Lessons From My New Home Journey

Lessons From My New Home Journey

Lessons From My New Home Journey

Lessons From My New Home Journey

COVID-19.

 

🙄🙄🙄

I’m certain you’ve heard of it, and, depending on when you’re reading this, you’re living through it… unfortunately. 

Because of COVID, the real estate market was coo-coo crazy in 2020 when I sold my house, I received over 30 offers! 

A seller’s dream!

However, I wasn’t quite sure if and when I wanted to be a home-owner again, so renting was my choice for a while.

But because of COVID restrictions, I had it up to the max with being contained in my condo, plus, racing my teenager to the living room in the morning was getting old. 

I wanted a bit more space, a little more privacy, but I also didn’t want to give up my moderately priced, maintenance-free place. 

1st world problems, I know. 

After lots of considering and reconsidering, I decided not only to buy a house again, but to get a new home – new, new though. 😏

Honestly, I wasn’t in the mood to compete with 20 or 30 people on a resale crib, so I picked a home that wasn’t just new to me, it was new to the world – aka a new construction.

I’m writing this post to share with you my experiences from this very recent journey, but especially to help women like me – doing it alone. 

While the FIIRM Approach focuses on helping women prepare their finances for divorce, I recognize there are non-financial pieces that matter while you’re on your journey. 

This purchase brought out a lot of different experiences and emotions, some that I had never been through before. 

Yea, I’ve owned a home before, but this was interestingly different. 

The process involved A LOT of decisions to make because my house was semi-custom. 

That made things exciting, fun, scary, and emotionally exhausting. 🥺 Sometimes all of those feelings happened in one day. 

Ohh and let’s not forget pricey! 

Plus, I knew my DIY skills were wack!

I wasn’t handy with my first house and my husband did most of the work. 

Then all the normal fears came along. 

Can I really afford this? 

What if I lose my income? 

What if my health fails and I can’t work? 

What if it’s too much for me to handle?

For the most part, these thoughts are SUPER normal, and thankfully I didn’t let them stop me from moving forward. 

As a hard-working badass woman, that’s more than half the battle!

Anyway, I closed about 90 days ago, and so far, I don’t want to sell it and move back to my condo…lbks. 

In no particular order, here are MY top 8 lessons worthy of sharing when you’re on your new (new-to-you) home journey. 

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

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1. Acknowledge the fears & then shut the front door on them

The fears are going to show up on your doorstep, ring the bell, and wait patiently for you to decide what to do.

You’re going to send them away and they’ll be back again.

Rude, right!

Regardless, they are just doing their job, which means we have to do ours.

Send the fears away over and over again, I don’t care how many times they come back.

During my “WTF was I thinking” moments, thankfully I had people I trusted to talk me off the ledge and here we are.

Give your family & friends permission to help you send the fears away during this journey.

 

2. Invest in an interior designer for your new home

Listen, I know my favorite colors. You probably do, too!

I know my design style. I’m a transitional girl – which is a mix between traditional and modern.

I definitely knew my budget. (duh… lol)

But, bringing it all together is a totally different story!

Therefore I knew I couldn’t afford NOT to hire help in this area.

I researched house photos on Pinterest, HOUZZ, and Instagram.

I don’t fully understand concepts around design, mixing patterns, colors, and textures, and I tend to be a bit of a scary cat trying new design things.

Considering my favorite colors are black, gray, and navy blue 🤣🤣  I figured I needed help, STAT.

But wait… First, let me start off by being completely honest with you.

I had NO idea how much it cost to hire an interior designer.

I did what my “Type A self” normally does and learned very quickly.

To my surprise, I learned that interior designers can cost you as little as a couple of thousand dollars, or as much as $10,000 in just fees, depending on the size and scope of your project.

So nope, it’s not cheap, it’s definitely an investment, however, many have flexible packages and you don’t have to hire them to design the entire house (see our next blog post).

I think it’s worth it to at least consult with the designers because today a lot of it is virtual, and you can even get renderings, mood boards, and have virtual design sessions.

There are even some that will design just one room!

Syfrin Interior Design is a great example – they offer a 5 Step Guide to help you turn your master bedroom into your personal sanctuary! I truly believe women deserve to have this, especially when you have kids that take over the rest of the house! (Future blog post coming about this concept)

Personally, I had the pleasure of working with McCall at Interiors by McCall for my master bedroom, bonus room, great room, and master bathroom in my new home.

McCall lived in Spain at the time, and was AMAZING to work with virtually! She was great at incorporating my existing furniture into the new home, which helped me SAVE money. Look her up on Instagram or her website!

My “Master Bedroom” design by Interiors by McCall

My “Dining area” design by Interiors by McCall

My conclusion: They can be worth their weight in gold, especially if they’re experienced and align with your sense of style!!

 

3. Be strategic with your upgrades

 

Structural, electrical, and plumbing upgrades can be totally worth it.

I made a lot of decisions around the layout of the house that I just did not want to give up on, and I knew “doing it later” would be as expensive, if not more.

I upgraded outlets, canned lights, insulation material, and even showerheads and faucets (partially at the suggestion of interior designers)!

I even strongly considered not adding an outside irrigation system.

And then I thought again when I pictured myself manually moving around the sprinkler 10 times a day to keep the new sod from dying!

Foolish!

I don’t have ACRES but my thumb is brown for a reason… lol.

And some of this may sound silly or frivolous to you, but the peace of mind that I have from making those upgrades was totally worth it, especially as a single woman.

Why?

Because my house is not my life or my idea of a hobby. I want to entertain in it, find peace in it, and be comfortable. I’d rather not think of it as a part-time job or the project of minimalism for the next 10 years!

If you disagree, cool. I respect your superpowers and/or your budget!

However, I’m happy I made the choice to do a lot of the upgrades on the front end.

When it’s your turn and you’re considering an upgrade, ask yourself, “Will it cost me more to do it later?” “Will I ACTUALLY do it later?”

 

4. You Truly Save Money When You’re Organized

 

There’s a LOT of follow-ups with new construction or major home renovations.

A nauseating amount, actually.

While you may have most things in writing, it’s normal to have verbal conversations about plans, intentions, or changes.

Unfortunately, some of those details are either just genuinely forgotten about, or lost in translation.

If you’re organized and have a very strong sense of what you want, what it should look like, and where things should go, you can spot errors quickly and alert someone before it’s too late or expensive to change.

Google Drives, follow-up emails, or spreadsheets are your friends. It will keep you from going crazy during the process and likely save you money and time!

 

5. Don’t freak out (too much)

 

Speaking of going crazy…

That takes me to my next lesson.

I had a bit of a freak out/meltdown moment.

Actually, it wasn’t a small moment, it was HUGE!

Apparently, when a house is being framed, be aware that it may look much smaller than you thought it would.

MUCH smaller!!

So once my house was framed, I walked through, took a look around, and I was FREAKING OUT!

Maybe it’s an optical illusion or maybe your eyes can’t really grasp the scale of the home, but it looked super tiny. It looked so small, I didn’t even want the house anymore.

Crazy, I know.

Now that it’s finished, I feel much better, but I actually looked it up and learned that it’s a real thing, not just a Nikki thing.

There were other things that freaked me out too, but ultimately I either spoke up or decided I could live with “it”.

 

6. Paint is still a lifesaver

 

You can paint almost anything.

Obvious, I know, but I think I forgot about this.

If there was an award for the least handy person on the planet – I’d win it!

I had existing furniture that functionally could be used again, but it was the wrong color.

My son and I had an interesting time spray painting & painting lots of stuff, just to try it out. I have to admit it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

I didn’t have to spend any money on new pieces, and if I ended up hating the new color, then my loss would just be a few dollars and a little bit of time.

So before you throw something away, maybe ask yourself, can it be painted or spray painted?

I know I literally saved THOUSANDS doing this.

 

7. Build your home maintenance team EARLY

 

Do the research to find a great handyman, a great electrician, a plumber, and a carpenter, and make them a part of your team for your house ASAP.

I can promise you, whether it’s a brand new house or a 50-year-old classic, you’re going to need them – probably sooner than you think.

Generally, when you’re building a new home, most of the items in the home are under warranty for about 6 to 12 months, give or take, however, there’s still going to be things that go wrong.

TRUST ME!

Use Yelp, Angie’s list, or sites like handy.com. Ask friends for referrals. Ask some of the builder’s subcontractors: usually they know people or can recommend quality workers to find someone who you can trust and who won’t take advantage of you.

Sometimes it comes down to budget or a desire to DIY, but if you are anything like me, you will save a lot of time and frustrations by hiring out.

 

8. Split up your move into your new home

 

Our move was unique and it was done in three different stages, because we had boxes & furniture in multiple places.

However, if you can move in before you actually “move-in”, I highly recommend it.

Move #1 – things that could go over in my car or a small UHaul that I rented. These are items that either I didn’t want to risk putting on the truck or would make the big move longer.

Move #2 – Almost all the boxes.

Move #3 – Big furniture and remaining boxes.

I cannot tell you how helpful it was with the help of family, friends, and even a professional organizer to get my house practically unpacked – or, at least, in their proper room before we physically moved in and started sleeping in the home.

Tanya Thomas at Everything Has Its Place was a Godsend. Her team had my pantry, cabinets, office, and other areas organized BEFORE we even moved in. Plus, she’s a professional stager, which is a fantastic combination in an organizer!

A few people thought it was crazy to do so many moves, but it was one of the best decisions I ever made because it made the transition into the house much more seamless.

So 60 days later, we had one room left to decorate, but everything else was basically done.

Living out of boxes just aint my thing, but I realized that’s a “nice to have” situation, HOWEVER it is doable.

Professional organizers can range from $50- $125 an hour and you might be able to book someone for as little as 2 hours. If you need someone to just support your efforts and not be certified, then you might be able to find someone for as little as $25 an hour.

I get it – cost is relative.

Either way, please, please, plan accordingly, so you can get settled into your home as quickly as you’d like.

 

The Financial Tips

 

I hope you got something useful out of the lessons and tips above.

My FIIRM Hero community received the audio version of this newsletter plus 2 extra tips – related to the financial side. Join the FIIRM Hero Community to gain financial tips, resources, and information helpful to hard-working women like you.

Grab your copy of the Ultimate Financial Resource Guide and get access to financial tips, divorce information (only if needed), and other resources!

 

 

 

 
Nikki Tucker

Nikki Tucker

Founder & Managing Director

 

Nikki is a 16-year financial services professional, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst ®, and the primary divorce financial strategist for The FIIRM Approach. She helps female breadwinners prepare for divorce to avoid common financial mistakes and confidently maintain their financial security. She uses proven strategies within the FIIRM Approach methodology so her clients can manage their money, debt, and credit in their new financial life. TAKE ACTION & LEARN about the tools that can help make your new money life easier. Grab your FREE Ultimate Resource Guide HERE. 

Love: Reason, Season or Lifetime V1.4

Love: Reason, Season or Lifetime V1.4

Love: Reason, Season or Lifetime V1.4

AReal Life Divorce Story w/ Sade Curry

 

 

Introduction: Have you ever heard the phrase, some people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime? While I didn’t create the phrase, it makes perfect sense to me. A divorce doesn’t make you a failure or a quitter. It’s quite the opposite, in most cases. These “love” stories will focus on the courage, lessons, & perspectives of everyday women (and some celebrities), to help you on your journey. Join me while we get in their business a bit.

Guest: Sade Curry is a proud member of Gen X residing in Saint Louis, MO, and is focused on her family and helping divorced women date and get happily married again. She prides herself on her confidence and can be found hanging out on the Dating After Divorce Podcast (on all podcast platforms and Instagram @sadecurry).

Dating after Divorce is a podcast for divorced women that explores the divorce journey and teaches real strategies for fully recovering from a divorce, rebuilding your life, dating, and getting happily married again.

Share YOUR real divorce story with us.

 

 

 

Get the insights you need to save time, money and stress during your divorce journey with our digital resource Silent Preparation Series. The Silent Preparation Series was designed for working women who want help strategically planning for divorce.

Nikki Tucker

Nikki Tucker

Founder & Managing Director

 

Nikki is a 16-year financial services professional, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst ®, and the primary divorce financial strategist for The FIIRM Approach. She helps female breadwinners prepare for divorce to avoid common financial mistakes and confidently maintain their financial security. She uses proven strategies within the FIIRM Approach methodology so her clients can manage their money, debt, and credit in their new financial life. TAKE ACTION & LEARN about the tools that can help make your new money life easier. Grab your FREE Ultimate Resource Guide HERE. 

What If Someone Made a Movie About Your Divorce

What If Someone Made a Movie About Your Divorce

What If Someone Made a Movie About Your Divorce

What If Someone Made a Movie About Your Divorce

Movies, Love & Marriage

 

I love LOVE!

I am the quintessential rom-com and romantic movie lover. Love Jones (my absolute favorite), Maid in Manhattan, Brown Sugar, The Choice, Sixteen Candles, and Dirty Dancing are definitely at the top of my list.

 

Download our Ultimate financial resource guide to get started on finding the right resources to work on your financial game plan or share this with someone who may need it.

 

I’m a sucker for one-liners too!

“You had me at Hello” (Jerry Maguire)

“ I love you and that’s urgent like a mf’er” (Love Jones)

“…you get the buddy and the booty” (Brown Sugar)

Ok, I digress.

Contrary to what people may believe, considering The FIIRM Approach helps women prepare their finances for divorce or separation, I also believe in marriage.

However, I am not going to act like our ability to marry isn’t oversimplified and our ability to divorce isn’t overcomplicated.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: most people don’t go into a marriage with the intention of getting a divorce.

The reality is that it still happens, and it’s too damn hard to do sometimes.

 

 

 

 

A Fact About Marriage:

 

Marriage is a contract. A legal contract.

It’s an odd contract that has very few pre-qualifiers, but it’s definitely one of the most serious contracts we’ll ever enter into.

So, what’s my issue? US divorce laws are archaic, and there’s not enough time spent on preparing people for the “legal contract” they are signing.

There’s way more emphasis on the “romantic contract,” and the downside is that the legal part has lots of invisible fine print.

 

I get it… researching the fine print just doesn’t feel romantic.

 

 

A Bit of Fiction:

 

Kim and Chris decide they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together on April 10th, after 6 months of dating.

They live in Chicago. Both are in their 30’s, and neither wants a big wedding.

Next, they make a quick visit to the City Clerk’s office to get a license on April 12th.

Married on April 13th, 3 days after the decision!

(The waiting period is only a day.)

Fast forward – 2 years later, they’ve loved, fought, and loved some more, but the love fizzled out and now both of them want out. Let’s call it irreconcilable differences, a.k.a, they want a divorce.

Obviously that divorce won’t happen 3 days after that decision!

Does your dating period determine the length of your marriage?

Of course, but…

Divorce is a major decision, they say!

Isn’t marriage?

People shouldn’t enter into contract (e.g. a marriage) lightly, they say!

I couldn’t agree more.

So, this is why it’s nonsensical that you basically only need a pulse to enter into said “contract,” but you need to draw pints of blood, sweat, tears, and maybe even a restraining order to exit the contract.

It’s what movies are made of 😉😉 though.

A little bit of fact and a little bit of fiction:

Enter the movie, Marriage Story (spoiler alert).

 

 

The Marriage Story Is About A Marriage Ending

 

Before I watched the movie Marriage Story, I didn’t quite know what to expect.

Admittedly, movies that have Oscar worthy storylines are usually movies that I DON’T fall in love with but sometimes I’m willing to give them a shot anyway.

My cousin BJ and I sat down to watch it after eating some amazing tacos.

I should note that BJ is an unmarried male who is also an actor.

Needless to say, watching Oscar nominated movies with a thespian is always interesting.

Without going into full detail and spoiling the end of the movie, I have two main takeaways.

 

(1) There was a seemingly normal couple going through the divorce process in a way that was so depressing and uncomfortable to watch that I quickly understood why it was nominated.

 

This was the type of movie that prompts real emotions/reactions from the audience (think yelling, eye rolling, anger, mouth on the damn floor)

That aside, the fact that this marriage story has been, or will be, the story for so many of us, flat out pisses me off. Some scenes were traumatizing and downright maddening.

After watching the movie, I wouldn’t ever want to get divorced.

Actually, I wouldn’t even want to get married (again)!

While the Marriage Story may have depicted a very accurate story for some real-life divorce experiences – IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY.

Which leads me to my other takeaway.

 

(2) Divorce does not have to be this complicated, nasty, or expensive.

 

While divorce is never a one size fits all situation, it’s absolutely possible for you to go through the process in a way that’s healthier than the dysfunction in Marriage Story.

Again, good movie, albeit a bit traumatizing for a newly, lol… but also a good opportunity to think about your divorce as if it was going to be turned into a movie.

How would you want your relationship portrayed on screen?

I encourage you to watch the Marriage Story followed by a documentary called Divorce Corp (I found it on Amazon Prime in 2020) and use both as motivation to do everything in your power to make your divorce process simpler.

If you are strongly considering divorce, I also invite you to join our Hero Newsletter Community  as we can help you make the first few baby steps in your divorce preparation journey.

 

 

 
 
 
 
Nikki Tucker

Nikki Tucker

Founder & Managing Director

 

Nikki is a 16-year financial services professional, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst ®, and the primary divorce financial strategist for The FIIRM Approach. She helps female breadwinners prepare for divorce to avoid common financial mistakes and confidently maintain their financial security. She uses proven strategies within the FIIRM Approach methodology so her clients can manage their money, debt, and credit in their new financial life. TAKE ACTION & LEARN about the tools that can help make your new money life easier. Grab your FREE Ultimate Resource Guide HERE. 

Love: Reason, Season or Lifetime V1.3

Love: Reason, Season or Lifetime V1.3

Love: Reason, Season or Lifetime V1.3

ARSL Story w/Candice Escobar

 

 

Introduction: Have you ever heard the phrase, some people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime? While I didn’t create the phrase, it makes perfect sense to me. A divorce doesn’t make you a failure or a quitter. It’s quite the opposite, in most cases. These “love” stories will focus on the courage, lessons, & perspectives of everyday women (and some celebrities), to help you on your journey. Join me while we get in their business a bit.

Guest: Candice Escobar is a proud Millennial, residing in Texas and focused on homeschooling her kids while working from home. She prides herself on her vulnerability and radical honesty, and can be found hanging out on Instagram @_candice.escobar_

Listen to her divorce journey.

Share your real divorce story.

 

 
Nikki Tucker

Nikki Tucker

Founder & Managing Director

 

Nikki is a 16-year financial services professional, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst ®, and the primary divorce financial strategist for The FIIRM Approach. She helps female breadwinners prepare for divorce to avoid common financial mistakes and confidently maintain their financial security. She uses proven strategies within the FIIRM Approach methodology so her clients can manage their money, debt, and credit in their new financial life. TAKE ACTION & LEARN about the tools that can help make your new money life easier. Grab your FREE Ultimate Resource Guide HERE. 

What We Can Learn From Meghan Markle

What We Can Learn From Meghan Markle

What We Can Learn From Meghan Markle

 

Quotes & Lessons from the CBS Interview

 

It’s somewhat ironic that the 2021 theme for International Women’s Day is “Choose to Challenge.”

Watching the recent CBS interview with Meghan Markle & Prince Harry confirmed what you may already know – We are more alike than we are different.

The idea of Choose to Challenge is about making a conscious decision to challenge traditional stereotypes, biases, and inequalities, as well as gendered norms, assumptions, and standards.

Their interview was an example of challenging the longstanding tradition of not going against “The Palace”, “The Firm”, “The Institution”…*insert proper name*.

 

Download our Ultimate financial resource guide to get started on finding the right resources to work on your financial game plan or share this with someone who may need it.

 

Look, I’m definitely not a citizen of the U.K. or The Commonwealth, but I love “The Crown”, Idris Elba, Fortnum and Mason, and Hazelnut Shortbread cookies (biscuits). And I’m definitely #TeamMeghan & #TeamHarry, sooo… here we are.

Watching the interview connected so deeply with me because I know so many women who are in Meghan’s shoes. Not Royal shoes, but HER shoes.

Have we come a long way?

Of course.

Women have the right to vote.

Women no longer need their father, husband, or son to sign their name on the dotted line just for them to get a bank loan.

But do women still end up on the crappy end of the stick when it comes to a lot of things (divorce, child rearing responsibilities, pay equity, etc)?

Absolutely!

Assuming a person of privilege can’t suffer racism or being accused of lying about suicidal thoughts is HARD enough stuff to deal with privately, but PUBLICLY… Jesus take the wheel!!

As we continue to seek ways to own our power and have our voices heard, I wanted to share some of my takeaways from the interview.

 

Quotes from the Meghan Markle & Prince Harry Oprah Interview

 

“Just being able to live authentically” (Meghan Markle)

Life is short. Is that too much to ask?

Sometimes.

Do what makes you happy anyway.

We hear this message from women of all ages, economic status, race, ethnicity, and various backgrounds too often for it not to have value.

You will be ridiculed, undermined, and underappreciated by some, but you will also be respected, loved, and admired by others.

Just do you.

 

“When the perception & the reality are two different things…”

It’s hard to get people to understand a truth that differs from their reality, from their perception.

We are often judged by the experiences and perceptions of others instead of the actual reality we live.

Think about it — there are still people that believe the earth is flat 🙂

One of the most important opportunities we have is that it’s ok to tell our truth and remove the burden of trying to convince people that it’s true.

It’s their choice to believe or support, just like it’s yours to live your truth.

 

“If you love me, you don’t need to hate her, and if you love her, you don’t need to hate me.”

Now let’s switch these pronouns a bit.

Change “her” to “him.”

Now stand on the mountaintop and scream this to your family and friends. The love they have for each of you is not mutually exclusive, and just because you are going through a divorce, doesn’t mean that your family and friends have to pick sides (even if they feel they need to do so).

While this often happens, sometimes just repeating Meghan’s quote to them may open their eyes that this doesn’t have to be the case.

 

5 Lessons/Reminders from the Meghan Markle & Prince Harry Oprah Interview

  1. Be prepared for truths to get twisted.
  2. Yes, it’s possible to feel lonely when you don’t feel free.
  3. You can share your truth without being disparaging to others.
  4. Admitting that you need help is a sign of courage, not weakness.
  5. You can have “space” in a relationship with a family member, but yet still have deep love and empathy for them. (Family may be everything but so is your peace of mind)
Nikki Tucker

Nikki Tucker

Founder & Managing Director

 

Nikki is a 16-year financial services professional, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst ®, and the primary divorce financial strategist for The FIIRM Approach. She helps female breadwinners prepare for divorce to avoid common financial mistakes and confidently maintain their financial security. She uses proven strategies within the FIIRM Approach methodology so her clients can manage their money, debt, and credit in their new financial life. TAKE ACTION & LEARN about the tools that can help make your new money life easier. Grab your FREE Ultimate Resource Guide HERE. 

Love: Reason, Season or Lifetime V1.2

Love: Reason, Season or Lifetime V1.2

Love: Reason, Season or Lifetime V1.2

 

AReal Life Divorce Story w/ Brandie Olson

 

 

Introduction: Have you ever heard the phrase some people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime? While I didn’t create the phrase, it makes perfect sense to me. A divorce doesn’t make you a failure or a quitter. It’s quite the opposite, in most cases. These “love” stories will focus on the courage, lessons, & perspectives of everyday women (and some celebrities), to help you on your journey. Join me while we get in their business a bit. Listen to the real-life divorce story of Brandie Olson.

Guest: Brandie Olson resides in Minnesota and is focused on being happy and raising well rounded kids. She prides herself on her determination and letting nothing stand in her way. She is currently finishing up her BA in Criminal Justice. She already has a couple of two-year degrees, works full time, and has a side business doing photography. She just bought a home for her kiddos to grow up in and is finally focusing on herself.  She can be found hanging out on Instagram @brandie.nicole1619 

 

Nikki: I like to start these interviews by asking a simple question to help the audience connect with you. What’s your favorite movie?

Brandie: Wow – interesting question. Hmmm… can we come back to that?

Nikki: Of course! Let’s dive right in then. When did you start your divorce process and when did you finish?

Brandie: I’ve had 2 divorces. 

I married my high school sweetheart. We were married for 5 years. Got divorced in 2017. It took about 3 months – no arguing – no attorneys – no fighting in court. 

For the last one I filed with the court in Jan 2020. Originally we agreed on everything. We didn’t have attorneys at first. 

Then he changed his mind. The judge rescheduled our court dates when we couldn’t agree, so I got an attorney and he represented himself. My attorney worked as a mediator so she redrafted our agreement and went back to the court in June 2020. 

I guess 6 months isn’t too bad. It could have been worse, but it was stressful because he was manipulative. My stress levels reduced after my attorney got involved. I knew I needed someone to step in because I carry my heart on my sleeve and can’t always hide my emotions. He cheated on me and there was just a lot going on. 

Nikki: So you felt better having an attorney?

Brandie: Because my attorney was speaking for me, I felt 100% more confident. I knew I could focus on taking care of the kids. 

Nikki: How old are your kids?

Brandie: I have a 4 year old boy and a 1 year old girl.

Nikki: What state were you in when you divorced?

Brandie: Minnesota – Ramsey county. 

Nikki: Did you consider another divorce method?

Brandie: We were planning to go to a mediator but never got around to going to one. It’s important to note that I had a judge that was only with the county for 6 months and disagreed with what had been decided. The judge was pro dad and I’m pro dad too, but I wasn’t prepared for that! 

I was utterly shocked at how he responded, and you don’t realize how dependent you are on the judge you don’t even know to make decisions for you and your kids. I just wasn’t expecting that. One minute he agreed to our terms and then the ex changed everything in court and the judge agreed with him. It’s not like I was a danger to the kids. I think I may have a speeding ticket but that’s about it – so I definitely wasn’t putting them at risk. It was shocking though.

Nikki: What are your thoughts on alimony & child support?

Brandie: I think child support is fair based on how the state calculates it.

 

“Different experiences with both divorces but I’m the one who lost money with both divorces.” 

In the last one, we had only been married for a year.  I was marrying a doctor and last year he was in school and his salary is totally different now. I gave up my entire savings because he was going to be a doctor, so I used my money to buy our house. I saw it as an investment then. 

The judge wouldn’t consider alimony because we weren’t married for a year. Having the time frame should not be there when you’ve spent money like I did. I lost my entire savings putting it in the house. But I was mainly fighting for the kids. 

There was no money there in my first marriage. We just went our separate ways. 

Nikki: So do you think your settlement was fair?

Brandie: Not fair at all. My ex is emotionally draining. I just needed him to go away. My sanity over money was worth it to me. My lawyer was willing to go to bat for me, but because of the length of the marriage and the judge, I would have spent more money with the attorney and it didn’t seem worth it. 

Nikki: Good point. That’s a lot to deal with. What was your biggest learning lesson?

Brandie: Get an attorney for peace of mind. It’s just less stressful. 

I’m currently learning more about self love – get yourself some counseling to love yourself and know what you deserve.

“Women end up in shitty situations because they think less of themselves than what they should… less than what they are.” 

It’s part of the reason I am where I am and I’m only 29. 

Nikki: Would you remarry? Would you ask for someone to sign a prenup?

Brandie: I’m old fashioned when it comes to love. I don’t think I would marry someone if I had to ask them for a prenup. I’m not against marriage because I believe in love. I don’t have a lot of money right now so my idea could change. 

But I guess I never thought about it. I guess it’s something I might do. I struggle with thinking about divorce – looking back, a prenup would have helped me. 

Nikki: Yes a prenup could have helped you get your fair share. How were your kids impacted?

Brandie: My youngest was 6 months when I moved out. 

I made sure in the beginning until we could establish a routine, to use Facetime. When she was away at each other’s houses we were Facetiming every day. Now we may only do it once a week with her. 

For my son, it was harder. It hurt because my second husband became my son’s best friend, and when we separated it became difficult. My son is an emotional kid, and now it’s kind of amplified and he’s acted out a little bit. 

We’ve been separated since last November but my son still asks for him. His biological dad is still in his life though. I asked my ex-husband to sit down with him and talk to him. He told him that my feelings were hurt and mommy was sad, and we aren’t going to be together anymore. Kids are smart. It can be hard when my ex is Facetiming with our daughter and not my son. 

Nikki: Tell me about your new house purchase.

Brandie: I’m a very determined person. I come from a background where I’m used to being disappointed by people I love, but my past and childhood have prepared me for heartache.

When I decided to leave, I was a stay-at-home mom and in school (I quit my job last year to take care of my daughter). When I found out about him cheating, I packed up my stuff and I applied for 80 jobs in one week!

I look at it like this  – what would I tell my daughter to do? If her heart is broken and she wants to leave – I’m going to help her pack and leave. We had to move into my friend’s basement… I didn’t care. 

“Two months after finding out he was having affairs, I found a house near my grandparents, got a new job, and am finishing school” 

2 months after finding out he was having affairs, I found a house near my grandparents, got a new job, and am finishing school. 

Nikki: That’s awesome. What are you majoring in?

Brandie: My first degree is in photography (I actually do photography on the side). I have an associate in Criminal Justice & Crime Analysis and will have a Bachelors in Criminal Justice. 

Nikki: That’s pretty amazing! You should be very proud of yourself!

Brandie: It’s hard some days but I keep going forward.

Nikki:  Do you think your ex was in your life for a reason, season or a lifetime? Here’s how I look at it . A celebrity like Gwyneth Paltrow would probably say “lifetime”. She will always be friends with her ex and they plan to be present in each other’s lives.

However, Tina Turner might say “reason”. When it’s for a reason it’s usually because you learned meaningful lessons, experienced growth or have bonds that tie you together. The relationship is definitely unforgettable.

Kim Kardasshian might say “season”. Short term relationship with her 1st husband and there’s nothing that ties them together. You probably learned some lessons but you’re really no longer connected.

So based on that where do you think you fall?

Brandie: I would say they were there for a reason.

 

“I wish they were relationships and not marriages, but they were there to toughen me up.”

In my 1st marriage we both came from bad household situations and were together for 11 years. We used each other to comfort and support each other. He was there when I needed him – I was struggling and we leaned on each other. No regrets.

In the last one, he showed me how I deserved to be treated – love letters, gifts, taking care of the kids… if you take away the cheating, he was like a cookie-cutter Lifetime-movie husband. 

I didn’t know that existed and that people were capable of treating you like that.

I needed to see that and be shown that someone can treat me that way if I find that right person.

I wish I would have waited and not gotten married and didn’t get cheated on, though. 

I wrote a poem about my life and I’m hoping it helps women realize that even when we get dealt shitty cards they can make it. It’s kind of long. I’ll read it to you. 

*Brandie reads her poem to me and I love it. Super personal and powerful.* 

I have that movie now – Silver Linings Playbook – I’m obsessed with Jennifer Lawrence. 

Nikki: Cool! Definitely not your traditional romantic movie. 

Brandie: Yes – that’s why I love it!

Nikki: It’s been awesome talking to you and hearing your story. Your poem is so powerful and vulnerable. I’m going to share it with the readers. 

End of Interview

If you want to be featured in our Reason, Season or Lifetime series click on the link HERE to share a little bit about yourself. We want to share different types of love stories to help as many women as possible. We want to share your real-life love / divorce story. 

 

 

 

Brandie’s Poem

We all have our problems,

perfection doesn’t exist.

Normal isn’t a thing,

just listen to this.

Born 6 weeks early,

Dad, 19, mom 17,

didn’t last long, they were only kids.

Love you dad, see you on the weekend,

Mom and I are on a whirlwind.

Now I have a stepdad, 

yeah I care about him.

He gave me a brother and sister,

but I’m still a little bitter around him.

Smash, crack, pop, things are breaking,

holes in the wall, legs are shaking.

Glass on floor,

take my brother and sister, 

shut the bathroom door.

We all know I can’t sing, 

but they didn’t care. 

Sitting on the bathroom floor,

living on a prayer.

It’s morning, 

everything’s fine.

Mom says don’t worry kid, 

go to school and shine.

At the bus stop, 

no kids in sight.

He’s coming closer, 

asked me where I live,

I’m too little to fight.

The bus comes around,

and now he is on the run.

Grandpa finds out, 

grabs a shotgun, 

puts it in the car.

We drive in circles,

can’t find him,

 but he left a scar.

We all have our problems,

perfection doesn’t exist.

Normal isn’t a thing,

just listen to this.

In the 4th grade, 

got a call,

Mom caught on fire and isn’t doing well at all.

3rd degree burns, 

living with grandma and grandpa.

10 years later found out she did it to herself, 

God mom, 

the pain you must have felt.

Let’s run away to a new town,

only for the problems to come back around.

Me, my brother and sister building a snowman, 

I hear the bang,

tell them to stay,

I knew nothing had changed.

Walked in, hands around her neck,

Screaming, 

ran to the neighbors,

called 911, 

thought I was dreaming.

Mom said, 

it’s your fault he is not here on Christmas,

man, I don’t miss this.

Grandparents are a blessing, 

no more stressing

Fast forward, 

in Jr. High. 

We loved each other,

both lost, no eye for another.

He is a drunk, 

he will get better,

I believe in you, 

let’s grow together.

Graduated, 

started college,

he’s falling behind.

I bought a house at 20, 

working on my second degree,

didn’t realize what was going on right in front of me.

I’m doing everything, 

stressing, 

but still progressing.

In a marriage all alone, 

scared of the unknown.

March 22nd, 2015, 11pm, 

house is burning down.

He keeps running back in,

here I am saving him again.

Sitting in the ambulance asking for hug,

but he doesn’t even budge.

We all have our problems,

perfection doesn’t exist.

Normal isn’t a thing,

just listen to this.

4 weeks later, 

found out I was pregnant.

I always wanted kids, 

but not like this.

January 3rd, 2016, 

you are the most amazing thing I ever seen.

I have a new outlook on life,

for you have restored my drive.

Love you kid, 

let’s thrive.

God grandpa, 

You’re stronger than this.

You’re my person,

had too much to drink,

in a coma for weeks, 

and now you’re weak. 

Still drinking, 

lots n lots grandpa,

but I can’t deal with this. 

Now I’m ready,

here’s to changes.

Sorry kid, 

your dad and I are separated. 

But two happy homes are better than one,

that’s hated. 

Here’s to new beginnings,

to a smile that’s real and all mine. 

You and me kid, 

we are going to shine. 

Yes, 

I’m a big dreamer, 

but I’m also a goal hitter. 

It took all of this for me to turn out this way,

for that I wouldn’t change,

I would keep it all the same. 

Don’t worry kid, 

I will always be your gateway.

He came in,

swept me off my feet,

Hallmark moments I didn’t think existed.

Is this too fast? 

Will you marry me? 

I said yes.

Butterflies in my stomach,

so happy.

Had a baby, 

got married, 

stay at home momma and loving it. 

What is respect, honesty and trust? 

In a marriage, 

it’s a must. 

Not this one. 

No! 

Cheating on me the whole time, 

I should have paid attention to the small signs. 

We all have our problems,

perfection doesn’t exist.

Normal isn’t a thing,

just listen to this.

Here I am, 

twice divorced,

with twos kids. 

I feel like a failure,

like I did something wrong.

Children deserve so much more, 

and for that I’m building my wall. 

I’m locking that door, 

until someone deserves that key.

I am doing this for me.

Here’s to my future,

my future with my babies.

Traveling, 

exploring. 

Adventures, 

and no more mourning.

 

Nikki Tucker

Nikki Tucker

Founder & Managing Director

 

Nikki is a 16-year financial services professional, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst ®, and the primary divorce financial strategist for The FIIRM Approach. She helps female breadwinners prepare for divorce to avoid common financial mistakes and confidently maintain their financial security. She uses proven strategies within the FIIRM Approach methodology so her clients can manage their money, debt, and credit in their new financial life. TAKE ACTION & LEARN about the tools that can help make your new money life easier. Grab your FREE Ultimate Resource Guide HERE. 

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