Being a single mother comes with many challenges, one of the biggest of these is financial stress.
Knowing how to manage finances as a single mother is crucial, as financial stability can ease all the other daily pressures that come with raising your child.
Therefore, our financial advisors have put together some important financial advice for single mothers in South Africa, in honour of Women’s month.
To begin, it’s important to note that single mothers and women in general face unique financial challenges.
A clear example of this is the gender-based pay inequality in corporate South Africa. According to the ILO Global Wage reports of 2018 and 2019, women are still paid on average 28% less than men.
What is even more concerning is that South Africa has the largest overall wage inequality in the world.
In addition, women often face other issues of discrimination when it comes to employment, simply based on their gender and biological abilities.
In other words, women are often pressured into conforming to outdated gender roles, such as staying at home and raising children while others are denied employment because employers are concerned about providing maternity leave.
To add fuel to the fire, other research shows that approximately 60% of South African children have fathers who are absent and 40% of mothers are single parents.
These statistics are shocking and a clear indication that building wealth as a single mom in South Africa is extremely difficult.
Don’t underestimate or try to protect your children from the realities of life. Talking to them openly and honestly about money and your financial situation is important.
However, to encourage them to develop a healthy relationship with money, avoid speaking about money in a negative way.
Help your children identify the difference between wanting and needing something from a young age and let them know what you can afford to pay for and what you cannot.
Being a single parent is tough and often comes with immense guilt. The common response is for single mothers to buy their children toys and other material objects in the hope that it will fill the gap in the home.
However, this is a one-way road to additional financial pressure and also teaches your child that it’s okay to try achieve happiness with material things.
Whether it’s for a raise, extra benefits or flexible hours, ask for what you want and negotiate the offers you receive in your favour.
Ask your ex for some financial support, ask your friends for help with picking up your children from day-care when your meeting runs late and ask your baby sitter to come over for a few hours so you can have some time for yourself.
Think about where you live, work and send your children to school. As far as possible, try and keep these three locations as close as possible to each other.
The further you have to travel between work, school and home, the more time and money you spend on travelling. This is an unnecessary and avoidable financial burden.
Being a single mother means that you are running a single-income household. Should something happen to you that renders you unable to work and earn an income, an income protection policy can help you cover the costs during the time that you are unable to work, whether it’s temporary or permanent.
Medical costs are expensive and good medical care is crucial when you have children. Therefore, putting yourself and your children onto a medical aid and gap cover is necessary to avoid having to pay for exorbitant medical fees out of your pocket.
A reasonable monthly premium is easier to afford than the cost of an overnight stay in hospital.
In the unfortunate event of your death, you want to make sure that your children are financially provided for until they reach an age where they are able to look after themselves.
A life insurance policy can help you achieve this.
This is not just a term used by millennials. In fact, many people from previous generations are finding the value in a second source of income.
Whether it’s a hobby that you can turn into a source of income, or perhaps you want to do an online course to upskill and expand your offerings – either way, a side hustle can help you through some tough financial dips.
Working with a financial planner ensures that you get the most out of every rand that you have. Financial advisors are trained to find the most effective and rewarding ways to stretch your money as far as it can go, while you work towards financial stability and independence.
Our financial advisors understand the unique challenges faced by women and single mothers in South Africa.
We also know that these challenges make it extremely difficult to build wealth as a single mom. However, knowing how to manage finances as a single mother is key to achieving financial stability for you and your children.
Our financial planners in Johannesburg offer sound advice, backed by years of experience as we aim to help you invest wisely.
For more information about our financial services or for more financial tips for single mothers, contact us.
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