Solvable Spring 2021 Scholarship Winner

In 2019, Solvable launched the Solvable Scholarship, to help the next generation of taxpayers start their journey of financial independence and freedom. To apply, students must write an essay about what personal financial freedom meant to them.

Our fall 2021 Scholarship winner embodied Solvable’s values of hard work and grit. Congrats to our Spring 2021 winner, Claire W. from Truckee Meadows Community College. Read her essay below!

Solvable Spring 2021 Scholarship Winner

When I divorced, my credit score was 468. I had no money in the bank. I hadn’t had a job in
four years. With two small children to care for and everything to lose, I made a list and got to
work.

We were staying with my mom, in her studio apartment. Little Lily was still sleeping in a pack-
and-play, and my son, Gus, and I shared an air mattress. I knew single mom life wouldn’t be
easy. One of the things that kept me in a toxic marriage so long was that my ex-husband made
money. He paid the bills. Until he didn’t. Until he was gone. Now it was all up to me.
Before I was married, I lived in student housing. Of course, I dropped out of college when my
ex-husband wanted to travel and I never went back (until now). Within that relationship, I
assumed a domestic role. Any work I picked up was extra money, but I never contributed to the
household. I didn’t know how. When the children were born, I naturally stayed home with
them. But something in me changed when my role turned to “Mommy”. I wanted to be
more. I knew I could be. I wanted to show my babies how to live and the life I had – that wasn’t
living.

I started by asking for help. Long hours at the welfare office helped me get food and a little
money to get by. They sent me to an employment workshop and gave me vouchers for clothes
so I could go to interviews. I had a job within two weeks and, once employed, qualified for a
childcare subsidy to send the kids to a decent daycare.

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My financial independence was hard won. Having been financially dependent on my ex-
husband for so long, my confidence was low. But I was careful. I took the good advice of helpful
coworkers and new friends. Within a few months, I had enough to move us into our own
apartment. A few months later, I qualified for my first credit card. I kept saving and putting
money aside to pay off the debts from the last apartment I shared with my husband and the
medical bills from when Lily was born.

With a steady income, my bills were always paid on time. My credit score increased enough for
me to lease a new car, rather than drive (and pay for) the one still in my ex-husband’s name. I
live cheap and I prioritize saving. When the pandemic struck, I had money in the bank to
support us when I was laid off. Every unemployment check, stimulus payment, tax refund, and
penny on the sidewalk went into my savings account and I finally got to the point where I had
the means and the opportunity to follow my dream and finish college.

In two years, I will be an elementary school teacher. My credit score is 712. I have money in the
bank. I have never paid my rent late. My kids do sports and have new shoes. Our fridge is never empty. Our car always has fuel. I feel lucky. I feel blessed. But mostly, I’ve never felt more
powerful in all my life.