Single Parent Financial Advice: Your Questions Answered

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Worried about money? You’re not alone. It might feel like one of the biggest stresses of your single parent life, but getting on top of your financial situation isn’t impossible. To help you get started, we asked Money Coach Natalye-Marrie Boyce to answer your questions.

single parent money coach Natalye-Marrie Boyce

Worried about money? Natalye-Marrie Boyce understands! Now a Money Coach at The Lone Parent, ( Natalye-Marrie works with single parents to help them get on top of debt and improve their money management so they can build a brighter future for themselves and their kids. Here’s her story:

‘Back in 2013, I became homeless with a 6 and 2-year-old, due to being in so much debt (80% of the debt was not mine, but in my name) and moved into a hostel, which became my home for the next 3 years.

‘While in the hostel I focused on paying down my debt, creating a healthier lifestyle; physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially. I changed the way I was parenting and managed to secure two great jobs before moving into my new home.

‘Almost 10 years later, I'm now using my experience helping single mums break hold of debt in order to create the financial freedom they deserve.’

We asked our Frolo community for questions for Natalye-Marrie, so read on for her answers to your financial dilemmas…

A message from Natalye-Marrie: *Please know that I am not a financial advisor. I’m a money coach so everything given here is education and not advice*

Single Parent Financial Advice Q&A

1. Suggestions for earning a second income - I know I'll lose benefits someday and the main job isn't enough.

‘How about creating journals, vlogging, blogging, creating an online course, printables & POD (Print on demand)? These side hustles do not offer quick solutions to your problems, they will take time to bear fruit. It can take as long as six months before you see any money from these side hustles, however, they will eventually become a passive income stream and actually work. You can do them from home and work them around your lifestyle. I go into more detail about each of these side hustles here.’

2. Should we get a new will after a divorce. Any tips?

‘Yes. Even though after your divorce is final, the former spouse will be treated as though they have died in regards to your will, it’s always best to draft a new one. You can write your will yourself but in order for it to be valid, you’ll have to have two adult witnesses who are present or since 2020, the witnesses can be present remotely via a video call. If your will is straight forward, then I would suggest buying a will template and complete and get it witnessed. However if your will is not straight-forward then seek legal advice.’

3. What's the 'best' suggested way to finance a divorce going through the courts if you do not have any available funds? Credit? Loan? Family?

‘If you have experienced domestic abuse, violence and child abduction in your marriage, then you can claim legal aid. Outside of those circumstances, I would only suggest taking out a loan if you know you can pay it back under a worse circumstance scenario. Ensure you shop around. Look for low interest rate loans over a period that is convenient for you. If you think that you may be able to pay it back early, look at the penalty costs for doing so.

‘If using a credit card, I would look at 0% interest deals to help finance this but do a financial plan. How much will it cost you every month to pay this back in order for you to not incur interest? And if you’re unable to pay the money back before the 0% interest ends then what is your plan after that? Would you be able to carry the balance over to another 0% interest credit card deal?  

‘Otherwise I would look to supportive friends and supportive family members. Be mindful of which friends and or family members you ask. Not everyone is supportive when money is involved. Be clear in your intentions when discussing paying it back.

‘Clear communication between you and your family/ friend is important here. You want everyone to be clear on what to expect and when. If they say, take your time, ask them to clarify. What does taking your time mean? What is the time period you want the money back? If I was to make monthly payments, this is what I could afford. Is that ok with you?’

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4. Are there any magic tricks for saving for a deposit as a single parent?

‘Ha! There are no magic tricks, however there are efficient ways that can get you to your goal with a spoonful of consistency, resilience and faith. If you’re a first time buyer, then I suggest saving your deposit in a Lifetime ISA (LISA). It can be opened by anyone of the age 18 - 39 years.

‘You can save up to £4k a year and the government will add a bonus of up to £1k a year (This is a 25% bonus of your monthly contributions). You’ll also need to have the LISA open for a minimum of 1 year in order to use the funds towards your first property.’

‘If getting there quickly is your thing, then if your parents own their home, they may be able to guarantee your mortgage which will then result in you saving for a smaller deposit or in some cases you won’t need a deposit at all.

‘Cut down on your expenses - This may be challenging right now due to us being in a recession however see what things you can live without for a period of time. Create another income and use that income for your deposit only.’

5. How should I prioritise paying off debt?

‘There are so many ways you can pay off debt. What I always tell my clients is consistency to paying off debt every month or bi-monthly (depending on how often you’re paid throughout the month) is the key here.

Debt avalanche method: You put your debts in order of interest rates, starting from highest to lowest. Then you’ll pay the minimum plus extra on debt number one and the rest of the debts you’ll just pay the minimum payment. Once the first debt is paid off, you’ll use the money you would have used to clear debt number one and put it all on debt number two. You’ll continue on this way until your debts are paid off. This method is great if someone has no emotional attachment to money which is rare when you’re on the beginning of your money journey.

Debt snowball method: Here, you'll put your debts in order from lowest to highest based on the amounts you owe. You'll Pay the minimum plus extra on debt number one and the rest of the debts you’ll only pay the minimum payment. Once debt no.1 is cleared, you’ll use the money you would have used to clear debt number one and put it all on debt number two. Again, you’ll continue this way until your debts are paid off.

‘This method is great for someone who needs continual motivation. Paying off the smallest amount first creates a new narrative in your mind that you can keep promises to yourself. You do know how to manage your money and so you’ll keep doing it.

Anxiety paydown method: (This is one of my own methods) This is where you pay down the debt that is causing you the most stress, causing you to stay awake at night. Pay the minimum plus extra on this one while paying minimum payments on the other. Keep with this until the debt is cleared and then move on to the next one using the same process.

‘This is all about regulating your nervous system. You’re probably experiencing a flight or fight response in regards to your finances, especially your debts and so focusing on paying the debt that is giving you the most anxiety will help your body to regulate. The more it’s being paid off consistently, the more you’ll feel at peace about your finances.’

6. Going through a divorce. Any benefits financially?

‘This all depends on your income. The most typical is child tax credits, the childcare grant, free school meals & universal credit which has replaced the main benefits. I would use the benefit calculator as it will give you an accurate answer based on your current income and see what you're entitled to. You can go straight to the calculator here.'

7. Is there anything to bear in mind for self employed tax returns in the year you divorce?

‘Yes, you have to be mindful of the tax when transferring assets. The rules are complicated and can’t be answered in a blog post. I would advise you to speak to your accountant and he or she will be able to advise you accurately.’  

8. Advice on how to make ex complete financial disclosure for divorce?

‘I did some research on this and from my understanding the court can make your ex complete form E, however, I would highly recommend getting a solicitor involved.’

Check out the Meetups on the Frolo app for upcoming events with Natalye-Marrie Boyce.

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