No one likes making mistakes with their money, and when you’re a mother, they become even more problematic. As a parent, your financial decisions not only affect you, but all the people in the household who depend on you. While everyone makes mistakes, you need to be aware of the ones that face mothers in particular, and do everything you can to avoid them. Here are just a few of the most common mummy money mistakes to watch out for…
Leaving it to your Partner
Like most relationships, there’ll probably be one person in yours who’s naturally better with money. If this person is your partner, and not you, it’s important to make sure you avoid falling into complacency. Your schedule may be a little busy for all the work your partner does in terms of finances, and the thought of poring over all those different statements and letters may make your stomach crawl, but it’s essential to keep tuned in with you household’s finances. Countless women find themselves in a difficult position simply because they didn’t understand, or weren’t happy with, some financial decision made by their partners in the past. If there’s any chance that your partner is making poor investment decisions, or not shopping around enough to get the best deals on big purchases, it can be a huge threat to your and your children’s security. Take a proactive role, and make absolutely sure that your financial future is secure.
Failing to Review your Finances After a Change in Circumstances
Becoming a parent changes pretty much every facet of your life – including your finances. Suddenly, you’re not just looking out for numero uno, and have to worry about the financial security and protection of your children. As your kids grow, and the needs of the family change, so should your approach to managing the household finances. Like most mums, you’ve probably become fairly adept at hunting down bargains on day to day expenses, but again, like most mums, you might be failing to look at the bigger picture. If you know it’s been a while since you had a good look at your financial circumstances, then do so now! Whether you do it through your own research or carry out a little online networking to ask for advice, taking stock of your family circumstances, and making sure you’re changing your spending and saving habits accordingly, is essential to a bright future.
Failing to Set Up Your Own Pension
Credit: American Advisors Group
This ties in closely with our first point. Typically, women take longer career breaks than men, sometimes work part-time jobs, and more and more are becoming self-employed. If, like many women, you have an old pension still running from your previous employment, it’s worth having a look at it to make sure you’re getting the best return possible. Understandably, investing in your pension may have fallen far down the list of priorities, especially if childcare tends to be your department rather than your partner’s. However, between all the school runs, packed lunches, dinners and housework, you need to find the time to plan for your own needs. Fail to plan now, and your retirement years will be a frustrating and uncomfortable ordeal, rather than the well-deserved holiday it should be!
Spending Too Much on your Children
Obviously, your children are the most precious things in the world to you, and naturally you’ll want to provide them with the most comfortable life possible. However, if you spend too much on the wrong things, at the wrong time, you may wind up making their futures much harder than they need to be. Between ever-increasing childcare costs, school uniform lists that seem to get longer every term, and general living costs, being a good mum is expensive enough without all the unnecessary purchases. We all remember whining “please” enough to our parents until they bought us a toy or another treat that we simply had to have. These days, you’ve probably been on the receiving end of this more than once. True, there’s nothing quite like seeing a child’s face light up after you give them a new toy or videogame, but the occasional treat here and there can quickly add up, and over the course of months and years, punch a considerable hole in the household finances. It’s easier than you think to wean your children off of materialism, and put the money towards more worthwhile things, like investments that will benefit the whole household, family holidays, or your child’s further education.