How to parent on a single-mom income

by BabyYumYum
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Single moms are heroes. They’re not only raising the next generation but they’re doing it single-handedly and making it look easy. But, while multitasking may be their superpower, even supermoms need a little help every now and then, especially when it comes to managing on a single income.

The number of single moms in South Africa is growing. According to Old Mutual’s 2019 Savings and Investment Monitor, 54% of South African mothers classify themselves as single. And, of that 54%, only 20% say they regularly get financial support from the father; 29% say “every now and then” and 50% never get financial support.

At the core of great financial planning sits a budget, and no one understands the importance of having and sticking to a set budget better than any mother.

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Another helpful hint is setting savings goals that both you and your children can get excited about. “Knowing what you are budgeting for helps you to stay focused, giving you the right motivation when deciding what expenses to cut,” says Ramookho, Strategic Retail Marketing Manager at Old Mutual who suggests using a reputable app such as 22seven to help you keep track of your financial goals. “Be clear and precise about what your goals are and give them timelines.”

“Adopting a few basic principles will help set you up for the future you want, such as ‘paying yourself first’.”

She also recommends including your children in the process. “When you involve your children in your financial journey it helps them to understand the bigger picture. While they do not have to know all the details of your income and spend, introducing them to the basics from a young age can provide them with the tools they will need when they become adults.”

Partnering with a qualified financial adviser can be hugely beneficial, she says. “In the same way that your kids have coaches for sports and other extracurricular activities, it is essential for moms to enlist the services of an accredited financial adviser who will coach them towards their desired financial future.”

Adopting a few basic principles will help set you up for the future you want, such as “paying yourself first”. As a sole provider, Ramookho says it’s important to protect yourself and your ability to generate an income, as well as provide for life after retirement, and for your dependants.

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According to Ramookho, a comprehensive financial plan for a single mom should include the following:

  • A retirement plan;
  • A risk plan that will pay out should you be unable to work due to illness or disability;
  • Cover that will pay out to your dependents should you pass on;
  • Savings for education, emergencies and other goals such as holidays;
  • It is also vital to have a will in place that clearly states how you would like your estate to be handled, who should act as a guardian for your children and other wishes that you would like to be followed in your absence.

Sometimes, the best-laid plans (or budgets) can get knocked off course by an unexpected school activity for the kids or an emergency dental procedure. At times like these, your credit card may seem like a quick solution.

“If you find yourself taking on debt to service monthly expenses or meet short-term obligations such as emergency expenses, make a series of conscious decisions along the way to reduce your expenditure and channel even the smallest savings towards paying off credit cards or personal loans as soon as possible,” she concludes.

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