There are ten million single moms in the US. And more than half (57%) of millennial moms are unmarried or single, according to one John’s Hopkins study tracking fertility trends. That rate is only going up as more Americans are waiting longer to get married and having babies while single.
But having to do it all on your own doesn’t mean you can’t have it all says Emma Johnson, author of Kickass Single Mom, on sale today. Johnson’s “single mom manifesto” encourages women to earn, save and invest as they strive for financial independence.
Be realistic about your financial picture today. Don’t base your lifestyle on the one you had when you were in a relationship or where you hope to be in the future. “Create a budget based on what is coming in today and what is going out today. That might mean downsizing your lifestyle which can be amazing liberating,” says Johnson.
Make financial independence your goal. “Most single moms find any child support they’re owed to be a huge source of conflict, time and energy suck. And only 40% of child support owed is actually paid, with the average sum being less than $300,” says Johnson. Even if you might be legally entitled to alimony and/or child support, your kids’ other parent could become unemployed, disabled, die or otherwise lose his or her income. Instead of wasting your energy on not getting what’s yours, Johnson encourages single moms to focus on earning and achieving.
Surround yourself with supportive people with big financial and professional goals. Studies show that who you spend time with affects whether you will smoke, be in debt, or be overweight — same for your professional potential. This might mean spending less time with people you love and seeking out new friends, networks and colleagues who inspire you. Check out Johnson’s popular closed Facebook group “Millionaire Single Moms” to connect with thousands of solo mommas who are dreaming big about everything from their work-lives to their sex-lives.
The ‘Stay at home mom’ fantasy keeps women back. Working mom guilt plagues all moms, single or married. But study after study shows that a mother’s career, earning and learning, are the best gifts she can give her children. “It’s all about quality over quantity. In fact it makes no difference after age 3 how much time mothers spend with their kids. That takes so much pressure off of moms who struggle with not spending countless hours with her kids.”
Go big! Never set low professional or financial goals because you are a single mom. If your chores are getting in the way, outsource the tasks that don’t bring you joy. Instead of spending time on things that suck the life out of you, turn to TaskRabbit or Care.com to delegate tasks, and focus on growing your wealth. “This is an incredible new chapter and you will stun yourself with what you can achieve,” says Johnson.