The Worried Mother

A mother’s biggest fear has come true and their family finances look on shaky ground. Here’s my advice.

QUESTION: I’m a new mum – my husband and I have a five-month-old daughter.

My biggest fear when I became a mother was my family not being financially secure. It took me a long time to ‘let go’ and trust that my husband would be able to do this and that all would be well.

Unfortunately, my biggest fear has come true. He’s become unemployed, our credit card has maxed out paying bills, and our investment property has been vacant for six weeks.

I’m an educated woman, and always felt I was very good with my money, yet at the moment I feel like our finances are out of control. I desperately want to be able to remain home to raise my daughter.

– Jessica 

SCOTT: I sure wouldn’t like to be your husband right now!

Yet you need him more than ever – you’re a team, and you need to work your way out of this together.

Yet you need [your husband] more than ever – you’re a team, and you need to work your way out of this together.

Thankfully, you have two aces up your sleeve courtesy of the Chinese-led investment boom:

First, Australia has got (basically) full employment. Tell your husband to get a job, no matter what it is, maybe two.

Second, because of continuing housing unaffordability, the rental market in most areas is tight. Lower your rent by 10 per cent and get a tenant.

One of the worst kinds of stress is financial stress, but you have a choice. I find that the people who take action – such as working towards a three-month emergency fund – don’t have financial stress in their lives. The best way to provide for your daughter is to be financially strong.

The Three Letters

Reading through emails like these makes me incredibly sad.

I’ve been accused in the past for being ‘unnecessarily gloomy’ about the economic climate.

If that’s true, I apologize. I don’t attempt to read the economic tealeaves, and besides I’m a firm believer that anyone can win, regardless of what Craig James says on the telly.

Yet too many people struggle when the economy has a pullback like the one we’re having now – due a combination of too much debt and the fact that none of us were taught anything about money when we were kids.

Yet years of doing this has shown me that people can pull themselves out of a pickle, and often it’s the one’s who get hit the hardest that come back the strongest.

Tread Your Own Path!

Now read: My guide to managing your money in 10-minutes.