There is an ever going debate on possibilities, prospects, and planning of retirement for single parents. The debate is so profound that you often tend to think whether a single parent can ever retire? You wonder whether saving is the only way to plan for your future retirement and if that is so then whether you can save for both college needs for your children and your retirement.
Raising children is probably the biggest challenge in like which seems to be even more if you are alone. The most significant problem with the single parents is that they get so focused and concerned on providing everything to their kids that they often tend to overlook and ignore their own financial needs and priorities.
In fact, there has been a lot of studies conducted on single parents, and all of these show that there is a large number of single parents that put saving for education and college for their kids well ahead of saving for their personal retirement benefits.
It is, therefore, necessary for solo moms and dads to find the right balance between planning for your kid’s education and building a nest egg. The two questions that haunt are whether to save for retirement and if so then by how much.
Finding the answer
It is not easy to find an answer to these questions. Often retirement takes a backseat when it comes to kids’ education.
- According to the studies, more than 45% of single parents opt for saving for kids’ education over retirement in their long-term financial plans.
- Moreover, in traditional families, the study found that 39% of single parents with at least one child agreed on kids saving. On the other hand, it is just 26% of the modern families who shared the same view.
Therefore, the study reflects that most of the parents, either single or otherwise, usually find a hard time juggling with college and retirement savings with the increased expenses and family pressure. It is found that more than 75% of the single parents agreed to the stress they experience trying to save for child’s college expenses and their retirement. They feel that they will run out of money in retirement.
However, about 50% of the single parents said that they could not possibly save enough.
Problems in decision making
The primary reason that most single parents find it very difficult to make a decision is that they have to do it all alone. Right from the planning stage to its implementation, it is very hard for a single person to take up the entire responsibility to solve their retirement equation successfully.
It is tremendous pressure on their part and ability to find the perfect balance between saving for their own future and their children’s college expenses. There is a constant lacking of flexibility to address their multiple goals. This means they have a narrower focus and approach on the savings priorities.
The income gap
Another significant reason that leads to the dilemma in the saving priorities of retirement of single parents is the earning ability. It is substantially less and is almost half than the families where there are two parents earning. The gap in income is not reduced even if a parent receives any type of child support.
Going by the statistics, retirement and education savings goals are affected in most of the one-parent households as most of the single moms and even single dads live much below or at the poverty line.
However, despite this low earning ability, most single parents have the sense of obligation and responsibility towards their child and their education. Most want them to complete their education by not having to run into significant debt. About 45% of the single parents feel that it is their responsibility as a parent to ensure that their kids get the perfect start in their life academically, professionally as well as financially so that they do not have to rely on debt relief options time and again offered by nationaldebtrelief.com while venturing into their life in future.
The plan to follow
Despite all such alarming and in a way disheartening stats and figures, it is not the end of the road for the single parents. There are a few specific ways to overcome this dilemma and start planning for your as well as your child’s better future. The sets to follow include:
- Start by knowing all your available options. Considering your retirement savings through your employer, you have got access to 401(k) or any similar plan. Chip in the minimum to start with specifically if you are getting a good company match.
- If you are self-employed or if your company does not have any retirement plan, try setting up an IRA.
- Focus now on college savings once you have your future secured. There are many different grants and scholarships and even student loans on offer for single parents.
- You can always take help of a financial advisor for specialized advice to figure out the best possible ways to balance both savings priorities. With proper evaluation, you will come up with proper financial plans. You will be able to stay on the right track to meet the financial situation and savings goals.
A lot of different tools will be used to pair your goals along with the available options to choose the best-suited one for you and your needs. You will know about the guidelines to follow to chalk out a strategic plan, and the best way to plan for your retirement being a single parent is to be diligent, regular and rigorous. Other steps include:
- Setting up a household budget
- Saving and investing routinely
- Living by a budget and disciplining yourself in your spending
- Tracking every single income and expense
- Creating an emergency fund
Taking help of financial pro while investing and while in trouble is another way to stay on the right track of your saving goals.
Lastly and most importantly, remember that setting a plan is easy and it is easier to forget it. If you are a responsible single parent, you will make it a point to stick to it.