Author Topic: Mustachican advice for low-income, young, single parents?  (Read 1134 times)

mamamustache

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Mustachican advice for low-income, young, single parents?
« on: November 02, 2018, 01:09:21 PM »
I mentor a young single mom with very little money left over for savings at the moment. She has an hourly wage part time job in the medical field and is also a part time student pursuing nursing. She is considered DACA, which makes it hard for her to access some benefits, but her kindergartener is a US citizen. She shares an apartment with her mom and little boy.

What sort of mustachian advice do you recommend for very low-income, single parents? Were you ever in this situation and pulled yourself out to achieve early retirement?

mozar

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Re: Mustachican advice for low-income, young, single parents?
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2018, 04:32:18 PM »
Look into whether the nursing program is a scam. There are for profit schools that will prey on low income folks and when they graduate the degree is useless. Other than that it sounds like she's in a stable situation.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Mustachican advice for low-income, young, single parents?
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2018, 05:13:56 PM »
Her situation is the sort where an unexpected issue (losing an apartment to a no cause eviction for example) could spell disaster. Help her identify emergency resources BEFORE she needs them. If she needs short term housing, does she know where to find it? Emergency food resources? Does your state have emergency family funds as part of their SNAP program? That sort of stuff is super valuable to have in your back pocket. Also, make sure she's using every program she does qualify for!

Otherwise: like mozar mentioned, be sure she can ID predatory systems that perpetuate the low income cycle. Rent to own furniture, payday lending, for profit schools, bad car lease terms, so on. Avoiding these missteps and having a plan B so you're not forced into them is key.

cl_noll

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Re: Mustachican advice for low-income, young, single parents?
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2018, 05:54:06 PM »
See if she's interested in learning how to cook fast (and therefore convenient), low-cost meals in bulk  for her family using a pressure cooker.  I think a pressure cooker is the single most valuable tool in my kitchen for healthy, frugal eating.  It's amazing how long pots of savory beans or baked beans, soups, or even low-cost cuts of meat last and also how delicious they are!  Many people are afraid of pressure cookers and won't be brave enough to try one unless someone else introduces them to the idea.

sparkytheop

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Re: Mustachican advice for low-income, young, single parents?
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2018, 09:40:05 PM »
I can't speak for the DACA situation, but my advice is start saving early.  I've been poor, trying to put myself through school and work while raising a toddler (my ex left when the kid was three).  I put 12% of my income (the "max" at the time) into an IRA.  The first few years my max was about $2400, but the compound interest on that is amazing!  It definitely helped set me up for later in life (39 now).

You won't have everything your single, childless peers have.  You won't have everything you had living at home.  You won't have everything your married friends with kids have.  You will be in your own place, and that may be a little behind for a while.  But, if you save diligently, you could well surpass them in a decade or so.  Try to be content with what you have, and save for the next step, rather than spending what you don't have yet to keep up with others.  Slow and steady really can get you there, but it takes patience and persistence.

There will be bad days.  You may not be able to replace a broken refrigerator today.  You may have to keep your food in an ice chest for a while until you can save up the extra cash to replace it.  You may have to wash laundry in the tub if your washer breaks.  These things are ok.  It's more work, and it sucks, but it's better to deal with it and save up the money until you can replace an appliance with cash.

If people offer help, take them up on it!  Barter for things. 

One big one...  It's better to be single than with the wrong person.  It can be hard and lonely, but it could be so much worse if you pair up with the wrong mate.


Tuskalusa

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Re: Mustachican advice for low-income, young, single parents?
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2018, 10:48:00 PM »
Finishing some kind of schooling to secure a full time job with benefits will greatly help this mom over the long term. Encourage her to plan how she’s going to get through school and start her career.  If her school is reputable, they should have some counseling to help her secure employment upon graduation. I think helping young women with career planning, interviewing skills, and resume writing can help them take steps to a more secure future. Then one day, they will pay it forward.

Freedomin5

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Re: Mustachican advice for low-income, young, single parents?
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2018, 05:34:45 AM »
This may sound completely un-PC, but remind her to make financially responsible decisions, including not having any more kids until she can afford to raise them. I’ve worked with too many people (women, primarily) who live in poverty, have one kid, then go on to have a couple more kids with different men, and then end up in an even deeper hole than before. Also, making wise responsible decisions includes not buying the latest iPhone and not buying expensive brand new items because “it’s hard being a single mom and I need to treat myself” and “self-care”. This is coming from personal experience periodically mentoring a single mom for the past 15 years or so.

hoodedfalcon

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Re: Mustachican advice for low-income, young, single parents?
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2018, 06:25:43 AM »
Regarding the DACA situation - if she is going to pursue a licensed profession, make sure she has researched the laws where she wants to be licensed that she is eligible. In many states, DACA recipients are ineligible for professional licensing.