Did you know that single moms are much more likely to be poor than married couples?
Did you also know that 40% of children who live alone with their moms live in poverty?
That’s some scary and sad statistics right there!
Do you want to become a successful single mom? Want to buck the trend and create a rich life for you and your kids?
Here are nine tips that are sure to help.
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9 Surefire Ways to Become a Successful Single Mom
1. Acknowledge the problem
According to J.P Morgan “The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.”
When you acknowledge that there’s a problem, and that you’re not where you want to be, then it’s easy to start looking for a solution.
For a long time after I became a single mom, I lived in denial and pretended that everything was okay.
It wasn’t until I accepted the fact that I couldn’t change what I was unwilling to confront, that I was able to start turning things around.
If you want to become a successful single mom, you need to be honest with yourself. The first step is to go back to the beginning.
How did you get to where you are right now? What went wrong? Are you in a financial mess because you made some bad financial decisions? Is your current situation due to your divorce?
Whatever it is, try to identify the factors that put you in your current situation.
If you’re a single mom struggling with your finances, then it’s time to take control of your life. This is not the time to blame yourself or anyone else for your situation.
It’s the time to say: ” I have had enough. I am tired of my situation (whatever your situation is), and I am ready for a change.”
2. Set goals and create a plan
Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to force you to take action or start doing the right things.
I hit rock bottom when I faced eviction, and was almost homeless with two kids. Suddenly, all the personal finance books I had read, and all the money tips and advice I had heard started to make sense.
Adjusting to life as a single parent involves facing numerous challenges that may not have existed before you became a single parent. That’s why it’s so important for you to set new goals and create a plan for achieving them.
What do you want your life to look like in two or five years time? Are you clear about your goals for you and your family?
If you answered no to these questions, then you need to get to work!
Start by creating goals in the following specific areas of your life:
- Personal development and productivity
- Career, business, education
- Physical and mental health
- Relationships and emotional health
What do you want each area of your life to look like? Do you want to be debt free or save up a certain amount?
Do you want to lose some weight or change your diet. Do you want to improve your relationship with your kids, your ex or someone else in your life?
For each specific area, you need to set some goals. Make sure your goals are realistic and measurable. The key is to have something to work towards.
Once you have set some goals, the next step is to create a plan to achieve them.
Let’s say your goal is to increase your household income by $5000 a year. What steps do you need to take to make it a reality?
- You could take a course or certification exam that will help you apply for a better job, or move up at your current job.
- You could start a side-hustle, take a second job, work overtime or start a part-time business.
As you can see, setting goals is only the first step. If you really want to achieve your goals, then you have to create a plan (and preferably in writing).
3. Identify gaps in your knowledge
As a single mom and chief financial officer of your home, you cannot afford to be financially illiterate, or illiterate in some other important area of your life ( like your health).
If you lack knowledge in a particular area, it’s your responsibility to educate yourself. If you want to become a successful single mom, you will have to learn some new things.
You have to figure out what you need to learn to help you meet your goals. Self education is one of your most important task as a single mom.
Self education requires discipline and commitment. You can learn anything if you truly commit to the process.
It’s not possible to know everything. Everyone has an area they struggle with or lack confidence in. So, it’s okay if you’re deficient in one area of your life. What is important is what you do about it.
To this day, I continue to identify gaps in my knowledge, and find ways to bridge the gap.
4. Invest in yourself
I get it. When you don’t have enough money to live on, or when you’re just getting by, investing in yourself is probably the last thing on your mind.
But that’s one of the biggest mistakes many single moms make that keep them stuck!
I am not asking you to splurge on some course or expensive coaching that you can’t afford. But, you also can’t afford to not invest in yourself in one way or another.
What should you invest in?
What you should invest in depends on the gaps you identified in #3 above. What’s your biggest struggle? Which area of your life is holding you back the most?
I know that some single moms struggle in other areas of their life, but in my experience, the biggest struggle most single moms face is with their finances.
If managing your finances is your biggest struggle, that’s where you need to invest in.
Self improvement oftentimes involves time and money,. Sadly, these are two resources many single moms lack.
However, if you are serious about getting ahead, you will have to find the time and money required to invest in yourself. This is the only way to improve the quality of your life.
Your investment may be as little as buying a few personal finance books, or as much as working one-on-one with a personal finance coach to help you sort things out and provide some accountability.
What is important is that you invest the time and money (if required), to get the help that you need.
Some questions to help you decide what you need to invest in:
- Do you have the right skills for today’s workforce?
- Will your qualifications or skills help you earn more than minimum wage to support your family?
- Can you provide for your family with your current skills?
Answering these questions is a good starting point to help you figure out what you should focus on.
5. Become financially literate
Did you know that an educated consumer is the worst customer for many financial companies? Uh huh!
Did you know that 70 percent of profits in the credit card industry come from people who do not pay off their bills in full every month?
There’s a reason these credit card companies ask you to pay the smallest amount possible each month. They are not really keen for you to pay off your bills every month!
Financial ignorance is one of the most dangerous things you can do to yourself.
A study shows that women, the poor, and the elderly have the lowest levels of financial literacy.That’s why these demographics are easily exploited by unscrupulous creditors.
The purpose of getting a financial education is so you can make smart financial decisions. So many people are making life-changing decisions without knowing what they are getting themselves into.
Don’t do that.
If you think you’re financially illiterate, then you have to do something about it asap. Start with learning basic financial concepts like debt, savings, income, assets, liabilities, interests etc.
I know many women don’t like to talk about money. Girl, you have to stop living in denial. The only way for you to become a financially successful single mom is to get a financial education.
You need to get on it as a matter of urgency.
Here are some recommended resources to get started:
6. Be willing and open to change
How many of you hate making changes in your life? I am talking about big, drastic changes. I don’t like them. We all have our comfort zones, and we are happy to stay there.
But the problem with staying in your comfort zone is that you cannot grow or realize your full potential. Successful single moms embrace change, yes even the big scary ones.
What are you willing to change or give up to achieve your goals?
Let me give you some ideas of things you can change in your life:
- Downsize your home.
- Slash some of your biggest expenses
- Relocate to a cheaper area (if possible)
- Get rid of non-essential spending
- Reduce your kids extracurricular activities
- Get rid of/sell unwanted stuff
- Get rid of negative/unhealthy relationships and bad habits
- Apply for that job
- Start that business
- Get a college degree
The key is to focus on things that will give you big wins. Far too many single moms are focusing on small wins and trying to save pennies like clipping coupons, not buying latte etc.
These things won’t make a big difference to your finances.
To be successful, you must be wiling to change. You have to be bold and be willing to try new things.
Clinging to the old ways of thinking or doing things can be a dangerous thing. It will also stop you from living your dream life.
Change occurs when you get uncomfortable with your situation and the things you dislike in your life. Until that happens, you will continue to make excuses and not do anything about your situation.
So what can you change in your life to give you some big wins?
7. Be discerning and selective of who you listen to
Who are you listening to? Where do you get your ideas and opinions?
Who are the most influential people in your life? Your parents, pastor, Kim Kardashian, a friend, blogger, or self-help guru?
When you’re a single parent, it seems everyone knows what is best for you and how you’re supposed to live your life.
When a relationship breaks down, you’re vulnerable, and may find yourself listening to the wrong people or making unwise decisions.
That’s why you need to be very discerning and protective of your ears and heart.
Some “good” advice may be wrong for you. Something that worked for someone else may not necessarily work for you.
As a single mom, you must be mindful of the influences and advice you expose yourself to. Don’t take relationship advice from someone who changes their partner every month.
Uncle Joe, bless his heart, may mean well, but if he struggles to hold down a job,then he isn’t the best person to give career or business advice to you.
It’s more important than ever to filter out wrong advice. Don’t make decisions based on your feelings, or based on suggestions from friends and family members without doing any research.
Don’t invest in a business because your sister or aunt told you it was a “good” business. Be discerning and exercise good judgement.
It’s difficult to get ahead if you keep making bad decisions. Take advice from people who are qualified to give advice on a particular subject, and ignore everything else no matter how good it sounds.
If you need a helpful book about the importance of making smart decisions, check out the following book:
8. Don’t see yourself as a victim
Many single moms see themselves as victims. Victims of circumstances. Victims of the society.
When you see yourself as a victim, you start indulging in self-pity.
When you wallow in self-pity for too long, you become weak, helpless, and incapable. And that’s just not who you are.
You’re strong, capable, and resourceful.
You can rise from the ashes and change your circumstances. Successful single moms don’t let anything hold them down for long. They don’t allow negative emotions and events dictate their future.
They are resilient!
Self pity is one of the most destructive human emotions. It holds you captive, and convinces you that you can’t do anything about your situation. It fuels the victim mentality.
Don’t believe that lie. You’re not a victim. You have all it takes to create your dream life. You gotta believe that.
Then, you gotta do the work.
I really recommend this book especially if you’re a Christian. Successful Women Think Differently
9. Successful single moms take action
If you’re serious about becoming a successful single mom, you will have to be proactive. Don’t expect things to work out without any effort on your part.
Taking action is what separates success from failure. Taking action is where most of us falter.
Here are a few tips to help you take action:
- Focus on one goal/thing at a time to prevent overwhelm
- Prioritize your goals. What’s the most important thing at the moment? Paying off debt? Getting a job or a new job? Downsizing your home?
- Break up the steps
- Avoid distractions
- Find a mentor or accountability partner
- Be committed
At the end of the day, no one can force you to take action. It all boils down to how badly you want to change your circumstances.
Half-hearted attempts won’t cut it. You have to go all in.
Let me just reiterate a few things.
Single moms who lack basic financial education, college education, access to career planning, resources to help them start a business, or any other useful resource will struggle to get ahead financially.
That’s why you need to identify the gaps in your knowledge and invest in yourself.
Improving yourself will benefit not only you but your children as well. Instead of spending money on things that add no value to your life, consider spending that money on self-improvement.
Remember that you have a choice as to how you choose to live your life. When you decide that your life is your responsibility, only then can you begin to do what’s necessary to succeed despite your less-than-ideal circumstances.
Are you all in?
Let me know in the comments.
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