Do I have to work forever after my ex-wife bankrupted me?


Dear Petunia,

I am almost 68 years old. My ex-wife suffers from spending “illness” and credit card spending exceeds $100,000. She refused to file for bankruptcy and only agreed when I withdrew money from my 401(k) savings. Then she charges all the cards again until it rises to $85,000 again and she has no money to pay the bills. We declared bankruptcy.

Most importantly, after I divorced and had to hand over 50% of the remaining retirement savings, I had nothing. For many years, I have had $1,800 per month in child support.

Apartment rents have soared, and there is only one income. It is difficult for me to save money.

Apart from working until I am buried, do I have other options?

By the way, I have been working hard to get my credit score to around 820, and have no debts other than a monthly car payment of $220, and my ex-wife also started from scratch after bankruptcy and was completely in trouble again. Call me a happy divorce.


Dear D.,

I don’t think your only choice is to retire in poverty or work until you are buried. But retirement may be different from what you once imagined. You may be able to retire from a full-time job, but that doesn’t mean you won’t work until the day you die.

Side jobs are popular among people of all ages, including retirees. Imagine if you worked 10 or 15 hours a week to earn extra cash as a supplement, then retirement would look like. social Security.

It is also important to set clear expectations with others here. I assume that your child has grown up because it sounds like you are no longer paying child support. If your adult children have asked you for help in the past, you need to have an honest conversation with them about your own financial situation and tell them that you cannot continue to do so.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any magical solutions to deal with the skyrocketing costs of everything, especially housing costs.I suggest to try Begin a side hustle and bustle Now, when you are still working, you can spend every penny on making your retirement as comfortable as possible.

Because you have a car, you can try to drive for Uber or Lyft, or deliver food or groceries. However, if you have the skills to engage in a more profitable side business, be sure to pursue this.

If you have one or two years to retire, I will tell you to invest your extra money. However, since you are likely to need funds soon, you cannot take on the level of risk that could generate substantial returns. Instead, focus on keeping your expenses as low as possible.

Paying off the car loan is obviously the first step. From there, you may want to deposit a down payment for an ordinary house. Of course, you won’t get any bargains for buying a house or apartment now. But in some parts of the country, rental costs have increased by 20% or more year-on-year.The advantage of buying a small house is that the cost is more predictable, and because you have 800+ credit score, This may be an option.

If you go that way, you may be able to earn extra income by owning your house.You can try House hacking, This is where you buy a multi-family house, such as duplex or triplex. You live in a unit, but the goal is to make enough money to pay your mortgage by renting out additional units. If you buy a single-family house with more than one bedroom, you can try to rent a room through platforms such as Airbnb.

I know that taking on a side job now and continuing to retire may sound tiring. However, every dollar you can earn is a victory. You may need to adjust your expectations for the golden years. Considering that your divorce is very happy, it sounds like the sacrifice is worth it.

Robin Hartill is Penny Hoarder’s certified financial planner and senior writer.Send your tough money questions to Or chat with her Penny Hoarders Community.


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