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Marketplace

Rebuilding Paradise

Nov 11, 2019

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Marketplace
My Economy

Taking on this economy as a newly single parent

Andie Corban Sep 17, 2019
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Hillary Barbour working at a Portland food festival.
Courtesy of Hillary Barbour

With several economic indicators pointing toward a possible recession, some American consumers are starting to brace themselves. Some workers are still recovering from the Great Recession and worry what a new recession might mean for their retirement funds. For people who have recently divorced, that idea might hit closer to home.

My name is Hillary Barbour, and I live with my daughter in Portland, Oregon. I’m a mid-level executive for a food and restaurant company.

Just in the last year, I ended a 15-year relationship and a nine-year marriage, and I have a 7-year old daughter. And as the high-earning spouse, I am now basically about 98% financially responsible for our child’s future.

My radar is a lot more sensitive now to things that are happening in the market in particular. My entire retirement savings just got cut in half because I had to give half of it to my ex-spouse, so I almost feel like I’m going through my own 2009 again, except that 10 years ago I was 37 years old. I’m 47 now. I’m a lot more cognizant of my financial situation, and I’m really trying to pay attention to, like, OK, if we are facing a recession, I’m subject to the whims of the market. And so when I think about and listen to the trends, I’m thinking, “Oh, boy.”

I almost feel like I’m in that category of, like, I’m one catastrophic, uninsured health incident away, whether it’s to me or my child, from, like, the whole thing just being wiped out.

But it’s the kind of thing where it’s, like, on a day-to-day level, every time I get in my car — and I drive a 2005 Honda, but it’s my car, and I’m, like, I need to be present to what’s going on here because I can’t buy a new car right now. It’s not in the plan.

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