According to Parent24, a recent study by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR), found that 40% of South African mothers are single parents.
Read more: The single mom's survival guide
As a single mom, you have a lot on your plate. From remembering your children’s schedules to ensuring they have everything they need for school every day, to catering for their food requirements, it’s no wonder that you often feel exhausted.
And then of course there’s the financial strain of looking after your family, often just on one salary. This can be really overwhelming at times and a huge source of stress.
Speaking to DRUM, Schalk Malan, who is a qualified actuary and the CEO of Brightrock, shared a few tips on how single moms could take control and own their financial freedom.
- Get financially savvy
As a mother, you should think of yourself as a financial manager of your family’s wealth. After all, your money is how you provide for your children, so knowing your way around the financial side of things is really important.
Some ways to get financially savvy include:
- Ask for advice – speak to a financial adviser, ask knowledgeable friends, or find a financial role model.
- Learn the lingo – there’s nothing more empowering than education. Learn what financial terms mean and what their implications are, and concepts like compound interest will become far more familiar to you.
- Read a book or two – there are many useful financial books out there from financial advisers, other single moms and generally financially savvy people. There’s bound to be a few books you can relate to and learn from.
- Budget, budget, budget
Having a budget will help you plan better. You’ll be able to see at a glance what money is coming in, what your expenses are and where you can cut back.
A budget will help you stay clear of debt because you’ll be able to see upfront what money you have available to you once you’ve paid off your expenses. It’s really important to try and save between 10 and 15% of your salary every month, so do what you can to work that into your budget.
- Protect your children’s future by protecting your assets and income
Taking out life insurance can help you make provision for the costs of raising and educating your children should something happen to you and you are unable to support your children financially due to illness, injury or death. When considering life insurance, think about your cover in terms of both your income needs (to cover your living expenses) and asset needs protection (to pay off debt and secure your major assets).
It’s best you speak to a financial adviser about finding an insurance product that enables you to tailor your cover to your specific needs, and allows you to convert your cover should one of your needs fall away – such as your children becoming financially independent.
When you’re ready, consider investing some of your savings. It’s best to speak to a financial adviser to assist you with finding a portfolio that will work for you and your children’s needs.
Once again, it’s a good idea to seek financial advice and consider things such as what you will invest in, for how long, what will give you the best returns (short-term and long-term), and most importantly, what you are investing for.
In the end, it’s all about getting your money to work harder for you and your family by empowering yourself with knowledge and taking charge of your family’s wealth.