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Subject:  Re: FIRE checker for Fools Date:  8/15/2003  10:54 AM
Author:  SloanT Number:  416 of 5232

Karen: So, that's my story, and why I'm not sure I can really call myself a FIRE Wannabee (although I really would like to be able to retire early, as there are so many places I would like to see that I just don't have the time/funds to see now).

I think you already have everything you need to be a FIRE Wannabe – a good attitude is all it takes. My parents divorced in high school and although we spent money like mad (and my dad made quite a bit), my family had very little in the way of savings. Post-divorce life was a big adjustment for my mom, both emotionally and financially. Consider yourself lucky to have an education and the ability to support yourself. My mother had to finish her education (after a 24 year lapse) and work part-time during and after the divorce. Add to that the emotional damage (they had been married 24 years, there was a 3 year affair…) and she had a rough time of it.

So, in short, I feel your pain. Based on my experience here is my advice: Become a budget queen. Also, as much as it will feel weird to not put away anything for the future I think the psychological benefit of getting out of debt is greater than the potential financial rewards of saving while you try to get free. Also, your kids will be far better served by having you around and sane and so cut out all the extras that you want to provide for your kids but they don't really need. If the cut in spending means you can work less then so much the better. I can't stress this enough. My mom spent more and worked more than she should have because she didn't want my brother and my lives to change. Hell, we would have dropped cable in an instant if we knew what it would mean to the budget. Your kids will be happy to share the burden.

One last thing: I hear of many women (my mom included) who didn't get the cut they wanted (or deserved) because they just wanted the divorce to be over with. I think you should work to get everything you deserve (or make him take what he deserves) right up to the point where it would lead to court. You don't want to go there if you can avoid it, but don't get shafted because you are in a rush to move on.

Keep going, it will get better. Just start that excel spreadsheet out and celebrate every month as your debt goes down. You're on the right path!


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