financial advice for new single mothers

9 Pieces of Important Financial Advice For New Single Mothers

financial advice for new single mothers


Life is different now. You have recently been through a divorce and are now the single head of a household, which is a huge personal – and financial – responsibility. While you may still be doing many of the same things as before, you now are 100 percent responsible. There is no one to share the myriad responsibilities and decision-making.

This may be all new to you. It is also likely that you are still riding an emotional rollercoaster. Now is a good time to step back and take a deep breath. While many financial challenges lie ahead, understand that you can do this.

Financial Advice For New Single Mothers

What do single mothers have to do differently financially? To achieve financial success, newly single mothers should heed the following advice.

Just say no to credit card debt

Don’t live beyond your means and rack up high-interest credit card debt. This is one of the worst debts to have due to high-interest rates. Credit card debt should be paid off first when prioritizing bills.

Prioritize what is most important.

Take a moment (or longer) to assess your new financial life. Your family needs you to clearly understand how you can make everything work, without sacrificing too many of “the good times.” Review your lifestyle and analyze what changes and/or adaptations need to be made. Prioritize and differentiate between your needs and wants, and those of your family. Make notes. Create lists. Write things down.

Ultimately, let this “prioritization” process guide your budget. Focus on just a few practical lifestyle/financial priorities and learn to make concessions with others.

Get real with what you can afford.

Create a realistic budget. Track your spending over a specific time to see where your money goes. The goal is not to set up an austerity program that is so severe that everyone is unhappy; rather you just need to accurately understand your spending habits so you can manage and track your flow of money in an honest manner. For example, if yoga makes you happy and less stressed overall, look a reasonably-priced studio in your area or do an at-home workout.

Not spending money on yourself (within reason) can be detrimental in the long run. It is fine to put some of the focus on you. Every mom has been told that she needs to take care of herself first, so she has the energy and resources to take care of others. This applies to finances too.

Don’t try to keep up with everyone else.

Even if your lifestyle had been different previously, now is not the time to try to keep up with your neighbors and friends. As we said earlier, your life is different now. The financial decisions you make going forward will be based on a different set of circumstances.

For example, prioritize making mortgage payments and saving for (or taking) one annual family vacation, rather than putting yourself into debt to drive a more expensive car.  Even if it seems that’s what everyone else is doing, prioritizing driving the Mercedes instead of keeping up with your everyday bills will only hurt you in the long run.

Manage risk smartly.

Having only one income means it is just that much more important to protect. Obtain life and disability insurance to protect you and your family in the event the unforeseen should happen … because it can. Unfortunately, I have worked with clients who depended exclusively on one income and that person became sick and was out of work for several months.

It was both unfortunate and sad. Purchasing a cost-effective disability policy is a prudent way to safeguard against a potential loss of income.

Develop a plan B.

Planning for the future is an important component of ongoing financial awareness. Many people have asked me what is necessary for an estate plan when you have young children. At the very least set up a will. Should something happen to you, you want to have a say in who will care for your kids and where your assets will go. You do not want to be in a situation where the state determines who the guardian of your children should be – what if that is not aligned with your intent? Get it in writing.

A full estate plan is recommended (including health care proxy and power of attorney), but creating a will is a good, productive first step.

Pay yourself first.

With only one income, it may seem harder to save for retirement, especially if you envision having college educations to pay for, but it is critical to do so. Children can receive financial aid, scholarships, and loans to help pay for school, but those alternatives do not exist for retirement. Put away as much as you can into your retirement savings on a pre-tax basis and make sure to contribute at least as much as your employer matches (it’s free money!).

Don’t try to do everything on your own.

Not having a knowledgeable team of resources on your side can be the biggest disservice possible to yourself. A smart parent – especially a single parent – is aware of what they don’t know and asks for help when she needs it. This includes seeking help with your finances. Work with an advisor who places your interests first to help you make sense of the various aspects of your financial life and empower you to become educated on these topics.

Get referrals for accountants, estate planners, etc., from trusted friends or colleagues who you know have been in a similar situation to what you are facing. Building a support system will make managing finances as a single parent much less overwhelming.

Proactive Approach

Taking a realistic, proactive financial approach as a single mother is essential to your well-being and that of your family. Following the advice in this article can help you avoid unnecessary anxiety and keep your financial options open as a single parent.

The post 9 Pieces of Important Financial Advice For New Single Mothers appeared first on Divorced Moms.


financial house in order

How I Got My Financial House In Order After An Unwanted Divorce

financial house in order


Tax time. As I dropped by the post office to get the right postage for the thick packet of homework to send to my accountant, I smiled to myself, confident that I had my financial house in order. It brought back memories of all the effort it took to dig a new foundation years ago, after my divorce.

I no longer get weak-kneed and shaky thinking about those months leading to the divorce. The request for a divorce came as a surprise to me. So busy with family and career that I hadn’t been attending to the finer points of our family finances—that was something my trusted husband did.

Evidently, I wasn’t attending to the marriage either.

Rather, I was full throttle busy but confident that it wouldn’t be long before we would have an opportunity to do a reset as a couple once our last child left for college.  My husband was on another page. When the last child was launched, he would also start his new chapter. And, it didn’t include me.

The shock of divorce rattled me, and I don’t rattle easily. In fact, calm is my middle name. My career track steady and upward for the entirety of our marriage, I was now close to the top of my field, responsible for business lines that were valued at tens of millions of dollars. “On the rise” is what people would tell my husband about me at the rare work event of mine that we attended together.

I wonder now if that message didn’t send alarm bells to him—a signal that we were out of sync. After all, he had married a younger woman still in grad school with no prospects, and as he was older, his career was already launched. Perhaps neither of us took stock of what that would mean later.

Silly me, I thought we were happy and about to enter that golden time in a couple’s marriage when the burden of children is lifted, careers are set, and a second honeymoon is around the corner as empty nesters take the time to find one another again.

Some must find divorce a relief after years of strife, or abuse.

I found it confusing, embarrassing and disorienting. It took me months to feel myself again and to assure myself that the kids were ok—or as ok as they could be with their world shaken. But they had new worlds to explore, going off to college was a happy and understood rite of passage.

Divorce at middle-age is not. Although more “gray” adults are divorcing now, it still hurts me when I see a couple that is celebrating their 40 plus wedding anniversary. Surrounded by children and grand-children, toasting one another with loving looks, sometimes sharing a truth about having weathered a storm or two, but toughing it out. Good for them.

Life is hard. So, when you find someone to hang onto, it is a blessing. When you lose that person, it is difficult, regardless of the circumstances. After the initial shock wore off, and I adjusted to the fact that my husband of twenty years plus didn’t want to be married to me anymore, I wanted to get out of the marriage as quickly as possible. During that period of deep hurt, I realized how little I knew about our finances.

Pulling papers together, going through correspondence, talking to bankers, and finally, my own attorney, I was overwhelmed. I needed help. Someone to take charge of my funds—once I settled out— invest them, and work with me on managing them wisely. I also needed a CPA to help me with tax planning, short and long term.

I was startled by what I didn’t know. 

It’s not like I was a princess who had waited for her prince charming to come along and rescue her. I was a smart woman who had navigated to a high-profile career with a great future ahead of me. But I had not paid attention to the essentials of investing for my own future. Why would I? My future was intertwined with my husband’s, and he was looking out for both of us, right?

I felt powerless and knew I had to take control to conquer that fear. And, I did. But it took years, and a small village, to get me to a place that feels comfortable.

How I Got My Financial House In Order

Fortunately, through the referral from a trusted friend, I found a broker who was indispensable when it came time to receiving my settlement monies and guiding me through the decision making on where to make investments. Another friend referred me to her tax accountant who turned out to be heaven-sent. To this day, she has my back and has recently helped me through the intricacies of college savings for my grandchildren.

As I leave the post office, I realize that my comfort now is due to the fact that I educated myself, took advice from trusted friends, and brick by brick learned to build my financial house on solid ground.

My lesson was learned the hard way. Married couples are partners for financial planning and the tasks should not be delegated to one partner only.  Quarterly meetings to review your financials and make adjustments as needed, with both partners conversant and supportive of the financial plan is the best practice. Things happen, and when they do, the last thing you want is to be distracted about is your financial security.

The post How I Got My Financial House In Order After An Unwanted Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.


Personal, Property & Financial Information Your Divorce Attorney Will Need

Personal, Property & Financial Information Your Divorce Attorney Will Need

Once you’ve made your decision to divorce, your new attorney will need information from you in order to get the ball rolling and the divorce process started.

The post Personal, Property & Financial Information Your Divorce Attorney Will Need appeared first on Divorce Magazine.


4 Financial Things to Consider Before You File For Divorce

4 Financial Things to Consider Before You File For Divorce

If you’re considering divorce you need to consider the financial implications of getting a divorce. Are you in a position, financially, to pay child support, or provide for your children after years of being a stay-at-home mom?

The post 4 Financial Things to Consider Before You File For Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.


Financial Infidelity is On The Rise: Why Couples Keep Financial Secrets

Financial Infidelity is On The Rise: Why Couples Keep Financial Secrets

Do you keep financial secrets from your spouse? If you do, you’re not the only one. Many Americans keep money secrets from their spouses. Learn more here.

The post Financial Infidelity is On The Rise: Why Couples Keep Financial Secrets appeared first on Divorce Magazine.


Redesigning Your Financial Life After Divorce

Redesigning Your Financial Life After Divorce

Practical steps for handling your financial matters during the divorce transition.

The post Redesigning Your Financial Life After Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.


information your divorce attorney will need

Personal, Property, and Financial Information Your Divorce Attorney Will Need

information your divorce attorney will need


A lot goes into choosing a divorce attorney. I always suggest three attorneys be interviewed before deciding which to hire. During the interview process, you can learn about the attorney’s experience, their fees and get a feel for whether or not you feel the two of you could have a good working relationship.

Once you’ve made your decision, the new attorney will need information from you in order to get the ball rolling and the divorce process started. Some information is basic, will require no work from you. Other information will require time and energy and it is always best to be prepared. So, before you even start the interview process, why not get ahead of the game by gathering as much information as possible so that when it comes time to answer questions your new divorce attorney has, you will be prepared.

Below is a list of common questions/information your divorce attorney will need.

You will find this list helpful when compiling documents and materials your attorney will expect from you.

Personal Information:

  • Your full name, date of birth and social security number.
  • Contact information such as an address, landline/cell phone number, and email address.
  • Proof of state of residency.
  • Your employer’s name, address, and phone number.
  • Your length of employment and your monthly or annual salary. You should be prepared to show your attorney at least three years in income tax returns.
  • Your spouse’s full name, date of birth and social security number.
  • Contact information for your spouse such as an address, landline/cell phone number, and an email address.
  • Your spouse’s employer information, address, and phone number.
  • Your spouse’s length of employment and salary.
  • If the attorney will be serving your spouse with divorce paperwork they will need to know where you want this to take place. At your spouse’s work or place of residence?
  • The date and place you were married.
  • The name of your spouse’s attorney if he/she has one.
  • The name of a marital therapist you and your spouse visited with times and dates.
  • A list of the marital problems that led to divorce if any involve alcohol or drug abuse, religious differences, infidelity or sexual incompatibility.
  • The full names, dates of birth and social security numbers of any children born during the marriage.
  • Which parent the children now reside with and whether or not a custody dispute will be part of the divorce process.
  • The full names, dates of birth and social security numbers of any children from a previous marriage.
  • If you pay child support, how much you pay. If you receive child support, how much you receive.
  • Whether or not your spouse has children from a previous marriage. If so, how much child support is paid or received.
  • Who provides health insurance for the children born of this marriage?

Property Information:

  • Addresses of property owned jointly or separately.
  • Addresses of any mortgage companies you have accounts with.
  • The estimated fair market value of homes owned.
  • The balance on any mortgages.
  • The amount of monthly payments to a mortgage company.
  • A list of all automobiles, boats, motorcycles, trailers or airplanes owned jointly or separately.
  • The year, make and model of each and who has possession.
  • The name and address of any lender who may hold the title to autos, boats, motorcycles, trailers or airplanes.

Financial Information:

  • A list of all joint and separate bank accounts, savings accounts, C.D.’s, Credit Union accounts, Savings Bonds and Stocks and Mutual Funds.
  • How many debit cards you have for each account and the names on those cards.
  • A list of any credit card accounts you hold jointly or separately. The names on the accounts and the balance due.
  • Information about retirement accounts, 401K’s and other investment type accounts.
  • Disclosure of any life insurance policies, whose life is insured and for how much.
  • A list of names of those who owe you money. How much they owe and the expected payment date.
  • A list of any lawsuits you may be involved in.
  • A list of any livestock, such as cattle or horses that you may own.

The post Personal, Property, and Financial Information Your Divorce Attorney Will Need appeared first on Divorced Moms.


Why Hire a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®?

Why Hire a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®?

Even if you think you’ve kept finances separate, there are laws and divorce negotiations that may have financial implications. That’s where hiring a Certified Financial Analyst® (CDFA®) can ease the burden.

The post Why Hire a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®? appeared first on Divorce Magazine.


financial issues ruining your relationship

Are Financial Issues Ruining Your Relationship?

financial issues ruining your relationship


Financial issues tend to be the number one reason behind relationship problems and divorce. Many couples want to sweep the subject under the rug rather than meeting this important subject head-on. There are fewer conflicts when it comes to budgeting, spending, and saving when couples work on understanding each other’s relationship to money.

Unfortunately, many couples think that leaving their financial baggage at the door is the answer to avoiding conflict. The reality is that couples need to be open and honest with one another regarding their financial expectations and spending habits. Putting off dealing with money issues will only create deeper wounds that lead to trust issues and ultimately breakups.

The good news is that if you discuss these issues early on, money problems don’t have to develop into a major relationship hurdle. In fact, the more you and your partner communicate about ‘difficult’ subjects like money, the closer you will become. Learning how to work together to resolve money problems and save for a promising future will only strengthen your partnership for the long haul.

Make sure to approach the subject of finances with an open mind.  Realize that both of you have different views about how money should be handled.

Try this 5 step process to effectively address financial issues ruining your relationship:

Step 1: Lay it all out in the open

It’s important to show your partner just how much money you are responsible for managing. Look at debts, loans, credit lines, investments, and accounts.  A successful relationship is one where both partners can be open with each other, so don’t be afraid to bring out your credit card and loan statements. If something happened to you, your partner would need to understand everything that you’ve been managing. Hiding things now will only lead to bigger issues down the road.

Step 2: Determine who manages money best

Often times, there is one person in every relationship that is better at dealing with money.  That person is often the one who regularly tracks their spending, has the best credit rating, and doesn’t hesitate to open bills and make sure things get paid on time. This person should be designated the relationship “money manager”.

Step 3: Define spending boundaries

Decide together on an amount of money that each of you can spend without consulting the other. Let’s say the amount is $500. If a purchase is over $500, then you agree to make a joint decision about that item. You may also feel more comfortable having one joint account that you both contribute to for household bills and two individual accounts for personal spending.

Decide what makes the most sense to you based on the number of accounts you want to manage and how you tend to spend money. For example, if one of you spends down whatever is in the account each month, and the other always leaves extra, your spending and saving styles may benefit from having individual personal accounts.

Step 4: Create a backup fund

Decide how much you’ll set aside from each of your paychecks to be used as an emergency savings account. Discuss what kind of emergencies you might expect to draw from the account for. Determine if you would like to consult each other first before using any emergency funds.

Step 5: Discuss future financial situations

Consider the birth of a child, job changes, parents who need care, and retirement expectations. For example, it’s important to discuss whether one partner will stay home after the birth of a child. Or what will happen should someone lose their job?  Would you consider taking in a sick parent and providing a caretaking role? What ages do you expect to retire? Always communicate about possibilities so you are ready for whatever setback or life change may come your way.

The post Are Financial Issues Ruining Your Relationship? appeared first on Divorced Moms.