Guide Single Parent Finances

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Whether single motherhood found you via divorce, unplanned pregnancy, choice or widowhood, it can be easy to find yourself looking around at those two-parent families at parent-teacher night and feeling pressured to take on a particular lifestyle. Maybe you can already afford a sprawling Tudor in an affluent neighborhood, Caribbean resort vacations, and expensive summer camps. Or, maybe your goals include affording those things in the future. But if you cannot afford your lifestyle, decide right now to change your spending.

They build their own amazing lives, on their own terms — within their own means. This definitely includes expenses like food and utilities, as well as clothes, electronics, and travel.

2. Insurance

The less you owe to other people, the easier it is to build wealth and reach your goals. State law in most places mandates that you carry car insurance, and your mortgage lender insists you buy homeowners insurance. Many single moms do not have coverage from life insurance, and I understand the hesitance. After all, it is one more monthly expense in an often very tight budget.

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Also, it is horrifying to think about your own mortality, and formally make end-of-life decisions about who would care for your children in the event something should happen to you. But the severity of the situation means you absolutely need to carry life insurance. Even if you feel confident your children would be well cared for by their dad or your sister or mom, there are so many financial considerations to plan for in your absence.

These could include:. Life insurance needs aren't one-size-fits-all. Start your life insurance checkup. We all experience a large, unplanned expense at some point. You could experience a job loss, medical emergency or sudden major expense like a car repair.

At the same time, get serious about your retirement planning. Take advantage of any investment benefits offered by your employer, and seek professional advice about investment strategies that can help you reach your goals.

So set big goals. Big, scary, hairy, glorious goals. Dream of your perfect career or your perfect home and then sketch out the steps to achieve them on a goal list.

10 single-parent money challenges and solutions

Whatever your goals may be, I urge you to take it even a step further. This can be you, too. Emma Johnson is a long-time financial journalist, author, and founder of the blog WealthySingleMommy. You could start by making a budget plan of all your income and outgoings to better understand what money you have. Open your own new bank account that only you have access to.

Separating from your partner may mean that you become entitled to new benefits and tax credits or higher amounts of benefits you already receive, check using the Benefits Calculator.

Financial Tips for Single Mothers

Inform Jobcentre Plus about your change in circumstances straight away, to avoid being overpaid or losing out on money. It is important to deal with joint bank accounts or credit cards quickly. You may need to take swift action to prevent your ex-partner from emptying a joint account or putting lots of purchases on a card that you are liable for. Contact the bank straight away to inform them. This means that either one of you can be asked to pay back the full amount owed. Contact the organisation in question and let them know, and ask where you should go for further advice.