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Precarious financial situation

Kami’s key issue appears to be a lack of stable, reliable income. She earns $18 an hour as a personal trainer but only manages to book six to eight hours a week. To make ends meet, she also picks up odd shifts at a local restaurant and sells beef from the cattle ranch she owns.

Even with $500 in monthly payments from her ex-husband, which are set to expire soon, and government assistance, she's struggling.

Divorce financially harms both parties, but studies suggest the cost is higher for women. American women 50 and older who got divorced experienced a 45% decline in their standard of living (measured by an income-to-needs ratio), whereas that of men dropped by just 21%, according to one 2020 study by researchers at Bowling Green State University.

“A significant majority of lone parent families headed by women [divorced] makes re-starting rewarding work post break up challenging for many, especially for those who have curbed their career for family caring,” according to another study published by the U.K.-based Chartered Institute of Insurers (CII).

To be fair, Kami’s call with Ramsey was posted on YouTube in early October, just months after her divorce was finalized in July. Aside from taking time to adjust, Kami also needs to rethink what it means to be a good mother, as Ramsey stressed.

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Redefining ‘good mom’

Ramsey noted that Kami is struggling to accept her new role as a single mom who is financially responsible for her children. “You have defined good mom as being there for everyone except making money, and I'm redefining good mom as one who goes and makes some money to provide for her family because she's now a single mom,” he said.

To improve her financial position and support her kids, Ramsey said she has no choice but to get a job working 40 to 50 hours a week making $25 to $30 per hour. “The best thing you can do for you and them is go make a little money right now. You don’t need to go make $300,000 a year, but you do need to go make $50. Right now.” He recommended looking for a job in industries with labor shortages, like delivery driver or retail employee.

Considering how tight the labor market is, it shouldn’t be very hard for Kami to find a job. The U.S. unemployment rate was at 3.7% in November 2023. The average total salary for a delivery driver in Illinois is $31,500 per year, according to Intuit Mint, but the average salary for UPS delivery drivers in the state is higher at $58,000 a year.

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Vishesh Raisinghani Freelance Writer

Vishesh Raisinghani is a freelance contributor at MoneyWise. He has been writing about financial markets and economics since 2014 - having covered family offices, private equity, real estate, cryptocurrencies, and tech stocks over that period. His work has appeared in Seeking Alpha, Motley Fool Canada, Motley Fool UK, Mergers & Acquisitions, National Post, Financial Post, and Yahoo Canada.

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