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A Few Tips for Women Returning to the Workforce After a Divorce

Donna Kline, MBA, CDFA®, CDC®, ChSNC®


With divorce rates among couples over the age of 50 on the rise, more and more “stay-at-home” spouses find themselves looking for work later in life. Although educated, many have been out of the workforce for 10, 20, or even 30 years.

Some of the challenges to returning to the workforce for these women are logistical. They might need additional schooling or training. Whatever certifications they had could have lapsed, in which case they’ll need coursework and recertification to return to their field and career. In some cases, returning to the workforce could involve a complete career change.

Emotional concerns
Beyond the job-related issues, it’s the emotional hurdles that seem to hold many women back from returning to a career. For example, some parents have a hard time coming to terms with the change in their role, according to Tanvi Gupta, a licensed counselor and owner of Her Calm Counseling, LLC. She points out that leaving children in daycare for the first time or feeling out of place in the workforce can erode confidence and instill fear that can make it hard to advance in their careers.

Gupta offers the following tips for returning to work after being out of the workforce for a significant amount of time:

  • Take a personality inventory to explore your career options and marketable skills. Several personality tests are available that allow you to assess your current skill sets and suitable career options, including:
    • Via Character Institute:
    • SparkType Assessment:
    • Clifton Strength Finder Assessment:
  • Don’t let negative thoughts and self-talk overshadow you. Counter self-talk by challenging the truth of those thoughts. Praise yourself every day, appreciate the small wins, and practice self-affirmations, such as “I can do this; I have control of my life.”
  • Ask for help. As women, we often refrain from asking for help, and we struggle with delegating tasks. Keep your supports in mind, and ask them for help. Don’t hesitate to lean on friends and family. Seek help from a mental health therapist, financial planner, or career coach. Help comes in many forms, including licensed therapists who can help you address your emotions and prioritize tasks, and licensed financial professionals who are trained to address with your unique circumstances.
  • Financial issues
    Divorce can derail even the soundest of financial plans. It is imperative for a woman returning to the workforce to understand the financial challenges she faces as she moves forward, including how much she needs to earn and how long she needs to work to ensure a comfortable retirement. A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® is trained to help you develop appropriate answers to those questions.

    Not only should you engage a professional to evaluate your Marital Settlement Agreement for equitability before signing, it is critical to ensure that the terms of your Agreement are viable and executable after signing. In fact, there is considerable work to be done once the divorce is final: ensuring assets are titled correctly, potential risks are assessed, investments are appropriate for your new lifestyle, and that there will be enough income generated and money to add to those assets to protect your financial future.

    One more tip for the newly divorced woman returning to the workforce: Work with a fee-based financial advisor, a professional who is compensated more by growing your assets than engaging in transactions, who has your best interests in mind, who will help you build your new identity and invest in your new future.


    The information included in this document is for general, informational purposes only. It does not contain any investment advice and does not address any individual facts and circumstances. As such, it cannot be relied on as providing any investment advice. If you would like investment advice regarding your specific facts and circumstances, please contact a qualified financial advisor.

    Any investment involves some degree of risk, and different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, including loss of principal. It should not be assumed that future performance of any specific investment, strategy or allocation (including those recommended by HBKS® Wealth Advisors) will be profitable or equal the corresponding indicated or intended results or performance level(s). Past performance of any security, indices, strategy or allocation may not be indicative of future results.

    The historical and current information as to rules, laws, guidelines or benefits contained in this document is a summary of information obtained from or prepared by other sources. It has not been independently verified, but was obtained from sources believed to be reliable. HBKS® Wealth Advisors does not guarantee the accuracy of this information and does not assume liability for any errors in information obtained from or prepared by these other sources.

    HBKS® Wealth Advisors is not a legal or accounting firm, and does not render legal, accounting or tax advice. You should contact an attorney or CPA if you wish to receive legal, accounting or tax advice.

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