As a new mom, I knew that my twins would depend on me to meet their physical and emotional needs. However, I didn’t know just how much they would study, observe, and mimic me, even this early. Thus, I am very careful to model the behavior and attitude that I want to see in my children.
I believe that parents understand intuitively that they need to watch what they say and how they act around their children. Think about it: When you teach your children how to eat solid foods for the first time, do you show them how you eat? When you teach them how to talk, do you say the word first and ask them to repeat it? If we are used to modeling the behavior that we want to see in our kids, then why is it different when it comes to our money?
I have talked to many people and there is one thing that I have learned. Whether they are good, bad, or indifferent, the money habits that the people have now were generally learned from their parents. I know someone who, as an adult, struggles with money management and avoiding spending all of his money on payday, because he watched his mom spend all of her money on payday. I know others who are responsible because they watched their parents be responsible with their money.
As a single mom, there is only one income, which means that the money has to stretch a bit more. However, that financial reality doesn’t change the fact that my kids still watch and mimic what I do. Although it is more challenging, I still have to manage my money properly because I want my children to be financially savvy because of me and not in spite of me. I know that the foundation that I set for them now will carry them throughout their lives.
Here are the lessons that I have learned thus far about how to be a good money role model:
1. Look to God for Guidance.
I pray every day to ask God to lead me and to provide for me. I know that if I put God first and trust Him then my family will be ok (Tweet This). I also want to show my kids that God is the source and to teach them early to trust and rely on Him.
2. Pay your bills on time.
This is critical because late payment penalties add up. Depending on the company, late payment and shut off fees can add up. Additionally, children will feel the stress from your inability to pay bills and they will know if the creditors call (Tweet This). Set the expectation early that you honor your commitments. If money is tight, this isn’t possible, and you can’t pay, then be upfront with the company and try to work something out that fits within your budget.
3. Be a good steward of your money.
Spend responsibly and avoid crushing debt by spending less than you earn and paying bills on time (Tweet This). Put money aside for savings, and be grateful for what you have. If you appropriately manage what you do have, then you position yourself to have more.
4. Talk to someone.
It’s hard carrying the burden of a challenge. When I first realized that I was going to be a single mom, I didn’t want to mention it or talk about it. I tried to keep going, but inside I was crushed. When I decided to talk to the people I trusted, I opened myself up to getting relevant advice and help. Talking to someone shows that you are open to getting advice and that you can’t figure everything out yourself. It also exposes you to resources that you never knew existed.
5. Be a giver.
You may be thinking, “I am barely making it,” but hear me out on this. When you sow into someone else’s life, you are trusting that God’s provision is limitless (Tweet This). I have wondered how I was going to pay my bills on time, but during this time, I have also tithed and given money to help those in need. Trust me. It always comes back, because when you do good, the good is returned to you.
The journey won’t be easy but think about it this way. As a mom, you live for yourself, your children, and God. As you become better, you inspire your children to be better. Therefore, take the time to develop the healthy financial habits that will allow you and children to be financially free.
Aisha Taylor is a single mom of twins, personal financial coach, work from home entrepreneur, and #1 Amazon Best Selling Author of the book “5+5 FNPhenomenal Ways to Save $100 This Week Without Killing Your Lifestyle.” Aisha has been featured in ESSENCE, Jet Magazine, and Black Enterprise. She is also the Founder of FNPhenomenal (Frugal –n- Phenomenal), a movement designed to help single moms strengthen their faith, improve their finances, and live phenomenally. It’s time for you to be Financially Phenomenal!