This month we are focused on how to prepare for and thrive after divorce both emotionally and financially. I just celebrated my 38th wedding anniversary with my darling husband, Mark. But did you know that I got divorced from an abusive husband when I was just 20? I’ve shared my story in books and interviews to help empower others by showing them that if I can do it, they can, too.

That time of my life was horrific, and that experience not only left me financially devastated, but emotionally broken. Despite seeing my own mother live through a destructive relationship of financial and emotional abuse from my stepfather, I jumped out of the frying pan and right into the fire with my own monster.  

What I’ve learned is where there is domestic violence, there is normally financial abuse.

Thank God I was able to find the inner strength to divorce him and get the support I needed to take charge of my life.

My low point was ending up in the hospital after I stood up to my ex-husband. The doctor asked me who was coming to pick me up, and I told him I had no one to call.  I truly was all alone.  Pretty pitiful, right? 

Well, what I did next changed everything.  I found the book, Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill.  In reading this book, I learned about The Law of Attraction and how our thoughts were things.  I learned about how to find your burning desire and mine was to never be a victim again! I was just 20, and my journey of personal development changed everything.  It’s been over 40 years, and I’m still a student of life with a thirst for learning how to improve. 

It’s funny how bad things in our life can lead us to our life purpose.  I truly believe there is always a gift.  My early life experiences led me to work I do today — helping women stand in their power with money!

One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is creating a healthy mindset around money.  It’s why I became a Certified Financial Planner and why I started Smart Women’s Empowerment. 

How you feel about money AND what you do with it will have a profound effect on every area of your life.  And until you develop a truly sacred relationship with it, and that means both the Inner Work and Outer Work of money, you may not be able to ask for what you are worth, keep what you earn, invest confidently to make it grow, or feel secure and confident about it once you have it.

If you are struggling with your relationship with money, thinking it’s too late to become wealthy, waiting for someone else to solve your financial problems, hoping the issues will go away by simply ignoring them, or going deeper into debt, even being afraid to spend or invest it, then it’s time to act.

I’ve worked with hundreds of women who have needed help with healing their relationship with money, and we always start with the Inner Work.

The Inner Work is identifying your disempowering BELIEFS around money, and then shifting, healing, and releasing those beliefs while creating new empowering beliefs and actions.

The Outer Work is ACTION you take with your money.  Ask yourself:

  • Are you getting paid what you are worth?
  • Do you respect it by saving and investing for your future?  
  • Are you staying out of debt?
  • Are you able to talk to your partner honestly about money?
  • And do you participate in financial decisions equally?

No matter where you are in your life, there is hope. Let’s look at this more closely:

Step #1: Start with the Inner Work – Your Beliefs around money. I’ve been teaching Money Personalities for over a decade and understanding yours (and/or your partners) is crucial.  There are five Money Personalities and each of them has a disempowering belief.  Read each of these beliefs and pick the one the resonates most with you:

  1. Value – I need to prove I am good enough or a good person.
  2. Status – Whatever I achieve or have is not enough.
  3. Love – I need to do whatever it takes to get love.
  4. Security – I never know when what I have may be taken from me.
  5. Recognition – I need to prove I’m right and that I can do it.

I was interviewed several years ago by Mary Ann Robbats for the Accelerated Freedom Formula Summit about Money Mindset.  We spent quite a bit of time going deep into the topic of money mindset and the Five Money Personalities and how to identify yours.  You can watch this interesting interview right HERE.  See how to identify yours.  If you are in a relationship, see if you can identify your partner’s money personality. 

Examples of how money personalities can conflict:

I am a Recognition Personality, and my husband is a Security Personality, so you can see how my big ideas can scare the heck out of him since his challenge is around protecting what we have and not taking risks.  Before we understood our personalities, I would get angry when he played the Devil’s advocate every time, I shared one of my big ideas with him.  In return, I would feel shut down or not listened to.  Today, we understand that we are perfect for each other, and no long experience the drama around sharing our ideas or feelings with each other about money.

A woman I know is a Value Personality and her issue is over giving and lack of boundaries.  She gives and gives to the point of resentment.  Her husband is a Status Personality, and his challenge is balance and excess.  He has a huge truck, sports car, luxury car and a motorcycle.  He’s always on the go, and she can feel unappreciated.

Once you identify your money personality and how your disempowering beliefs may be sabotaging your life or finances, then it is time to release that belief, forgive and heal. This process can take years, however if done with a professional, it can be instantaneous. This one step can shift everything. I’ve seen it happen with hundreds of women, frequently with immediate, almost magical results. 

Step #2: Now you can begin the Outer Work – Taking Action. This is where you begin to look at where you stand and where you want to go. It’s time to be brutally honest, to clean up messes, set goals, and get the help you need. Steps could include:

  • Creating a financial or retirement income plan.
  • Taking a money mindset course like our free Unlock Your Financial Power.
  • Meeting with a financial counselor if you are in debt.

Step #3: Don’t give up or try to do this part alone. Get support and surround yourself with a support team as well as like-minded women who are on the same path.

This month, I am interviewing two experts to help you prepare for and thrive through a divorce.  Our first guest guest is Certified Financial Advisor™ professional Maryann Keith. If you are contemplating a divorce or in the midst of it be sure to catch this interview because Maryann will share tips on how to make smart financial choices so you can thrive when you emerge from the process.

Our second is Relationship Expert, Renée Piane.  Renee will be sharing how to heal a broken heart after divorce and how to stay confident during the process.  You will love her stories and personal experiences, so be sure to schedule time to be inspired. 

I’m also sharing an encore interview I had with family law attorney Henry Gornbein. Henry is the author of Divorce Demystified, and he will share his wisdom about what he calls, “one of life’s most traumatic experiences.” 

These resources should give you a good start.  You’ve got this.  Now, reach out for the support and  free resources here in the Smart Women Community! 


Katana Abbott, CFP®, is a Retirement Income Coach and Certified Social Security Claiming Specialist, founder of the Midlife Millionaire® Solution, and the host of Smart Women Talk. For over 35 years, Katana has helped baby boomers plan for retirement, including how to create lifetime income, how to optimize their Social Security benefits, launch an encore career and prepare for long-term care.  She has written several books, created a financial literacy course, and is a popular speaker. Katana has been honored by NAWBO as one of Detroit’s Top 10 Businesswomen, receiving the Breakthrough Award. To download her new retirement guide, Three Smart Strategies to Maximize Your Retirement Income, visit www.katanaabbott.com.