4 Common Financial Issues Single Moms Have and How to Tackle Them

  • Dyana King is a single mom of two and personal finance coach to other single moms on fixed incomes.
  • She said that emotional spending and lack of self-esteem are her clients’ biggest hurdles.
  • She advises consistency in working toward goals and slowly building up confidence.

Dyana King, now 30, resolved to start paying down her $35,000 in debt in 2016. At the time, she was only making about $32,000 a year, or $15 an hour, as a single mom with two young children to care for.

Despite the uphill battle, she started little by little, and by 2020 she was completely debt-free. Today, she has a positive net worth of nearly $80,000 according to documents reviewed by Insider.

King runs a blog and YouTube channel called Money Boss Mama where she talks about personal finance as a single mother of a 9-year-old girl and 5-year-old boy. She also has a side business as a personal finance coach for other single moms who have limited means, and attempts to help them overcome obstacles in their path toward wealth-building.

King told Insider the four issues she hears most from her clients, and her best advice for each.

1. ‘I can’t stop spending money’

King said that this is by far the thing that she hears most from clients, and she says that for most of her clients, this is first and foremost an emotional issue — not a material one.

“A lot of people don’t realize why they behave the way that they do with money, because they don’t think back on their experiences and observations growing up that shape their spending behavior,” King said. “So they’re frustrated with themselves.”

King said her clients will have clear goals in their minds, but find themselves making impulse purchases that pull them away from their goals.

The best way to combat the desire for instant gratification, she advises, is to start small with your debt payoff and saving plans. Even if a client only has $15 or $20 to spare at the end of every month, putting that cash toward debt payments or saving habitually will create better money habits that only grow over time.

2. ‘I don’t trust myself with my money’

King said another issue that her clients tend to have is low self-esteem when it comes to making financial decisions, especially clients who have a negative history with money. Often, she finds that clients freeze up on things like what to do with their tax refund, or which debt to pay down first.

“They want someone to hold their hand because they’re kind of shackled to their past decisions, so now they don’t trust themselves,” King said.

She said that the antidote for this is for the client to work on their self-worth, and believe that they are worthy of financial success so they don’t self-sabotage.

“I always tell people: If you believe you’re worthy of financial success, then you will allow yourself to stay consistent and do what you need to do to get there,” King said. “But if you don’t, you’re going to sabotage yourself because your goals and mindset are clashing, and your mindset is gonna win every single time.”

3. ‘How do I start investing?’

Similar to not trusting themselves with making decisions, King also said that her clients have difficulty getting started when it comes to investing because the topic feels intimidating. She said that they often ask her questions about what the “best” kinds of accounts or investments are.

“I always tell them that I’m not an investing guru, but that you have to go in and get your feet wet” King said. “Don’t overthink it — find something and see what’s in there. If it’s a mutual fund and it looks like there’s an upward trend, just start there.”

In addition to mutual funds, King also said that index funds are a good option for beginners.

4. ‘Something came up with one of my kids’

When asked if financial issues related to kids ever come up with her clients, King responded with “Oh, 1,000%.”

“I find that a lot of them tend to overcompensate when it comes to their kids because they’re not secure with their finances,” King said. “And so they have that lack of confidence, which causes them to go overspend on their kids. They don’t want their kids to realize the finances aren’t good or stable, and they want to feel like they’re able to provide for their kids.”

Additionally, King said that childcare expenses are “obviously a hurdle,” and often instructs clients to create sinking funds for childcare needs that can help at tough times and keep from having other goals derailed.

“I always tell them to set aside a little amount of buffer,” King said. “For whatever it is — just for general miscellaneous stuff, or for things like clothes, shoes, summer fun.”

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