Single Mom Struggles To Manage Debts

By George Erb
The Seattle Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Research has long shown that the economic consequences of divorce tend to fall more heavily on women than on men. This article takes a look at how one single mom is tackling her financial future.

SEATTLE

Kiera Mann is a hardworking professional who loves her job as an operations manager at the office of an international logistics and transportation company.

She is also a single mom with a son in college, two children at home, credit-card debt and lingering financial fallout from a divorce.

Mann, 38, desperately wants to get off her cash-flow treadmill and start saving for the future.

“I’m not there yet,” she said over coffee at a shop in her hometown outside Seattle. “But it feels attainable.”

Angela Giboney, an area financial planner, offered to examine Mann’s household finances and advise her for free. What she saw was the financial profile of a working professional with a good income but few assets who was bogged down by large, recurring expenses.

Giboney congratulated Mann for keeping the household going by controlling her spending on discretionary items, such as entertainment.

“She needs to be praised for managing the day to day and keeping the expenses down,” Giboney said.

Research has long shown that the economic consequences of divorce tend to fall more heavily on women than on men.

That’s partly because women typically earn less than men. Courts are also more likely to award children to mothers than fathers. As a result, compared to men, divorced women tend to form larger and more expensive households that are based on less income, according to studies by the City University of New York Institute for Demographic Research.

Mann can relate to that scenario. Her divorce, five years ago, left her with debt and the custody of the couple’s three children. Her oldest son is a freshman at the University of Washington; the other kids are 9 and 10. She receives no child support.

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