How this single mum survived and got ahead

March 10, 2016

The law at the time did not protect divorced women with a family

Part one: As a single, older female, and a Baby Boomer with retirement lingering like an autumn leaf preparing for winter, I feel as though I am in a position to make recommendations to my younger colleagues and hopefully they take heed (maybe a little).

It’s time for them to get serious about their options. The other side of 50 comes quicker than one could ever imagine. This was brought home to me when I read an article on She Brisbane by Sally-Ann Benson “Five ways to beat the superannuation gender gap”— I thought how relevant and appropriate Sally-Ann’s words are and I wonder if women will take heed.

As a younger woman—when very little support was available for women—I found myself in the role of single mother with two children to support. I had to have a plan to survive. And so I did.

On reflection, I understand how important it is for women to get serious about their future, and the need to start as young as possible.

The path I have taken with my money

Unknowingly I have walked a similar path to Sally-Ann’s recommendations when I became a single mum struggling to survive.

Apart from trying to cope with daily expenses it was constantly playing on my mind how long can I live like this and what about when I get older.

I never considered ‘finding a man’ to support me after my divorce. For some unfortunately, this seems to be the case with many women—young and old—looking for utopia when all along it is within themselves.

Learning to become financially independent is vital for their survival and emotional well being and eventually knowing they “can” do it alone. The rest will follow when it comes to relationships, partner and children.

The satisfaction of personal achievement

The best psychological factor is personal achievement. At the other end of the road the immense feeling of satisfaction from, for example, paying off your first home loan and saying “I did it by myself” is one you will never forget.

It doesn’t have to be a home, it could be savings and investments, but in my case it was providing a good home for my children in order for all of us to feel safe and secure.

It provides you with:

  • an emotional grounding for moving forward;
  • the knowledge that you can overcome most things in life;
  • an appreciation of everything you have;
  • the opportunity to set an example and earn your children’s respect as they grow up;
  • satisfaction knowing where you began and what you have now;
    a more secure future in retirement years.

Obstacles at the time

It was a struggle when I was a divorced young mother and the law at the time did not protect divorced women with a family. Like many of that era, I was faced with:

  • financial support was rarely or never provided to the majority of women with children;
  • fathers could be irresponsible;
  • the workplace did not like to hire us;
  • it was very hard to get a loan;
  • daily living was pure survival at times;
  • bills were paid by instalments;
  • the concept of superannuation and savings was a pipe dream.

However, I was never going to let these barriers stand forever, although there were many times I wondered how long I could cope with the challenges and would it ever get better?

So I did something about it! Next post, I will share you with what plan I put in place!

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