I never thought I'd become a divorce statistic, but here I am.

At first, I was grateful that we weren't separating on the ugliest of terms - there was no cheating or anything like that, it's just that every decision became shrouded in a passive-aggressive dance–the usual communication breakdown.

But then. For the divorce proceedings, he lawyered up with a shockingly expensive firm and tried to squeeze every penny out of me! I, slack-jawed and in tears, sat across from a blank-eyed version of him, while his expensive suit rattled off everything about me that did not look good on paper.

I hired the best lawyer I could find and drained my bank account to set things right.

So, single in my 40's, listening to the records my ex-husband hated at full volume in my new, smaller living room, I'm happy, but broke. Very broke.

Living on a single income with rent and divorce-related bills still piling up sent me into a panic. Looking around at all my assets (half as much as before), there was still one shining beacon of hope: my sweet little car, Eleanor. I'd bought her two years ago, and she was still in the top 5 of every reliable car list out there.

When looking at forums on how to sell a car, tears in my eyes, I found a second option; refinancing my loans with a company like RateGenius. If you have good credit, you can refinance as soon as a year out of obtaining your car.

I went onto their website and found it incredibly easy to navigate. I filled out a basic pre-qualification questionnaire about myself (name, address, how long I had my car for), and was informed that because this questionnaire was only a pre-qualification, I would have zero impact on my credit score.

Within minutes I was pre-qualified, and took me to a rate table to show me potential options. Impressed with what was being offered, I went ahead and finished the full application which only took minutes. It didn't take me very long to get assigned with a representative Jenny, who held my hand throughout the entire process.

Because my car was very important to me, I asked her multiple questions with a lot of details, and Jenny patiently and kindly explained everything back to me. She told me first and foremost that I wouldn't be in danger of paying RateGenius a large fee: the company negotiate with lenders to lower my rates or lower the amount of time I was paying, and the RateGenius' small fee would be built into my payments - if they couldn't find me a cheaper rate, they wouldn't charge me, so there was no risk.

According to RateGenius, the average savings per month is $76 per car - all I can say is that mine was higher than average! I was shocked that this wasn't common knowledge, that refinancing is that easy.

With RateGenius, I'd be seeing more money in my bank account every month while making zero lifestyle changes, at a time where nearly everything else in my life was in flux. Eleanor would stay mine, and I'd get to pay less for her every month while belting to the classic rock station at full volume.

RateGenius made it incredibly easy for me to refinance my auto loans - I had to become an expert on divorce law recently, but with RateGenius, all I had to do was enter my info, thankfully.

Update: Fill out the pre-qualification form within a minute with zero impact on your credit score to see if you qualify for lower rates!

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Over two years into the most momentous event in our lives the world has changed forever … Some of us have PTSD from being locked up at home, some are living like everything’s going to end tomorrow, and the rest of us are merely trying to get by. When the pandemic hit we entered a perpetual state of vulnerability, but now we’re supposed to return to normal and just get on with our lives.

What does that mean? Packed bars, concerts, and grocery shopping without a mask feel totally strange. We got used to having more rules over our everyday life, considering if we really had to go out or keeping Zooming from our living rooms in threadbare pajama bottoms.

The work-from-home culture changed it all. Initially, companies were skeptical about letting employees work remotely, automatically assuming work output would fall and so would the quality. To the contrary, since March of 2020 productivity has risen by 47%, which says it all. Employees can work from home and still deliver results.

There are a number of reasons why everyone loves the work from home culture. We gained hours weekly that were wasted on public transport, people saved a ton of money, and could work from anywhere in the world. Then there were the obvious reasons like wearing sweats or loungewear all week long and having your pets close by. Come on, whose cat hasn’t done a tap dance on your keyboard in the middle of that All Hands Call!

Working from home grants the freedom to decorate your ‘office’ any way you want. But then people needed a change of environment. Companies began requesting their employees' RTO, thus generating the Hybrid Work Model — a blend of in-person and virtual work arrangements. Prior to 2020, about 20% of employees worked from home, but in the midst of the pandemic, it exploded to around 70%.

Although the number of people working from home increased and people enjoyed their flexibility, politicians started calling for a harder RTW policy. President Joe Biden urges us with, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”

While Boris Johnson said, “Mother Nature does not like working from home.'' It wasn’t surprising that politicians wanted people back at their desks due to the financial impact of working from the office. According to a report in the BBC, US workers spent between $2,000 - $5,000 each year on transport to work before the pandemic.

That’s where the problem lies. The majority of us stopped planning for public transport, takeaway coffee, and fresh work-appropriate outfits. We must reconsider these things now, and our wallets are paying

the price. Gas costs are at an all-time high, making public transport increase their fees; food and clothes are all on a steep incline. A simple iced latte from Dunkin’ went from $3.70 to $3.99 (which doesn’t seem like much but 2-3 coffees a day with the extra flavors and shots add up to a lot), while sandwiches soared by 14% and salads by 11%.

This contributes to the pressure employees feel about heading into the office. Remote work may have begun as a safety measure, but it’s now a savings measure for employees around the world.

Bloomberg are offering its US staff a $75 daily commuting stipend that they can spend however they want. And other companies are doing the best they can. This still lends credence to ‘the great resignation.’ Initially starting with the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors which were hard hit during the pandemic, it has since spread to other industries. By September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.4 million resignations.

That’s where the most critical question lies…work from home, work from the office or stick to this new hybrid world culture?

Borris Johnson thinks, “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office.” Because his experience of working from home “is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”

While New York City Mayor Eric Adams says you “can't stay home in your pajamas all day."

In the end, does it really matter where we work if efficiency and productivity are great? We’ve proven that companies can trust us to achieve the same results — or better! — and on time with this hybrid model. Employees can be more flexible, which boosts satisfaction, improves both productivity and retention, and improves diversity in the workplace because corporations can hire through the US and indeed all over the world.

We’ve seen companies make this work in many ways, through virtual lunches, breakout rooms, paint and prosecco parties, and — the most popular — trivia nights.

As much as we strive for normalcy, the last two years cannot simply be erased. So instead of wiping out this era, it's time to embrace the change and find the right world culture for you.

What would get you into the office? Free lunch? A gym membership? Permission to hang out with your dog? Some employers are trying just that.

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Did you hear about the Great Resignation? It isn’t over. Just over two years of pandemic living, many offices are finally returning to full-time or hybrid experiences. This is causing employees to totally reconsider their positions.

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