How To Master Money And Build Wealth As A Single Mom Or Dad By Practicing Disciplined Parenting

Today, let’s talk about how you can avoid being broke as a single parent, so you can master money and build wealth as a single mom or dad.

Because here’s the deal: Although being a parent with your partner in a marriage comes with its own set of challenges (you know, the types of difficulties that almost every marriage go through)…

… the challenges of being a single parent are even more painful to overcome.

Right now, we’re in the fourth paragraph of Page 36, under the title ‘Single Parents’, in Chapter 2 of Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money.

And here’s my lesson for the day:

As a single mom or dad, your job as a single parent is tough already – you’re literally doing the impossible. But please, use disciplined parenting with your kids, so you can master money and build wealth.

First of all, if you’re a single parent reading this, I so respect, cherish, and value you. You’re practically doing the impossible, and I can’t appreciate you enough.

Because here’s the deal: In a home with a husband, wife, and their kids, it’s tough enough to effectively be excellent parents to the kids and take loving care of them.

For example, as parents, we often worry about:

  • how to afford to pay for the various needs of our kids,
  • how to ensure the emotional well-being of our kids,
  • how to make sure our kids are doing well in school,
  • how well they’re making the right kind of friends,
  • how fast they’re growing and maturing with respect to their age brackets and development cycles,
  • and a host of 100 other areas we constantly juggle in our heads as parents, so we can try to give our kids the best of everything

And now, take all those 110+ responsibilities, multiple that by the number of kids, and pile everything on that single mom or dad…

… and suddenly, you realize how tough it is raise great and well-adjusted kids as a single parent in America, without running crazy yourself.

Bottom line: As a single parent, you represent the best of us, and your works motivate us.

But these unbelievable challenges could make you broke, into a single parent who’s barely scraping by, and struggling to achieve any real financial success.

What’s more, the stats on single parents are heartbreaking:

From the book, Dave quotes the Department of Commerce as saying that “55 percent of single moms are considered poor.”

Here are more eye-opening stats on single parenting in America:

  • Out of 11 million single parent families with children under the age of 18, 80 percent were headed by single mothers (Source: Table FG10. Family Groups: 2019)
  • About two thirds (60%) of single mothers are working outside the home, a slightly greater share than the share of married mothers (76%) who are also working outside the home (Source 1; Source 2)
  • The median income for families led by a single mother in 2018 was about $45,128, well below the $93,654 median for married couples (Source)
  • The poverty rate for single-mother families in 2018 was 34%, nearly five times more than the rate (6%) for married-couple families (Source)
  • About two thirds (60%) of all homeless families nationwide were headed by single women with children — representing 21% of the total homeless population; with nearly half being African Americans (49%) (Source)

What does all of these numbers mean, in one word? Disturbing.

Because the things is: You can look at these financial stats one way, and conclude – the stats are definitely not in your favor as a single parent.

Or you can look at these same figures another way, and decide: I’ll be the one to break these barriers.

As a single parent, this can put a chip on your shoulder, so you can prove to the world, your ex, those who left you and have doubted your efforts – to show them that you can do it.

This tends to build up added pressure on top of what the many challenges you overcome everyday, but there’s this financial challenge that affects a lot of single parents.

Think of this financial challenge as: trying to moving one step forward, but then jumping ten steps backwards. No one makes financial progress and achieves financial freedom that way.

What’s the financial challenge? Here it is:

A lot of single parents can’t say “no” to their kids.

They’re worried their children would feel bad, sad, and unhappy…

… which could then mean that their children would turn out bad, become a nuisance to the society, and all of these hard work, late nights, working three extra jobs and night shifts, would have all been for nothing!

It’s scary – I know.

Truth is: Parenting kids is always a soft spot for any parent, but parenting is even trickier for you, as a single mom or dad, because only you now have to worry about making sure your kids turn out fine and become well-adjusted in life.

In Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money, Dave tells a story of a single mom who has been doing very well with her personal finances – making monthly budgets and staying on track the whole time.

Although this single mom almost had to budget for every single dollar, she was still able to continuously steer her family finances in a comfortable direction.

In other words, everything was going well and fine, until…

… Until that fateful Friday when a chain of events with her car, her kids’s school, and her job meant she had to decide between:

  1. Taking out a oh-so-precious $20 bill (considering her budget) to get McDonald’s for her kids, who ‘so badly’ wanted those hot burgers and fries; or
  2. Keeping the $20, driving home, and fixing everyone something for dinner

As a single adult, what would you do in this situation?

Would you spend that $20 and probably have to bounce 5 checks (like the single mom had to do)?; or would you calm the kids down, say “no” to McDonald’s, and give them a home-made meal?

Thing is: This is definitely a tough choice to make, especially when the well-being of the kids are likely on the line here.

But if you desire to master your money and build wealth, as a single mom or dad, this is where you’ll wand to take a stand, whereby you’ll need to practice disciplined parenting with your kids.

Because here’s the deal: children have no sense of how long or how much you have to work, so you could get that $20, or $50, or $70, and so they’ll take everything, if you give it to them.

If you choose to empty out your savings and give it to your kids, your kids won’t say “no”. Why?

Because they don’t know better, and more importantly, they can’t see the whole picture.

They can’t see what you see everyday as the breadwinner of the family. They might see that you go out early and come back very late at night, or that you have to come in from a job, quickly shower, and head out for your next job…

… but they still can’t fully grasp or understand what that truly means for your family finances. They’re young, immature, and want everything here and now.

But you know better…

  • You know, how much every $5 can make or break your monthly budget
  • You know, you can’t just ask for a raise from your boss, and get it – just because you want it
  • You know, your entire family’s financial well-being depends on a single income, which is already stretched thin.

You know all of these, and so, I’d implore you to let that knowledge be your power, so you can consistently say “no” to your kids.

By applying disciplined parenting, you’re giving your kids what you have, not what they want.

For example, your kids might want cookies, gummy candy, and Burger King Snack Boxes, but if your budget won’t allow for that, simply say “no” to your kids, and then serve them what you have at home.

By doing this:

  1. You’re saving your budget and preserving your personal finances, while getting stronger at building your disciplined parenting skillset
  2. You’re teaching your kids about one of the core foundations of a healthy personal finance – your budget, not your wants or needs, determines your spending
  3. You’re helping your kids develop resilience and self-control. Although they might be too young to fully understand the lessons now, trust me, they will remember; they’d remember and understand when they go on to lead their own lives, and eventually connect the pieces of the puzzle; to understand why you did what you did
  4. Your kids would, later on, be grateful to you for making them financially literate at a relatively young age
  5. You’re teaching them: “If you want something, you’ve gotta work for it – even as a kid”

You and your kids will reap all these benefits, all because you choose to… consistently draw that line in the sand and maintain financial boundaries.

Remember:

As a single mom or dad, your job as a single parent is tough already – you’re literally doing the impossible. But please, use disciplined parenting with your kids, so you can master money and build wealth.

That’s all for today, my friend. We’ll continue in the fourth paragraph on Page 37 of the book tomorrow.

-DD

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