As a single parent, I often compare my financial journey to a solo climb up a mountain. The path is treacherous, with falling rocks in the form of unexpected expenses, and steep climbs of emotional trials and tribulations. But just as any seasoned mountaineer will tell you, it’s all about the right preparation, the correct gear, and a healthy dose of determination.
1. Acknowledge Your Emotions:
Financial discussions often stir a whirlwind of emotions. It’s like opening an old, dusty attic door to rooms filled with fear, guilt, or anxiety. These emotions might seem intimidating, but acknowledging them is the first step to cleaning out this attic. It’s important to remember that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed and seek support.
2. Create a Realistic Budget:
Think of budgeting as planning your route up the mountain. A realistic budget is your roadmap, and each dollar you spend or save is a step towards your summit – financial stability. It’s essential to list all your income sources and expenditures, accounting for those unpredictable gusts of wind (unexpected expenses) that threaten to throw you off balance.
3. Prioritise and Automate Savings:
Imagine each penny you save as a seed planted in your financial garden. Even the smallest seed can grow into a sturdy tree providing shade and support in the future. Automating your savings ensures you consistently plant these seeds, building a lush garden of financial safety.
4. Invest in Your and Your Child’s Future:
Climbing our financial mountain doesn’t just secure our present, but it also paves the way for our children’s future. I consider long-term investments as time capsules buried today, which can provide substantial returns for our children’s education and our retirement.
5. Teach Your Child About Money:
One of the most rewarding moments in my journey was when my daughter, Lucy, understood the concept of ‘delayed gratification’. After receiving her first allowance, she wanted to buy a toy immediately. But we had a talk about saving, and I used the analogy of her favourite fairytale, “The Tortoise and The Hare”. I explained that like the tortoise, slowly and consistently saving money would help her win the ‘financial race’. She saved up for weeks and bought the toy herself – a triumphant tortoise!
6. Seek Professional Help if Needed:
Even the strongest climbers sometimes need a helping hand. The same applies to our financial journey. If the stress becomes too heavy, like an oversized backpack, remember that it’s okay to seek professional advice. A financial advisor or psychologist can provide relief, reassurance, and valuable insights.
As single parents, we are not just climbers, but we’re also trailblazers, carving out a path for our children. By understanding the emotional dynamics of money and utilising them to make well-informed financial decisions, we’re not only bridging the emotional gap but also creating a sturdy bridge to financial wellness. Our climb might be steep, but remember, the best views come after the hardest climb. Let’s keep climbing, one step at a time.