Danelle van Heerde, 24 May 2018
In South Africa, a staggering 38% of children live just with their mothers and only a small percentage of our entire population have income levels that allow for solo parenting by choice. In the US, single parent households have more than tripled since 1960, with single mothers heading up 80% of these. In the UK, 21% of children live in lone parent families.
Regardless of whether single motherhood is by intent, the costs involved are high and few people grasp the full extent it. Danelle van Heerde, Head of Advice Processes at Sanlam Personal Finance, says, “Raising a child on one income is tough and in South Africa, this scenario applies mostly to women. The benefits of engaging a trusted financial planner at the outset for help with a practical plan based on a holistic view of the parent’s finances cannot be overstated.”
Van Heerde says the pressures of single parenting make it absolutely critical for single mothers to start saving as soon as possible to help them cope with the financial strain. “Single moms need planning and structure to cope with the demands of working and looking after children. The same approach applies to their finances. They often have additional expense burdens, compared to dual income families. In addition, costs associated with specialised pregnancies and ongoing expenses like day-care can add to the overall financial pressure. Plus, there are long-term goals like education for which to save.”
In South African women generally earn around 27% less than men, and this certainly frames their need for proper financial planning, Van Heerde offers some pointers for single mothers:
While few women in South Africa are single mothers by choice, single parenting is a rising trend globally. Here are some conception and birthing options open to single women and what they cost: