Here is my living situation in a nutshell
- Live in California
- 2 kids (7 and 11)
- I am almost 40.
- I rent
- Make about $170k (includes regular job + moonlighting) before taxes.
- Kids school = $1000 a month (by court order they go to a private school - long story)
- Alimony + Child support = $4000 a month. Per CA law it's auto-deducted from my paycheck (which is great - one less check to write).
- Credit card debt - ex-wife left me with a ton of it (like $60k), I consolidated it all and paying $1400 a month for the next 3.5 years
- Taxes - still paying off year 2008 through an installment agreement with IRS = $400 a month for the next 10 months. In addition, I have to file as single because I have the kids for 3 days out of 7, so my ex-wife gets to claim them and be head of household
- Rent = $1300 a month
- The custody battle of 2010 cost about $16k in lawyer's fees. Still owe the lawyer about 6k - not sure what the arrangement is going to be yet.
- I started a 401k this year and with matching funds it is currently worth about $10k
- Ex-wife does not work, never has (for any appreciable period of time) and probably never will.
- My credit rating is horrible = 570 or so. After the divorce the ex-wife got the house, which was subsequently foreclosed on. But my name was still on the loan paperwork. Add the credit card debt and there you go.
My monthly paycheck is about $5000 (after standard deductions + alimony + child support). Then I have to pay $1300 for rent, $1400 for credit cards, $1000 for children's school, about $300 for utilities (cell, internet, gas, electric, etc..). As you can see, I have about $1000 left a month in income - which typically goes to children's entertainment, food, car insurance, whatever else comes up.
Basically, after all the expenses above I am living paycheck to paycheck. It is doubtful, that I can make more money (including moonlighting, I am already dead tired), since I am already at the top of my profession and make more than my peers.
It seems that I should be better off, but I am not. I am not saving any money and unless something changes, the kids will be on their own for college. My ex-wife is no help, as she is a financial deadbeat.
So I am seeking advice. What can I do to improve my situation?