Rebuilding Your Social Circle after Divorce pt. 2

A group of elegant young women enjoy a friendly dinner together while they partake of a little wine and food.Previously on our blog we took a look at some different ways to piece your social life together after you have gone through a divorce. We discussed the importance of reevaluating your current friendships, reigniting old friendships that had passed by, as well as strategies of meeting new people and making new friends. However, there are other important things to note if you are looking to build a strong social circle in your new life that you’re making for yourself. So without further ado, here are some final tips on rebuilding your social circle after divorce…

Look for other changes in your life

Divorce is a huge change that sends out ripples that affect many other aspects of your life. It is also, however, the first step in the road to building a new, stronger you. For this reason, now is the perfect time to evaluate a wide variety of different aspects in your life, and find the changes that need to happen for you to grow as a person. Look at things that you have been doing that make you unhappy, or things that got you to the place you are currently at in your. Reevaluate what is important to you and what changes you can make to get closer to finding that contentedness. Making these changes will bring you in the paths of people who will contribute meaningfully to your life. In short, focusing on being a better you will attract the kind of people you want to be around.

Cut out people who are detrimental to your life

In the same way that you need to bring people you care about into your social circle, there may also be individuals who are toxic to you, and can contribute negatively to your mental and emotional well-being during this time. Now is the time to cut these people out of your life, at least for now. It may sound harsh, but you need to find a road to stability before you can handle these kinds of people. This isn’t to say that these are bad people, or that you don’t care immensely about them, but now may not be the right time for you to be in each other’s life. Acknowledging this type of difficult situation and acting appropriately shows that your friendship with them can still maintain maturity, and may come into play again, further down the road.

Rebuilding Your Social Circle after Divorce pt. 1

A group of friends runs together on a trail amongst trees and grass. They all smile. The woman in front is in focus with a blue and pink shirt.Going through a divorce can drastically alter many different aspects of your life. Not only are you separating from a person whom you have, at least somewhat, built your entire life around, but many other personal relationships in your life might be complicated by your separation. If you are not careful, this could descend into a rather lonely part of existence. But it doesn’t have to! If there is a time to not be alone in your life, right after experiencing a divorce is one of them. For this reason, it is important to get yourself out there and begin to piece back together your social circle. While this might be a nerve-wracking task, it is definitely a necessary one. Here’s some tips for rebuilding your social circle after divorce…

Existing friends

The first thing that must be done is getting in touch with all of your existing friends. Some of these relationships might not be what they once were, depending on the social dynamic of your divorce. However, getting to know who is still truly your friend after such a tumultuous period is a very important and enlightening experience. Don’t be discouraged if you have lost any friends in the thick of yours and your spouse’s separation. Knowing who really cares about you can help you make better choices about friendships in the future.

Rekindle old friendships

The next thing to do is take a trip down memory lane to see if there are any friendships that you accidentally left by the wayside during your marriage. These friendships may not have ended badly, but just faded away as life moved on. However, just as much as friendships can vanish, they can also reappear even more vibrantly than before. Now is a great time to rekindle some of these old friendships and catch up with people who once met so much to you. As you’ve both grown as people over the past while,

Find passions/hobbies

Friends don’t just materialize into thin air or pop up out of the ground. Friendships blossom when people have similar interests that bring them together. For this reason, it’s good to take this new time of your life to explore new interests that you’ve always been meaning to take up. This will put you in contact with other people that will probably get along with. In any point in your life, this is one of the easiest ways to make meaningful friendships, but it is especially an important and valuable way to make friends after a divorce.

Social Security Solutions: Part 3

A bunch of cartoon families gather underneath colorful umbrellas, hiding from the storm clouds just overhead.“Social Security Solutions” is a series that explores the pros and cons of several current proposals to try and save Social Security. All statistics listed here are from the Heritage Foundation, the National Academy of Social Insurance, and the AARP.

Cover all newly hired state and government workers

-Currently, 25% of government employees are not on Social Security. They are on other plans that are unique to government employees. This includes workers on both the federal and local level of government. There is a proposal to put them onto Social Security, which would put more workers into the system. This would only affect new hires into the government, so that current employees could keep their current plans. Proponents argue that the system works best when it is covering everyone, while opponents say that it won’t really do much to address the problem. Also, those workers added onto the system would eventually need to be paid benefits, as well. This measure could fill 8% of the funding gap.

Benefit improvements

Certain groups have extremely low benefits, such as the disabled, or families of the deceased. Almost all parties agree that these groups need more benefits. Certain groups, however, say that any changes to the system must address these groups. The issue, however, is that adding more benefits will only make the nest egg run out, faster. Benefits for these groups can only happen alongside other reforms.

Increase the number of years used to calculate initial benefits

Currently, workers must work for at least 35 years to qualify for Social Security retirement. The formula of benefits is based on that concept. This is true in all cases, unless injury or death occurs. There is a proposal to raise this number to 38 years. This would mean that there is more earnings in the system, and less benefits being paid out. Proponents say that most people are working longer, but opponents say this hurts low-income workers, who may have more physically demanding jobs. This proposal could fill 13% of the funding gap.

Begin means-testing social security benefits

Social Security pays benefits to everyone who pays in, regardless of their income. Receiving benefits is only dependent on work and age requirements. There is a proposal to change this and incorporate a means-test. This would reduce or eliminate benefits for higher incomes.Proponents say that it is pointless to give higher income earners Social Security benefits, since they don’t need them. Opponents, however, say that Social Security is an earned right, not welfare. These Americans already paid their way in, and it’s not fair to deny them benefits. At its most extreme, it could fill 11% of the funding gap.

Social Security Solutions: Part 2

A man wears a strange steampunk cap with goggles while typing on a computer. The symbol of a lock with the words "Social Security" appears behind him.“Social Security Solutions” is a series that explores the pros and cons of several current proposals to try and save Social Security. All statistics listed here are from the Heritage Foundation, the National Academy of Social Insurance, and the AARP.

Eliminate the payroll tax cap

Currently, the first $110,100 of annual earnings are all that is subjected to payroll taxes for Social Security in a person’s income. However, there are proposals to eliminate the cap entirely, which would expose all earning to the Social Security payroll tax. Of all of the proposals, this would do the most to fill the funding gap, while most Americans would see no change in taxes, only those with incomes above $110,100, about 6% of the population. Those same individuals would also see a rise in benefits. Opponents, however, say that this idea would give too many rich individuals high benefits, which wasn’t what the system was intended for. This measure could fill the funding gap by 86%.

Reduce benefits for higher earners

Social Security benefits during retirement are based on previous earnings. Higher income workers receive higher payments, because they paid more into the system. However, they do receive a smaller percentage of previous earnings. There is currently a proposal to reduce the benefits of higher earners, making Social Security more of a need-basis. However, opponents say these wide reaching cuts (some with as much as the top 50% of earners) would affect middle class workers only making $35,000 per year. Also, these people already paid into the system, why should they suffer? Reducing benefits for 25% of the top earners by 15% would fill 7% of the gap, while reducing benefits of the top 50% by 28% could fill 31% of the funding gap.

Increase the payroll tax rate

Employees and employers each pay 6.2% of income on payroll taxes. This is what funds Social Security. There is a proposal to increase this tax to 7.2% from both employees and employers over the next 20 years. This would be a gradual increase, and not all at once. This, along with eliminating the earnings cap, would fill the funding gap completely, as well as help build a new nest egg. Opponents, however, don’t want any tax raises. This proposal could fill 64% of the funding gap.

Tax all salary reduction plans

Employees pay payroll taxes on contributions to their 401k, currently. However, other types of benefit plans don’t have payroll taxes applied to them. There is a proposal to tax these different plans, which proponents say would create consistency in the tax rate. Opponents worry that it might mean that employers are less likely to offer these types of benefits, however. This measure could fill 10% of the funding gap.

Social Security Solutions: Part 1

A white smart tablet is being held over a clean desk. The words "social security" are read over a blue background.“Social Security Solutions” is a series that explores the pros and cons of several current proposals to try and save Social Security. All statistics listed here are from the Heritage Foundation, the National Academy of Social Insurance, and the AARP.

Raise the full retirement age

Currently, the retirement age has been slowly rising from the age of 65. In 1983, Congress put forward a schedule to raise the retirement age to 67, due to the rising age that people are choosing to stop working. There are currently proposals in motion that suggest raising it higher, to either the age of 68 or 70 over time. The argument for this is that people are living longer than they did before, and so it only makes sense to delay the age in which benefits are granted. However, opponents claim that this equates to a cut in benefits, plain and simple. These workers paid into the system for a long time, and they deserve to reap what they sowed. Raising the full retirement age could possibly fill the funding gap by 44%

Begin longevity indexing

Lifespan trends have always been moving up, over the years. This means that social security will inevitably have to pay out more per person, over time. Indexing the longevity of the average lifespan means that monthly benefits will slowly decrease as the average lifespan continues to rise. This could be done in two ways. Either by increasing the retirement age as the lifespan goes up, or paying less out in benefits by changing the formula. Proponents claim that this only makes sense, as lifespans rise. Opponents, however, claim that this is just another cut in benefits, and that lower class individuals have seen much less rises in longevity, meaning that the cuts would unfairly target them. This measure could fill between 20-26% of the funding gap.

Recalculate the COLA

The COLA refers to the cost-of-living-adjustment. It calculates the amount of benefits needed to keep up with inflation. This has already been in place, and has been measured based on the consumer price index since 1975. One proposal to fix Social Security is to change how this is calculated. The new proposed formula would amount to an average of a .3% lower COLA per year. This would reduce benefits by 3% over 10 years, and so on. Opponents, however, argue that the COLA already doesn’t keep up with inflation, because seniors spend more on healthcare, which is highly affected by inflation. This measure could fill 23% of the funding gap.

Increase the payroll tax cap

Payroll taxes for Social Security only apply up to $110,100 of income. This number continues to rise with the average wage. However, there is a proposal to raise the percentage of earnings that are taxed into Social Security. This proposal would raise the cap to $215,000. Proponents argue that this must be done to save the program, but opponents are wary of a tax increase. However, this same tax increase would raise benefits for those that are taxed more, giving them earned benefits. This measure could fill 36% of the funding gap.

Explaining the Social Security Crisis

social security definitionMillions of people in this country depend on a program called Social Security to help them retire, or continue to care for their family after an accident leaves them disabled or dead. This system has been in place since it was created during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration during the Great Depression. The basic concept for Social Security is that workers pay into the system out of each paycheck for their retirement, and then are able to get paid back incrementally over the course of their retirement. This makes Social Security decidedly different from programs like welfare, as Social Security is an earned right, not an entitlement program. However, this program is now in a crisis, one that may threaten its existence. And here’s why… Continue reading

Reasons You Might Get an Annulment

signing divorce papersMany have questions surrounding marriage annulments—particularly, what an annulment is exactly, and what might be grounds for getting an annulment.

An annulment is similar to a divorce in that it legally ends a marriage. An annulment is different, however, in that it declares that a marriage was never technically valid, and therefore that it never existed. Most annulments occur within a matter of weeks or months into a marriage because grounds for annulment are typically discovered early on in a marriage, if any exist. This means that annulments often do not involve dividing property or making decisions regarding children. Continue reading