Budget 2012 – Introduction to Financial Success for Custodial Parents


Cinderella's Castle
Whether you want to take a trip to Disney or buy your own castle, defining and posting your goals is the first step to financial success!

Custodial parents faced a greater challenge than two parent families even before the current economic crisis hit. Today, with more single parent families than in years past, the challenges to achieving financial success – as well as the importance of attaining that success – are tremendous.

But no one needs to tell us that. We know the challenges of single parenting. Financial stability seems out of sight most days. Financial success is a foreign concept we cannot define, but it is possible with the right attitudes and actions.

Monday posts give custodial parents tools needed to reach financial success from someone who has been there. I was pregnant with our fifth little boy and had been a stay at home mom for about 10 years when my husband suddenly abandoned our family.

My Story in a Nutshell

I was luckier than most because I had some savings (explained in a later post), an expired teaching license, and family and friends willing to help.

That wasn’t enough to cover bills or attorney fees however, and our house went into foreclosure, my credit rating dropped from an A to an F. We were cold in winters, had trouble finding housing, and received food from local churches. We live in a rural area and every day I waited for my clunker car to die. I would have high daycare costs and little in the form of marketable job skills.

The court system, meant to protect families like mine, proved useless. My husband made a good salary but refused to pay mandatory support while our case was pending – about three years! While the case dragged on, he cut his hours to reduce his salary and pay less.

Meanwhile, I had 5 children, including a newborn. Three would require some daycare, and 1 was struck with a long-term illnes. We were lucky because the illness was not serious or lasting, but it did require more sick days for my son and increased medical care.

What Did I Have?

Above all else, I had faith. I believed God would take care of me if I followed his commands and I did – for the most part, and when I messed up, I sought his forgiveness and worked to do better next time.

And that is what I hope for you too. No one is perfect, but you can act and BELIEVE your way to financial success. As the custodial parent your kids are counting on you so you can do it!

How To Begin?

You have already taken the first step by reading this, but I have to warn you, there is no easy, quick, miracle cure. Financial success will be a long hard road and you should be wary of anyone who tells you otherwise.

You must act your way to success. Make the decision right now to not buy things you cannot afford. Decide to say NO to yourself and your kids and YES to a good life for all of you.

Monday posts will give tips, projects, or links other helpful financial sites. They will only work if you follow them. I hope you do!

Each week you will be given an assignment in the Act Your Way to Financial Success section. These steps break down financial planning into easier steps. Drowning below sea level and being told to climb Mount Everest is overwhelming. The weekly “Actions” break down that journey so you are only faced with one step at a time.

So let’s get started with this week’s assignment!

Act Your Way to Financial Success

“Financial Success” is a vague concept. With no visible target, shooting for financial success is firing blind. The sky is the limit. Dream small and realistic, but dream big too. For now, it is only important that you have tangible dreams. In later weeks we will go back and work those dreams.


  1. List at least 10 dreams that will tell you that you have achieved financial success.
  2. Post them somewhere visible.