A single mom’s roadmap to financial success

Nigeria is currently grappling with one of the most severe economic downturns in West Africa, fueled by soaring inflation due to new monetary policies that have drastically weakened the naira. The importance of financial literacy and achieving financial success in this economic climate cannot be overstated.

Particularly impacted are women, who find themselves disproportionately disadvantaged by these economic strains. They face a multitude of barriers, including limited job opportunities and pervasive gender discrimination from landlords, employers, and broader societal norms.

Tech Point’s comprehensive research reveals that while the average household income in Nigeria typically ranges between 20,000 and 50,000 in dual-parent families, this figure drops sharply in single-parent homes, where financial success is even harder to secure. This underscores the critical need for targeted financial strategies that empower women to navigate and overcome these economic challenges effectively.

How does a single mom cope?

At just 24 years old, Tubosun, a businesswoman and student, has navigated the challenging waters of becoming a single mom since she was 20. Confronted with the financial realities of raising a child with minimal support from extended family, Tubosun made a determined effort to elevate her financial situation.

Raised by a single mom, Tubosun grew up feeling secure and provided for, even after the tragic loss of her father in a car accident. Her mother’s relentless pursuit of building a financial safety net through various ventures, investments, and savings taught her invaluable lessons. Drawing on this strong foundation, Tubosun has now mastered the art of prioritizing her finances, setting herself and her child on a path to lasting financial success.

“When planning my finances, I always split them into three essentials: needs, wants, and miscellaneous. Doing this helps me easily streamline my finances and understand things clearly.”

By leaning into her mother’s finance lessons, Tubosun has adopted multiple businesses, including cosmetology, baking, import and export, and community development. She constantly seeks to improve her financial status by obtaining a cosmetology degree and a theatre and film arts degree. Tubosun is also seeking a degree in nursing, where she can explore her love for senior caregiving. When asked why she dabbles in multiple fields, Tubosun explained, “I have to explore all my options so I can give my child the best life there is.”

For single mothers, achieving financial stability is not just a personal goal but a necessity for providing a secure future for their children. In this article, we’ve partnered with certified financial literacy expert, investment banker, and chattered accountant Financial Jennifer to provide tailored advice for single moms.

Jennifer Awirigwe (also known as Financial Jennifer) is a seasoned financial expert who consistently provides financial expertise and has chosen to share this expertise with women. Through her Instagram page and FinTribe, Jennifer has prioritised educating women. In this article, Jennifer delves into various aspects of financial literacy, from managing debt to planning for retirement. She offers practical guidance and actionable tips to help single moms attain financial perfection.

Financial Jennifer’s guide to achieving financial success for you and your family

A single mom's roadmap to financial success

As a single parent, you have sole custody over your child, and all their affairs are yours entirely. With this responsibility in mind and the determination to give your child the best, achieving financial wellness should be your priority. Unlike double-parenting households with double income, a single mother juggles numerous responsibilities.

To keep her finances in order, Financial Jennifer recommends the following:

Finance management

Consider opportunities to increase your income. This can be done by negotiating salary, being on the lookout for higher paying jobs, freelancing, starting a side business, monetising your knowledge through digital products, etc.

It is also essential to work with a budget by knowing how much comes in and goes out. Prioritise essential expenses like the kid’s needs, housing, utilities, and groceries, and allocate a portion of income towards debt repayment. With apps like Corywise, Piggyvest, or Risevest, you can quickly secure your money and plan for future expenses.

Debt management

As a single mom, encountering issues that require immediate funding is bound to happen, and as a result, one might see the need to borrow a sum of money from loan apps or relatives. Your child might fall ill, a new expense might arise, or you might even lose your job. Whatever the situation, having savings can help cover unexpected costs and prevent going into avoidable debts. However, issues may arise where debt is unavoidable.

In this case, be determined to pay off debts within a specified period. Accept that you may have to forgo some things temporarily and cut down unnecessary expenses to free up extra funds to service the debts. Negotiate with creditors for better terms. Many creditors are willing to work with you to find a manageable solution. If you have more than one debt, prioritise the one with higher interest rates.

You can also adopt visual budget templates on Excel or canva to keep a visual tracker of what you need to prioritise and what needs the least attention from you.

Creating emergency funds

It’s very important that everyone, and even more importantly, single mothers, have an emergency fund. Others might rely on their partners to come through in times of emergencies such as job loss or medical emergencies; a single mother may not have such luxury. Hence, an emergency fund provides a financial safety net during such times. Having this in place offers the kids peace of mind and stability and even prevents accumulating debts to cover unforeseen expenses.

First, to build an emergency fund, ascertain how much you need to sustain yourself and the kid/s for about 3-6 months. That’s your target amount. Depending on your income, break down the amount into monthly contributions, set a realistic target, and treat this as a non-negotiable monthly commitment. Decide where to be moving this contribution; I recommend an interest-paying account or a reliable fintech platform that you can have easy access to in times of emergency. By saving the money there, the interest payment will help, too. You can automate this to ensure that the target amount leaves your account monthly to the savings account; this way, you are consistent with it. It may stretch you, but it’s a necessary thing to do. Trimming down your expenses and exploring additional income sources will help you accomplish this goal faster.

Making investments

Investments and creating a trust fund are essential steps for single mothers to secure their and their children’s future financial well-being. Investments are sending your money to work to earn more money. Investing wisely can generate additional income streams to cover future expenses, such as education, retirement, etc. It also helps wedge against inflation to some extent a a level of confidence comes from knowing that you have funds stashed somewhere, growing and building more wealth for you.

If you’re skeptical about making significant investments or are unsure of the credibility of stocks and the market, apps like Bamboo and Piggyvest provide simpler investment options you can begin with before moving into the big leagues with the Nigerian Stock Exchange Market.


Image Credit: Pinterest

Creating a trust fund

A trust fund is a legal setup that protects money or property for someone’s future use. It involves three prominent roles: the person who sets it up (grantor), the person or people who will receive the money or property later (beneficiaries), and the person who takes care of the trust fund and distributes its assets (trustee).

Creating a trust fund or even an investment account earmarked explicitly for children’s education expenses enables single mothers to save systematically towards their children’s academic goals. These funds provide opportunities for children to pursue their aspirations without financial constraints.

Establishing trust funds is part of legacy planning as it allows single mothers to designate assets and property for their children’s benefit, ensuring they inherit wealth and resources according to their wishes. I encourage single mothers to seek expert advice and explore investment options that align with their risk tolerance, time horizon, and financial goals.

Life insurance

Life insurance plays a vital role in financial planning for single mothers, offering financial security for their children in case of unforeseen illness or death. Term life insurance policies provide economical coverage for a set time, whereas permanent life insurance policies offer lifelong protection and investment options.

Before settling for any insurance policy, consider the coverage amount, what works for your budget, the type of policy that works for your needs, and who the policy’s beneficiary is. Ensure the plan you sign up for aligns with what you have in mind, settle for insurers with high reputations and good customer service, and settle claims without plenty of back and forth. You can ask friends for reliable recommendations. There are different insurance companies; review their offers and see who matches your needs with a good reputation. Make sure you ask enough questions to get clarification on the terms and features of the policy before signing up.

Setting up education funds

Setting up education funds for when your child is in higher education is the key to relieving a lot of financial burdens on both you and your child. Doing this would help set them up for their future endeavours whether you are there or not. Education funds will also motivate your child to achieve educational wellness in the long run. Wherever they are and whatever they choose to do, the education fund will always be there for them when they need it.

You can have the financial success you desire

By considering and implementing all that has been covered above, you are one step closer to achieving financial wellness. Seek help when need be, and consider joining communities that align with and support your goals. An example is FinTribe, a Free financial community for women. You don’t only get to meet and interact with other women who will keep you accountable; you will also be guided to smash your financial goals.

Remember, while others in a double-parenting household may afford to slack with their finances, for the sake of the kids, you need to be on top of your game, exploring ways to earn more, investing what you can, and setting up plans for the kids. Are you looking for more information on how to achieve financial wellness? Drop your questions in the comments below!


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