Long story short, after over 15 years of a marriage full of ups but also full of gigantic downs, I found myself in 2015, a couple of days after my birthday, at my county courthouse with finally enough strength and courage inside of me to file for divorce. My entire future seemed filled with uncertainties, my ex having made it very clear that if I was asking for divorce I would have to leave our house since I would become the one making the decision to walk away. Even though I was still considered self-employed and was still handling a few jobs here and there and was still taking care of our company while he was traveling for business, I had stopped working full-time years and years before to take care of our three children and my clients had certainly had time to forget about me and find new contractors in the meantime. So there I was, handing in my signed documents to the clerk, knowing that very soon I would have to find a new place and figure out how to start my life over without a job and taking care of overbusy kids who had been used to having their mom taking them right and left every single day and spending so much time involved in all their curricular and extracurricular activities and constantly volunteering at their schools.
Don’t get me wrong, I know I was blessed compared to so many people. First, I had the choice to enjoy for years a very comfortable life in what many would call the American dream house with a great master suite, a huge pool in the backyard, a finished basement complete with pool table and air hockey table….. But all these materialistic pluses can never make up for a lack of happiness. My situation when I moved out was far from being as bad as it is for so many people. I had a retirement plan I could take money from (even though I knew it meant paying hefty penalties the following tax year) and a life insurance cash value I could borrow against (even though the need to pay in advance the full year interests and still make high contributions towards the insurance every three months is a challenge in itself). My main goal at that point was to find a place to move very close to my previous house because the children were begging for a place they could walk to easily to be able to go back and forth as they pleased between both places. Living in a nice neighborhood of the New York tristate area, I ended up moving into a very expensive duplex apartment where a $1,800 monthly rent allowed me to offer my children the feeling of a house because of the two floors and 2 full bathrooms to make it easier with two teenage girls living in the place. For this price, the three of them had to share a room, but at least they were able to keep a little bit of that house-ish feeling that they were used to, therefore hopefully making the transition into this new chapter of their life a little easier.
Flash forward 1 year to the day after moving to this new place. I got remarried to the most wonderful man you could think of. We just bought a fixer-upper that demands so much work but is ours and that we’re planning to turn into the happiest home. We are currently packing and packing and packing and will move in the next couple of weeks to our new place. But we are not starting this new chapter of our life with a blank slate. The past year has seen a tremendous amount of expenses between legal fees, purchases of furniture, purchase car, once-in-a-lifetime family events, overseas trip for personal tragedy, high expenses for various administrative. educational and professional reasons, and of course the purchase of our house. All this led us to a current debt of more than $55,000 due in life insurance loan as soon as possible to avoid paying crazy interest on it, $15,000 cash advance taken out of a credit card due by the end of 2017, thousands due on a couple of other credit cards, thousands due in retirement plan early withdrawal fines when we file for taxes, thousands due soon in interests for the life insurance loan….. Our monthly income is still low, definitely too low to cover all these expenses and definitely too low to cover all the expenses needed to fix our fixer-upper. So where do we take it from here? What can we do to move forward? How do we get out of this debt? Join us on our journey to become debt-free. I have no idea yet what this journey is gonna look like, but I know one thing for sure. It’s going to be a heck of a ride!!!