Your sudden singleness changes your life and yet the challenges of a solo journey face you every day as life keeps marching forward. You likely still have work, family, and/or home responsibilities that continue daily. It doesn’t feel fair that life keeps happening all around you as if nothing has changed!

Making Connections

We are all different in how we make our way forward. Some may find it helpful to connect with a structured group like DivorceCare or GriefShare. Others may find one-on-one counseling to be the best. Connecting with other women who’ve gone through the same experiences, reading books on the topic, or gradually working through the change on your own are all paths that you can take.

Taking Action

To help move through the overwhelm and feel some sense of control again, a list or step-by-step guide can keep things moving forward even while your brain and emotions are still figuring out this new life. That’s where a book, a class, or a series of steps can become a helpful tool.

My Suddenly Single Course & Bundle is one example of a video course that provides steps and tools that can be self-paced and in the privacy of your own home. We all learn and take action in different timeframes and formats so choose a method that feels best for you. The key is that you give yourself grace and patience but also the nudge and resources to move forward.

Reinventing Yourself

Suddenly living a single life is an adjustment and takes intentionality to force yourself to redefine who you are and what you want your future life and self to look like. Reinventing yourself after having been one half of a couple is not usually something we ever intended or planned to have to do. Yet here we are. Circumstances force you to rethink your life and what’s important to you.

Our Likelihood of Loss Is High

You may have watched a grandmother, mother, sister, or friend go through a loss. I have an aunt that lost three spouses, and I see her as one of the most resilient women I know. One of her losses was due to divorce. With over 50% of marriages ending in divorce (and over 60% of second marriages, and over 70% of third marriages), it has become a higher likelihood for a majority of us.

And widowhood is even more likely. 80% of the one million new widows in the United States each year are women. 80% of married men die married but 80% of married women die single. I guess it’s no wonder my aunt experienced both divorce and widowhood. Yet she found a silver lining in each one of her past relationships and today is still the most positive person I know. So easy to say yet so hard to do but a healthy mindset is a choice. Whenever our time comes, I hope we choose resilience and positivity too.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Is your solo financial journey where you want it to be? What has helped you adapt? What advice can you share with our community? Please join the discussion!

Marie Burns is a Certified Financial Planner, Speaker, and Author of the bestselling Financial Checklist books. Find Marie on Facebook or contact her at [email protected]

This article was first published at 60 and Me – a community that helps women over 60 live happy, healthy and financially secure lives.