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Mothers Day 2021: A financial checklist for single moms

After allocating for regular expenditures, investments and emergency funds, it is significant that a single mother also saves for her retirement and future financial goals.

May 09, 2021 / 03:01 PM IST
Mother's Day 2021 will be marked on May 9 in India.

Mother's Day 2021 will be marked on May 9 in India.


Who said being a parent is easy? And especially if you’re a single parent, your responsibilities compound many times over! It takes a village to raise a kid, but being the entire village by yourself can be very overwhelming. But with proper planning, you can ace this step easily and be the supermom you were always destined to be.

Serious lack of information 

Laila Zafar is a lawyer and a single mom, practising in Kerala. She’s also the co-founder of Village, a support group for single parents in the state. Zafar strongly feels that there is a great dearth of financial knowledge that single parents can effectively utilise. However, she emphasises the importance of financial management, especially after separation. A regular income stream is needed, given that alimony might not be consistent.

“As a single parent, there are a hundred issues that we deal with on a daily basis. While financial planning is extremely important, it is tough to understand for a layman. Plus, we are not trained to incorporate financial planning in our lives from early on. Within our circle, we often face troubles navigating through various government schemes that offer financial assistance and investment alternatives,” she says. 

After allocating for regular expenditures, investments and emergency funds, it is significant that a single mother also saves for her retirement and future financial goals. In addition to that, having sufficient health and life insurance is also a must, since as a single mother, you are the world to your dependent kid. Be sure to remember that your child is added as a beneficiary in all your schemes, since you would most definitely want him/her to avail the benefits of your hard work and money.

Delhi-based law student Ruchi Sahasrabuddhe recalls watching her mother Alka working relentlessly after she lost her father at a very young age of 11. “Aai (Mother) always made sure some portion of her earnings went into creating an emergency fund. She started investing in mutual funds early on and most importantly, taught us how to differentiate between needs and wants,” she says.  

The value of saving and investing money was instilled in her early on. As Ruchi remembers, she was always asked to keep aside at least Rs 500 bucks aside from her pocket money to maintain a contingency fund, something she follows to this date.

At the same time, Alka made sure to allocate enough funds for her retirement and ambitions. “I have a stipulated amount I set aside every year, which I solely spend on myself. Be it travelling or anything else, I make sure I utilise this amount.”

Investments in mutual funds, particularly index-based funds, can be a good starting point. But, thanks to the taboos attached to single parenthood in Indian society, the members of this community already have their plates full. Learning the financial vocabulary is tough, but equally important, says Tanishka Mehtani, a freelance journalist. 

Close

Mehtani’s mother, Renu Wasan worked for around 16-17 years before leaving her job in 2017. As a child, she recalls not having any discussions around money management in the house, which meant that their spending overarched their savings. “Money was always an issue, and it is all the more an issue for my mom, because she had no idea where to invest her savings and generate sustainable returns,” she says. 

Life can be unpredictable, and if you’re a single mother up against the world, you should start with having a solid financial background. 
Ira Puranik

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