By: Amanda Coggin

When it comes to dealing with money coming in and money going out, single moms are best prepared when they’re at the top of their financial games. I know that I had a lot of questions around money once I graduated from my home with my single mom, and still even later when I graduated from college. I spoke with Jennifer Hartman, a financial planner/investment advisor with Greenleaf Financial Group in Los Angeles about ten money tips for single moms. She spoke on how preparing kids and talking to them not only helps mothers, but teaches their kids important lessons along the way.

1. Know your budget.
Hartman said that moms should know both their fixed and variable expenses, so that they can make prudent decisions in life.

2. Know your money.
Is your money in different accounts, do you know where you 401K/IRA is invested, and once where, what your 401K/IRA is invested in? Hartman said that single moms need to make sure they’re taking care of their retirement. Hartman said that contributing regularly to your 401K/IRA is a must for success for the mothers and their children later in life.

3. Cover your assets.
Hartman also said that there are important points to keep in mind when dividing your assets from your partner.

4. Work your assets and save.
How will your assets produce income and will it require capital to maintain? Also, spending less is the best step to saving more.

5. Your lawyer knows.
If you are getting divorced, hire an attorney and make sure you get what you deserve now.

6. Teach your children well.
This is true especially around money. My single mom struggled a lot with money and I never remember my parents sitting down to teach me a thing. It took a few stumbles (and I’m still learning) until I understood what was necessary, and sometimes I still am not sure I’m on track. Explaining why we can and cannot afford things, allowance and credit card debt are just a few places to start. “Parents tend not to talk to children about money and I think that’s a mistake. Resources are more limited with single moms and teaching the kids lets them be active participants in making decisions. They feel a sense of power since everyone gets a say in it,” Hartman said.

7. Banish the credit card mystery.
As a country indebted to credit, Hartman said that moms don’t have to go into details of their money with children, but it does benefit children to talk about fun money together to go over family options and then discuss. Hartman also mentioned the hidden secret behind kids and credit cards. “When children see their parents using a credit card, they don’t always understand how it gets paid. So when the credit card statement comes, show your kids how you pay it," she said.

8. Don’t avoid your money.
Many single moms (and the rest of us) don’t want to think about their money right now, but Hartman says do it anyway. Just after a divorce, it can be tough to deal with finances, but embracing your finances during this time is an extension of embracing yourself.

9. Educate yourself.
Some people need to take the time to teach themselves what they don’t know. Some single moms find that after a divorce, they realize their partners did the financial planning. Hiring a personal coach or a financial planner cannot only teach financial planning, but many times act like a personal training for your finances.

10. Get life insurance.
This may have been a benefit with your partner. If so, make sure you look into your own plan for your children’s sake.

Being a single mom isn’t easy, but it’s also an opportunity for learning, growth, and empowerment. By taking your life and finances by the horns, you’ll find that there are plenty of people and resources out there to support you, which is a game that is always worth playing, no matter what life throws your way.

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