Tag Archives: pandemic

Financially Adjusting to Divorce


                                                          Photo: Yay Images

Dear Readers,

The COVID pandemic has forced us to take a very uncomfortable look at our finances. In the US, images of people waiting hours in incredibly long food lines, have been distressing. No one dreamt it would take such a devastating toll on multiple areas of our lives. There is a new sense of urgency to be better prepared for the next crisis. The average person would not survive a financial apocalypse of sorts when emergency funds disappear. As someone who works with the homeless, I see it all day, every day. Millions are just one or two paychecks away from being homeless. Over the next few months, expect posts surrounding, money, credit, remote working etc, all valuable lessons I have learned over the years, or from people around me.

I believe in ripping the bandaid off in one fell swoop, instead of suffering bit by bit. Let’s face it, divorces happen every day. I watched a recent news report, showing how much divorce rates have skyrocketed since COVID. All of a sudden, husbands and wives have to work from home, all day, every day. Throw 24/7 kid care and chores into the mix. If the marriage was already shaky before, the pandemic pushed many over the ledge. A divorce can dramatically change your socio-economic circumstances, but, like everything else in life, requires us to take an inventory of our lives.

Are you going through a marital breakup? If so, you might feel like you’re in a whirlwind. You’re worried. Will you be okay financially? Take a look at the following points to recognize you’ll likely make it through, with a few adjustments here and there.

  1. Do the math. Figure out if you can support yourself financially with the dollars you now earn. Remember to include other funds that will be coming in, such as child support, alimony, or stock dividends.
  2. Act now. If you’re going to need a new or different job or additional income, start doing something about it now. If you begin bringing in additional dollars right away, it’ll take some of the pressure off later.
  3. Determine monthly expenses. How much are your monthly outgoing expenditures? Can you count your basic expenditures on one hand: mortgage or rent, car payment, utility bill, food costs, and phone/internet charges?
  4. On the other hand, you’ll have insurance, entertainment, and savings. If you have a lot of monthly payments like 2 or 3 credit cards and more than one car payment, it’s time to consider spending cuts.
  5. Don’t panic. If you need to make some reductions, decide what you’ll cut out. Maybe you can sell one of the cars to eliminate a car payment and reduce your car insurance. Perhaps you’ll decrease cell phone charges or cut out paying for your phone landline.
  6. Maybe you can combine your 2 or 3 credit card payments all onto one card for 1 monthly payment for everything you owe. If you must, cancel your Netflix account or whatever extra accounts you can do without, at least for now.
  7. Once you have your expenses under control and know how your money situation will be, you can add back services you want.
  8. Take an honest look. Are you living equal to or below your means financially? Do you and your child really need to live in a 2,700 square foot home? Or could you be perfectly happy in a home that’s half the size? Consider this: you’d be paying half the electric bill (you now pay) every month plus lower rent.
  9. Once you get some time as a single person under your belt, you can upgrade your standards later.
  10. The point is to ensure you’re not living right up to the edge of what you make. If you are, it can make for a rather nerve-wracking life. With some planning, you might be able to reduce your expenses and still live a financially comfortable life.
  • Heads up regarding your tax return (if living in the US). If you’re not yet divorced as of the last day of the year (12/31), you can still file jointly if you both agree to do so. Also, if you’ll have custody of your children the most, ensure your attorney declares in your divorce decree that you can claim them as dependents.
    If you’re paying alimony, have your attorney include that in your decree. This way, you can claim the amount you pay as a tax deduction.
  • Take care when splitting up retirement funds. This issue gets sticky. Talk with your attorney about the best way to handle such funds because, depending on your age and how you do it, you might have to pay early withdrawal fees plus taxes on the withdrawn amount. There are ways to do it without paying these penalties.

When it comes to making it through a divorce financially, recognize millions of people have survived it and you can, too. Can you recall the toughest financial times you’ve had? The smarts you possess got you through. If you follow the above suggestions, you’ll be well on your way to successfully surviving the financial consequences of a divorce. You will be okay!

Until the next post,
Best,
Juan 

what to do when


Dear Readers,

I am almost finished with the WFH series. In my own life, the past several months have taken more from me, than I had to give at the time. Like everything else in life, you persevere, dust yourself off, and keep it moving. Working from home can be a real struggle when you aren’t used to it. However, it can be a lot worse when you don’t have supportive employers or managers, especially during difficult times. So, what can you do if yours isn’t? Here, you’ll discover some key steps you can take if you feel you aren’t being fully supported.

Take time for self-reflection
Take a look at your colleagues; what have they earned in the past several years? Which characteristics and skills helped to get them promoted? Consider your own goals, and whether or not this is a company fully aligned with your own goals. Do you want to be promoted within the next year or two? Are there opportunities for growth?
Consider how you have communicated with your manager in the past. What type of relationship do you have with them? How do you perform in meetings-do you sit back and let others take the lead? Have you communicated with your manager about your goals? Provided you have not taken on the role of a victim, and are ready to be assertive, let’s look at the other tips below.

Let them know how you feel
The first step you should take if you feel your employer or manager isn’t being supportive is to talk to them. This can be intimidating, but your employer may not even realize the extent of your concerns. Unless your manager can read minds,  most are very busy trying to put out multiple fires. Consider writing down what you want to say. Think of ways you feel they could be more supportive. They may ask you what you’d like them to do or how they could help, being prepared helps. Communicates your feelings, diplomatically, and honestly.

Team up with other coworkers
Did your efforts to have a conversation with your employer fail miserably? It might be worth teaming up with your coworkers. In all likelihood, someone else is being treated in the same manner. Things do not happen in a vacuum. There is a lot of power in numbers. You’ll stand a better chance of changing how you are being treated if you stand together. Again, try and talk to your employer together, or if that fails try and speak to someone higher up in the company.

Talk to HR if necessary
While your manager is usually the first point of contact, they sometimes cannot resolve all your concerns, and it might be time to speak with HR. Policies need to be followed, and it’s the HR teams’ job to make sure they are implemented. Reported to them as quickly as possible, as some issues can be time-sensitive.

Search for a new job
If all else fails and your employer still isn’t being supportive, take your talents elsewhere. In the current economic situation, it sounds impossible. However, if you’re at home it’s never been a better time to search for alternative employment. The pandemic won’t last forever. When it’s over, do you really want to continue to work for a company that doesn’t support you? Consider taking online courses too if you need to top up your skills. This will make you more employable once you’re ready to make the switch.

No one should have to deal with an unsupportive manager or employer. Do not let anyone deter you from being able to grow within our chosen careers. Times have always been tough, but the majority of us are stronger than any storms. Remember, the current situation is temporary. Support is always available online. With the right attitude, you will attract opportunities you’ve been working towards your entire life.

Until the next post,
Best,
Juan

 

Dealing With Anxiety In Turbulent Times


 

Dear Readers,
How are you keeping during these turbulent times?! Parents with children being homeschooled, it’s even more difficult to balance work and home life. My followers diagnosed with PTSD, Depression, Anxiety, etc, have you found it even more difficult to combat the triggers of your mental illness? Many of you are divorced, separated, with no children at home, how do you spend your time? There are so many questions!

Yes, these are very uncertain times. Uncertainty rules the day, and the unknown is more distressing than anything else. Two months ago, our lives changed, dramatically. I live in NYC, the epicenter of COVID-19 in the United States. I was stunned by the level of death and destruction around me. After experiencing multiple symptoms for almost a month, I was finally able to get tested. Negative! I am fortunate, I know, and I hope the result is true. I was told to “power through my symptoms” some of which still persist today.

Three of my clients were directly impacted by COVID; one lost a mother, another a cousin, and the other was hospitalized for several days. I currently work at home, so for the past month, I have been putting out several fires, which is mostly the reason for my absence here. NYC is made up of strong, tough people.  The 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Sandy, multiple airplane crashes, etc has not weakened the resolve to keep fighting.  I expect us all to come through on the other side. Hundreds continue to die every day, but, the situation has stabilized; field hospitals being taken down, the NAVY Comfort has left, hospitalization rates have decreased, and we are finally “flattening the curve”. 

Six out of seven continents have been affected by COVID-19. Besides the normal day to day hustle, and immense stress of daily living, we now have a pandemic to contend with. Today’s post will hopefully provide support on the panic affecting so many. Anxiety is not necessarily a new phenomenon, however, with all that is happening, it will only exacerbate the issue. We are so connected through the internet, social media, and other outlets, not only are we exposed to the issues in our immediate communities but across the entire globe. Furthermore, with so many working from home, or in some cases, those working on the frontlines, we are expected to juggle growing responsibilities simultaneously and remain productive. Anxiety varies in intensity and frequency, please use the following suggestions, and resources to improve your overall quality of life.

Live In The Moment
The only point in time in which you will EVER exist is right now. Ironically, most of us dedicate the bulk of our mental energy to the past or future. Anxiety often tricks us into replaying past mistakes in our heads over and over and worry about things that have not happened yet. A big part of dealing with anxiety is to live in the moment. This means focusing all of your physical and mental energy on what is going on right now. Not only does this simplify life, but it also allows you to get the most out of your limited time. Trying to deal with your entire past and future on a constant basis makes it virtually impossible to appreciate what is right in front of you. Over the years, Mindfulness and Meditation have helped to turn things around for me and completely changed my life. First I had to know who I am. Pick up a copy of this book Discover My Life’s Purpose. Doing so helped me to remain focused on the present moment. I was no longer worried about where I stood in comparison to others. My path was my own, and it did not matter if others agreed. they don’t have to! Learn how to. You too can learn how to  Enhance Your Life With Mindfulness.

Control What You Can Control
The truth is, many of the issues causing anxiety in your life are beyond your control. This includes global and community issues, as well as problems in your personal life. What you need to realize is that the weight of the world is NOT on your shoulders, even though it can certainly so at times. Anxiety tells you to worry about solving problems that are out of your hands. In reality, focusing on the issues that you actually have the ability to resolve is a much healthier response. Awareness is the key to conquering fear created by the ego, which leads to anxiety. Once you’re aware of how your ego is creating fear and anxiety, then you can observe it, and learn to shape it. You have the power to stop the fear in your mind. It’s important to remember that all the negative scenarios in your head don’t have to happen in real life. They can stay as imaginary issues. They may never materialize or cause you heartache. You can control how you respond to challenges.
Yes, we are tired of Netflix and Chill, homeschooling, puzzles, and games, but there is so much more you can do, being stuck indoors. Learn how to create a family website, make a family movie, coding, create a film festival, go on a virtual field trip, etc. Take a look at this invaluable list I put together, with direct resource links in Ultimate Guide To Indoor Fun

It’s Okay To Not Feel Okay
Another side effect of anxiety is a feeling of isolation and loneliness. People experiencing anxiety on a routine basis, often believe they are the only ones dealing with the issue. Everyone else is much happier, and no one will accept us if they knew the extent of our anxiety. It is so important to realize, this is far from the truth. Everyone around you is experiencing some degree of anxiety and fear of the future. You are far from alone. Don’t feel like you have to go through life acting as if everything is okay when it isn’t. Recognize the feelings, accept them, embrace, and challenge them. Maya Angelou said ” We are more alike, than we are different”

Get Help If You Need It
Finally, if your anxiety is something you are having trouble dealing with on your own, then don’t! There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking professional help. Ironically, our society welcomes getting help for even minor ailments but shuns the same approach for serious mental issues. Consider this, if you had Pneumonia or another physical illness, you would seek the appropriate doctor for care. Why would you not do the same, if you are suffering from mental health issues, such as anxiety? There is help out there, get it if you need it! I have been blown away by the more than 100k medical and mental health professionals, who came to the aid of New Yorkers!

We can and will get through this. We are better together.

Until Next Week,
Best,
Juan