Gail Vaz-Oxlade — famous for giving financial advice to Canadians in books and on TV — has co-written a new book aimed at helping people address the many challenges when they find themselves single in middle age.
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Vaz-Oxlade announced last July that she was retiring, after years of giving personal financial advice to Canadians through books and as the former host of popular TV shows like Til Debt Do Us Part, Princess and Money Moron.
Now, she has co-authored with Victoria Ryce the book CEO of Everything: Flying Solo and Soaring.
Vaz-Oxlade spoke with the host of Alberta@Noon Judy Aldous this week.
Q: You're someone who's suddenly dealt with being single in middle age. Tell me about your experiences and the inspiration behind this book.
A: We wrote this book after being inspired by a blog on my website called CEO of Everything. I thought it was so applicable, even to people who are divorcing, because it feels like the rug's been ripped out from under you and you're not sure what your next steps should be.
We decided to create this guide so that everybody else doesn't have to do it as if it's the first time it's happening.
Q: So what are some of the new challenges faced, particularly by women, who are thrust into singlehood?
I've been divorced in my 20s, my 30s and my 50s. While it might seem I've developed some expertise in the divorce arena, each time it's happened I've been left adrift. Who am I going to sit down and have coffee with? Who am I going to tell about my day?
It takes a little bit of an adjustment, but after my last separation I was so much more comfortable with the idea of me being my best friend. I think the message I want to get across to people who are facing this is to look for what you have gained.
The reality is you gain stuff just as much as you lose stuff.
Q: One of the biggest changes people experience is to their social lives. What is that transition like?
A: All the people you had in your life as a couple aren't going to stay there. It's a really sad reality. The first cut is the loss of your mate, the second cut is the loss of your friends. People will dump you because you don't meet their criteria anymore, because you're not part of a couple.
That's part of the journey from where you are to where you're going to go next. It may mean that you have to actively work to build new networks. For example, when I'm sick, I have a neighbour and I have a key to her house and she has a key to my house, and all I have to do is text when I'm sick and say 'bring food' and it will come.
Ask for some help. You don't have to do things all for yourself. There are so many ways to turn this into something positive.
Let's not talk about being single as being second best to a relationship. It's its own great thing.
With files from Alberta@Noon