The Pitfalls of Singlehood: Waiting for a Money Partner

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Before I begin, let’s cue some sad, sappy, background music, and get the feel of what I’m about to share. At one point in my life, I was living by the skin of my teeth. And by that I mean, week to week, pay cheque to pay cheque. Why? Because I didn’t have a clue about saving for a rainy day or spending wisely.
All I knew was that I had a great-paying job, and I was able to afford luxuries and not have to answer to anyone… until my credit card bills started piling up because I had maxed them out. I was digging myself deeper into debt that would bury me in bankruptcy. Luckily, I avoided hitting rock bottom.
When you’re young and single, money, and too much of it, can be a bad thing. It’s especially evil and destructive when you don’t have a sense of direction as to how to manage it. Straight out of high school I got a job, and, as single as I was, I blew it on everything you can imagine. Every payday, I’d run amok in the malls. Every sale was my friend. Every fete got my money, and we all know that two or three fetes in one weekend meant two or three different outfits. I couldn’t step out in the same things twice. Nah! I cyah rock so.
So I spent my money like I received a special memo that the end of the world was near. And since I couldn’t take my money with me, I had to spend it all. Hey, isn’t that the only way to enjoy life? No? Well, I learned that the hard way.
It was not until a few years after I had my son, at age 25, that it hit me… I had to fix my financial situation. I’ve always kept steady, well-to-do jobs. But taking charge of my finances weren’t up to par. Being that I was single, and a single mother at that, every last bill and expense was my worry. I had car payments, car insurance, credit card bills from the past, and other bills. The lackadaisical lifestyle I had lived, before becoming a mother, had caught up to me and instead of having two mouths to feed, my past made it seem like I had three, extra mouths to feed.
This is a pattern some single people fall into. They think they have time to fix their finances. Some of you singles will say, “When I get married then I’ll fix up”. Some of you might even think that when you get married “is more money to play with”. Yes. It is easier when you have someone to share the financial burdens with, but if you don’t have your head on your shoulders about how to keep your finances in order, then finances will be an extra stressful issue in the relationship. So, don’t wait. Marriage isn’t a guarantee of a safety net, and mate or no mate, combined income or single income, the only way we can have our finances in order is if we have the guts, as individuals, to stay on track.
Many times, I’ve wished I had the financial assistance of a mate. Life can definitely be easier, and you know what, at one time I did have that. See, when I had my son, I was married. Then my son’s father and I got a divorce. Neither of us was swimming in assets that could have been divided. There were no mansions to be sold, and half the profit divided. There was no alimony to fight for. Nope, unfortunately, we didn’t live like Will and Jada. And in the blink of an eye the divorce brought me back to being single, and this time, single with a baby. The extra income from my ex was helpful, but still it didn’t help me get out of my own personal debt.
Before I became a parent, I had all intentions to live the sweet life by any means necessary. And those means sometimes meant leaving a bill unpaid. My priorities were screwed up. By the time I realized that there was more to life than living for the now, I was already knee-deep in debt, and now that I had a son, and was back to being single, I had to fix my financial situation.
I started off rocky, but I got a hang of things around age 32.
I started paying more attention to what and how much I spent, and what I was able to save. I focused on what needed immediate attention, and learned how to resolve the delinquent bills from the past. It was hard work. But I got down to it. I’m still not rich. And I’m not sitting on a mound of money in my savings. But now, at 34, I’m getting to the point where, in case of emergencies, I’m not worried anymore. I have savings that I can fall back on. Yes some sales catch me now and again, but if it means not paying a bill, that sale won’t see me. Owning my own home is the new goal I have set before me.
So now that I’ve shared my past, we can cut the sappy music and cue Ne-Yo’s “Miss Independent”.
There is just something about having your money and savings in order as a single person. The independence, the freedom, and the relief of not feeling overwhelmed when you’ve managed to balance your income and expenses. And this is the phase I am in at the moment.
For those of us who believe that we’ll be single for a long time, or don’t know when our Prince or Princess Charming will come, we have a lot to think about. Forget the fetes for a while. Think about retirement plans. Think about paying off that car loan. Think about how you can manage to own a home. And at the same time, still try to have a savings account with a substantial amount in case of emergencies. It’s hard enough as is, being single, and just as hard trying to up your net worth, while acquiring major possessions along the way.
Having lived both lives – single and married – I know just how crucial it is to ‘get your house in order’ early on, and this is why I’ve shared my story with you. There are many resources you can refer to for guidance. Financial advisors, which many of us can’t afford, are actually helpful. But if you can’t be afford one, there are workshops, and books to help steer us in the right direction. With the digital age we live in, we can even go online and google some self-help tips.
Sometimes we think we need to wait to have a partner or be married before we can achieve our financial goals, and run our own show; but it’s good to start early. Going into a marriage or live-in arrangement financially independent is not only healthy for your relationship, but it’s also healthy for you. Besides, relationship status aside, who doesn’t want to get their money right? So go ahead. Take the steps to understanding the importance of financial planning, and challenge yourself to do it on your own.

Before I begin, let’s cue some sad, sappy, background music, and get the feel of what I’m about to share. At one point in my life, I was living by the skin of my teeth. And by that I mean, week to week, pay cheque to pay cheque. Why? Because I didn’t have a clue about saving for a rainy day or spending wisely.

All I knew was that I had a great-paying job, and I was able to afford luxuries and not have to answer to anyone… until my credit card bills started piling up because I had maxed them out. I was digging myself deeper into debt that would bury me in bankruptcy. Luckily, I avoided hitting rock bottom.

When you’re young and single, money, and too much of it, can be a bad thing. It’s especially evil and destructive when you don’t have a sense of direction as to how to manage it. Straight out of high school I got a job, and, as single as I was, I blew it on everything you can imagine. Every payday, I’d run amok in the malls. Every sale was my friend. Every fete got my money, and we all know that two or three fetes in one weekend meant two or three different outfits. I couldn’t step out in the same things twice. Nah! I cyah rock so.


So I spent my money like I received a special memo that the end of the world was near. And since I couldn’t take my money with me, I had to spend it all. Hey, isn’t that the only way to enjoy life? No? Well, I learned that the hard way.

“It was not until a few years after I had my son, at age 25, that it hit me… I had to fix my financial situation.”

It was not until a few years after I had my son, at age 25, that it hit me… I had to fix my financial situation. I’ve always kept steady, well-to-do jobs. But taking charge of my finances weren’t up to par. Being that I was single, and a single mother at that, every last bill and expense was my worry. I had car payments, car insurance, credit card bills from the past, and other bills. The lackadaisical lifestyle I had lived, before becoming a mother, had caught up to me and instead of having two mouths to feed, my past made it seem like I had three, extra mouths to feed.

“This is a pattern some single people fall into.”

This is a pattern some single people fall into. They think they have time to fix their finances. Some of you singles will say, “When I get married, then I’ll fix up”. Some of you might even think that when you get married “is more money to play with”. Yes. It is easier when you have someone to share the financial burdens with, but if you don’t have your head on your shoulders about how to keep your finances in order, then finances will be an extra stressful issue in the relationship. So, don’t wait. Marriage isn’t a guarantee of a safety net, and mate or no mate, combined income or single income, the only way we can have our finances in order is if we have the guts, as individuals, to stay on track.

Many times, I’ve wished I had the financial assistance of a mate. Life can definitely be easier, and you know what, at one time I did have that. See, when I had my son, I was married. Then my son’s father and I got a divorce. Neither of us was swimming in assets that could have been divided. There were no mansions to be sold, and half the profit divided. There was no alimony to fight for. Nope, unfortunately, we didn’t live like Will and Jada. And in the blink of an eye the divorce brought me back to being single, and this time, single with a baby. The extra income from my ex was helpful, but still it didn’t help me get out of my own personal debt.

Before I became a parent, I had all intentions to live the sweet life by any means necessary. And those means sometimes meant leaving a bill unpaid. My priorities were screwed up. By the time I realized that there was more to life than living for the now, I was already knee-deep in debt, and now that I had a son, and was back to being single, I had to fix my financial situation.

I started off rocky, but I got a hang of things around age 32.

I started paying more attention to what and how much I spent, and what I was able to save. I focused on what needed immediate attention, and learned how to resolve the delinquent bills from the past. It was hard work. But I got down to it. I’m still not rich. And I’m not sitting on a mound of money in my savings. But now, at 34, I’m getting to the point where, in case of emergencies, I’m not worried anymore. I have savings that I can fall back on. Yes some sales catch me now and again, but if it means not paying a bill, that sale won’t see me. Owning my own home is the new goal I have set before me.

So now that I’ve shared my past, we can cut the sappy music and cue Ne-Yo’s “Miss Independent”.

“There is just something about having your money and savings in order as a single person.”

There is just something about having your money and savings in order as a single person. The independence, the freedom, and the relief of not feeling overwhelmed when you’ve managed to balance your income and expenses. And this is the phase I am in at the moment.

For those of us who believe that we’ll be single for a long time, or don’t know when our Prince or Princess Charming will come, we have a lot to think about. Forget the fetes for a while. Think about retirement plans. Think about paying off that car loan. Think about how you can manage to own a home. And at the same time, still try to have a savings account with a substantial amount in case of emergencies. It’s hard enough as is, being single, and just as hard trying to up your net worth, while acquiring major possessions along the way.

Having lived both lives – single and married – I know just how crucial it is to ‘get your house in order’ early on, and this is why I’ve shared my story with you. There are many resources you can refer to for guidance. Financial advisors, which many of us can’t afford, are actually helpful. But if you can’t be afford one, there are workshops, and books to help steer us in the right direction. With the digital age we live in, we can even go online and google some self-help tips.

Sometimes we think we need to wait to have a partner or be married before we can achieve our financial goals, and run our own show; but it’s good to start early. Going into a marriage or live-in arrangement financially independent is not only healthy for your relationship, but it’s also healthy for you. Besides, relationship status aside, who doesn’t want to get their money right? So go ahead. Take the steps to understanding the importance of financial planning, and challenge yourself to do it on your own.

 

Onika Pascal

Onika Pascal is a Trini living in New York, who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She is a single mom, author of two published collections of poetry, aspiring novelist ,and lover of all things purposeful.

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