Moms have a very special gift as nurturers. Nurturing is the process of caring for and encouraging the growth of someone or something. Security and comfort often top the list, and these goals transcend to their kids. Sometimes it is the hope that their kids do better and have a life better than she. If you are a mom with some of those hopes, we know that physical and emotional well-being, as well as being safe and secure are important to you. Planning for your kids’ education or helping with a first home might be on your wish list as well.
We believe that taking care of yourself should be your first priority so that you can better take care of others and your children. Here are some thoughts and tips on how to do so:
Unique risks and challenges
Some moms have unique challenges that require more planning. These may include earnings disparity, a lifetime earnings gap, and longevity. The first two can result in lower savings (e.g. you earned less and left the workforce to raise your family) and lower Social Security benefits (based on your lifetime earnings). Longevity means that retirement monies need to last longer, and adjustments are required to cover longer periods of healthcare and assisted living costs. Other life disruptors include caregiving for aging parents or family members, and divorce.
Budgeting and building cash reserve
Spending less than you make and being real about what you can afford is a necessity. Changes in spending may be required today to maintain the desired lifestyle long term. Budgeting becomes a valuable tool. Also, building a cash reserve of three to six months of living expenses is commonly advised for emergencies such as a change in where you work or live, or unexpected major bills.
Protect yourself and your family
Old-timers tend to say: “If we don’t have the cash, then we can’t afford it.” This is generally good advice. There are exceptions for cars, homes and maybe student loans where the terms are reasonable, and returns are attractive. Payoff debt for good. And have adequate insurance to cover major losses – cars, homeowners (and umbrella liability if appropriate), medical, life and disability. Life and disability are to protect against loss of earnings. However, also consider life insurance for the stay-at-home spouse to cover the valuable services he or she provides – jobs that don’t end at 5 p.m. such as child care, transportation, keeping peace in the house, and more.
Re-entry into the workplace may be difficult after a career gap from raising a family. Consider keeping a foot in the door. Keep your skills engaged or develop new ones and retain networks. Options include working part-time, consulting, volunteering or completing online certificate programs.
Saving for your future
Saving and investing are important. Building your financial knowledge is also key because it will help you make smart financial decisions and reduce anxiety and stress. Numerous tools are available including books, online resources, your partner, and of course, your financial advisors.
Helping your children
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to write a check to help your child get their education or job training, or get them into his or her first home? But what if your nurturing taught them how to be financially responsible, showed them money lessons, and instilled in them values and beliefs that will pay them dividends for their lifetimes? Some of the greatest lessons I learned from my mom were life skills and independence.
Secure yours and your child’s future wisely.
This article can also be viewed on the Reno Gazette Journal.