Dear Other Moms: Invest in a Happy Ending, With or Without Him

sad woman sitting alone in a empty room

No matter how much of a fairy tale you believe marriage is, you don't always get your happily ever after. In fact, the very person you once thought was your Prince Charming could be the very person to snatch the rug from beneath your feet. I know this because it happened to my cousin, who's still trying to pick up the pieces after her husband walked out on her and their four kids.


Loyal to a fault, Leah (I'm changing her name to protect her privacy) put all of who she was into her marriage. Exchanging vows at age 22, she was hopelessly devoted to her husband and did all she could to create a home life that reflected their love. 

Fast-forward nine years and four kids (the oldest is 7) later, and the foundation Leah thought was solid came crumbling down. After she and her husband uprooted their family from the East Coast to the Southwest, Leah was completely dumbfounded when her husband decided he'd had enough and moved back to their former home state -- without his wife or his children. 

(Yeah, "asshole" doesn't even begin to describe this prick.)

Hearing about Leah's new reality was a serious wake-up call -- and not just for the caring mother of four, but for our family. Thankfully there are loved ones who are coming to her aid, but that's just a temporary fix to a bigger issue ...

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Leah spent so much time investing in her marriage that she failed to provide her own financial security.

Now, I'm not saying that traditional relationships are wrong in any way. I applaud stay-at-home moms, and I know of other women, like Leah, whose husbands are the primary breadwinners in their households. In many cases, it works. But in this story, it didn't.

The former financial adviser in me (yes, mama knows how to invest a coin) cringes at the thought of anyone putting all her eggs into one basket. There's just too much that can happen to throw a monkey wrench in any short- or long-term endeavors. Leah relied so much on her husband that she had no credit to her name, no savings in case of emergency, and no type of education or workplace experience over the last nine years that translates into a job.

As I try to help her make sense wherever I can -- including money-saving nuggets she can put into practice right now -- I can't help but think about how her story can possibly help other moms create a safety net for the unthinkable.

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While you don't exactly need a "just in case of divorce account," there's nothing wrong with setting up an individual retirement account (IRA), or savings of your own. Not only does it help to establish financial security for your loved ones, but it also gives you the peace of a sound mind, should you and your partner part ways -- for any reason.



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