As many of you know, “I Lost My Dream Life 12 Days Before Christmas.” And as horrific as getting dumped can feel (I’m still dealing with all of the emotions), there have also been a handful of logistical nightmares to tend to. Because we co-habitated, and now I am suddenly living on my own. And through all of this undoing and parting ways, I have been SO thankful that I have had enough money saved to deal with all the shit that has come up. And I just want to encourage everyone, ESPECIALLY females, to establish some financial independence, regardless of your relationship status. It has made all the difference in the world. And it makes this whole horrendous process, just slightly less stressful.
I know this might sound alarming to those of you who are now partnered. And I absolutely don’t mean to frighten you, or trigger you. I remember that when he and I were together, I would feel such a stab of pain and anxiety at the thought of us potentially breaking up. And I never wanted to even consider planning for that possibility. However, sometimes life just happens. And unfortunately, I have to honestly admit that I really, really never saw this coming. Of course, we shouldn’t go around anticipating the worst. But, creating a bit of a financial safety net for yourself, for those life curveballs, is a really empowered, incredibly fantastic thing to do for yourself. And I encourage you to view things from this perspective, if you are feeling resistant to the idea of establishing financial independence for yourself.
IN THIS DAY AND AGE, MEN AND WOMEN ALIKE SHOULD MAKE FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE A PRIORITY
I am obviously going to share from my female perspective, as I always do on this blog. However, I do want to note here that things are very different from how they were in the 1950’s, for instance. At times, I still witness people, especially in smaller, more provincial towns, living as they did back then. Where the man makes most of the money, and the woman raises the children, with zero financial independence. But, scenarios like those are becoming more and more rare. And we are now seeing a MUCH different landscape, at least in the United States.
Firstly, so many women I know make more than their male partners. Also, so many of us have astronomical amounts of school loans and other debts. If we are lucky, our parents are financially helping us out much more than ever before. And yet, when that’s the case, it becomes virtually impossible to become financially independent. In addition, housing prices and apartment rentals often make ZERO adjustments for income discrepancies, recessions, and other universal financial realities. And sadly, many, many employers have not raised their pay for their employees in order to account for basic things like inflation and the general exorbitant cost of living in the year 2022. How can we live like this!?
Many younger men are struggling just as much with their financial issues, if not more so than their female friends and lovers. My ex has a master’s degree and a career in his field. And yet, when it comes to money, I am struggling less than he is, for various reasons. Although, we are both suffering financially due to this breakup.
I have even heard of couples who get divorced, but live in the same house because they can’t afford to physically part ways! This issue is no longer a gender issue. Although, I do still believe these financial problems lean heavier on females, which I will get into next.
BULLSHIT FINANCIAL STATISTICS ABOUT WOMEN THAT MAKE MY BLOOD BOIL
I did a podcast episode on the brilliant Sallie Krawcheck, owner of Ellevest, a digital financial advisor for women. You can read more about this and find a link to my episode in my article, “Navigating The Male-Dominated Financial World As A Female.” I strongly encourage you to visit her website. And I am essentially incredibly obsessed with Sallie Krawcheck, her mission, and her overall goddess-ness. She also strives, more than any other financial executive I’ve seen, not just for gender equality, but racial and LGBTQIA+ equality as well. Why is no one else doing this?!
If this topic interests you, I also encourage you to follow Ellevest on Instagram @ellevest. The stats and information they share on a daily basis are fascinating, appalling, and mostly inspiring.
On the Ellevest website, they also list 60+ Stats About Women And Money. I will not share all 60+ stats here, but will instead give you a bit of a teaser.
-The gender pay gap, average pay to a man’s dollar: 86 cents for Asian women, 82 cents for women overall, 75 cents for white women, 61 cents for Black women, 58 cents for Native women, and 52 cents for Latinx women. (We don’t have reliable stats yet about non-binary people’s pay gaps.)
-Women on average reach their peak earnings at age 44. Men keep climbing for much longer and reach their peak earnings at 55
-Progress toward closing the wage gap has stalled. It was closing rapidly through 1995, but has been relatively flat since
-Women see wages drop after having a child, men do not: Mothers on average are paid 71 cents to every dollar paid to fathers
-For every 100 men promoted and hired to a manager level, only 72 women are promoted and hired. So men end up holding 62% of manager jobs.
–Only 37 of the CEOs on the Fortune 500 list are women … and that’s a record high. There are zero Black or Latinx women on the list, and zero non-binary people–Ellevest
WHY SHOULD WE ALL ESTABLISH FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE?
I can really only answer this question by sharing my own experience. Although, I’m going to try avoid getting into the numbers too deeply, because I suppose I’m old fashioned. However, I will get into the details of what I have had to navigate financially, post-breakup. And it sucks! But because I have established my own financial independence, long before I met him, it sucks just a bit less.
MY FUCKING RENT EXPENSE IS NOW DOUBLED
I have said it once, and I’ll keep saying it. The culture that I live in does NOT set up single human beings to succeed, especially when it comes to money. I actually asked my rental property to possibly reduce my rental rate, now that there will only be one of us living in our unit. And not only did they not care, but they increased the rent as they do every year. So, I am paying slightly more than double for my rent. Imagine going from paying something like $800/month to $1,600/month!
MY COST OF UTILITIES, CALBE, AND INTERNET ARE NOW DOUBLED
Same issue, different details. Now that he’s gone, for all of the bills that we typically split down the middle, I’m paying for all of it. The electric bill for January 2022 was $450 (!!) because it’s been so cold here in Pennsylvania. I am going to change our cable and internet plan to try to save some money there, but it won’t amount to much.
I ALSO HAVE TO PAY HIM!!!
Now, I have to say that he’s been fair through this entire breakup. He has agreed to pay half of the rent until our lease is up (because I didn’t sign a contract knowing he was going to ruin my life). And he has been paying half for utilities as well until I can get a bit more financially stable. However, because he is now being taken off the lease, I have to pay him his share of his security deposit and the final month’s rent that we paid up front. This is not his fault, but still, after taking on all of these added expenses, I still have to pay him hundreds of dollars. He is being patient about this and is letting me get this to him when I can. Which is very generous, thankfully.
And so, because I had saved heavily during my single years, before I met him, and saved even heavier when I was with him, I’m going to be okay. When we were together, everything was easier, financially speaking. I could easily pay my expenses with money to spare. And when I had money to spare, I definitely enjoyed spending it within reason, but also saved very seriously.
It’s sad to admit now, but when we were together, I wasn’t saving for emergencies. I was saving for a down payment on a house that we could live in together. And I was saving for a wedding! So, once the relationship ended, what did I do with that wedding fund? I put it towards my auto loan and paid off my car! Which I think is a super, badass, goddess move, if I do say so myself. I also really needed to make room in my finances for this astronomical, bullshit, monthly rent payment.
Okay, I must pause for a moment and just step out of my victim mentality. Since my break-up, I’ve definitely been struggling with this a bit. And why wouldn’t I? My life was kind of upheaved against my will. So, I think it’s okay to allow myself some pity parties. However, I don’t think it’s ultimately very productive to stay in this mental space. So, I want to pause here and write a short gratitude list.
1. I’m thankful that I can afford to stay in this apartment, that not only meets my needs, but also exceeds them.
2. I’m thankful that even though it will be really tight, I do in fact have enough money to stay in my current apartment, even with all of my increased expenses.
3. I’m thankful that my ex has been willing to assist with expenses during this interim period of him leaving our lease early, and recognize that some people in his situation would just say, “Go fuck yourself.”
4. I’m thankful that I have a nice amount of savings to fall back on in case of emergencies.
I could actually keep going, which is what is so amazing about gratitude lists. I start listing all of these things, and then I start becoming thankful for everything, like even the air I’m breathing! However, I’m going to stop now, because this post is monster long already.
Read my related article, “Gently Emerging From My State Of Victimhood.”
I have also been sharing on my podcast about how I’ve been coping with all of these changes. You can check out my episode, “My Booty Got Dumped Just Before Christmas, And Here’s How I’ve Been Coping.”
SAVE IN THE NAME OF YOURSELF
Look, I know we all have different situations. And some of you might not even be able to comfortably pay your bills yet! If that’s the case, don’t worry, you will be okay. Just hang in there and do what you need to do. And for those of you who have a bit more income, and are in a position to save, but aren’t, I think you should start. You don’t even have to do this in the name of emergencies or potential tragedies. When I opened my savings account years ago, I could only afford to add $25 a week. And guess what I named my account?
THE GODDESS ATTAINABLE
Yes, I was saving for me, and establishing my own financial independence in my own way. Because I know that, although we hate to admit this, money is power. And when people abuse money and power, it’s a disgusting and hurtful act, and is the current plight that is affecting of our entire globe. However, when we establish financial independence so we can create choices and options for ourselves, that creates healthy goddess power.
I am so fortunate to be able to stay in my current apartment. And I wanted to stay because I really love it, and it meets so many of my living needs and desires at the moment. I can afford to live without taking on a roommate, or having to move back home temporarily, like my ex has had to do. It’s gonna be fucking tight, that’s for sure. But we will see how this year goes, and I will reassess next year when I’m a bit less emotionally distraught.
SAVE, EVEN IF YOU’RE IN LOVE
If you are in love and partnered, you are most likely in a great position financially, compared to a single person. All I can say is, take advantage of this! And I don’t mean open a joint savings account with your partner. No. I mean, open a savings account for you! I swear I’m not sponsored by Ellevest. However, they make it so easy to begin investing, even in small ways. I have an account with them and I only contribute $10/month, ha! However, it’s invested in the stock market (don’t be scared, and do your research). This means that my money will grow as the market grows. And over time, even accounting for recessions, depressions, and crashes, I will make more money invested in the market, than if I was just saving cash under my mattress (which is comparable to a regular savings account with very little return). However, if this makes you nervous, Ellevest offers savings accounts as well.
I could say so much more about all of this. And maybe I will in future blog posts! But for now, please be well, please take care of yourselves, don’t worry about your future, but instead PLAN for it! And think of the fun you will have when you have more money for yourself to play with, to keep you safe, and to share with others. xo
THANK YOU FOR READING!
How do you feel about your financial independence, and establishing that for yourself? I know money is such an emotional topic. And I’m sure I cling to it out of fear, but also hope and joy. I hope you enjoyed reading this article, and I would LOVE to hear your thoughts!
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Featured photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash
Empty wallet photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash
Burning money photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash
I am badass photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash