Single dads are more confident about securing their child’s financial future: poll

The average single parent says they'd need a minimum of $332,705 in savings in order to feel at ease about raising their child. That’s according to a survey of 2,000 single parents, split evenly between moms and dads, which found the average respondent thinks about their child’s financial future five times per day. Four in 10 single parents (43%) hadn’t started planning for their child’s financial future until early childhood (between the ages of 4-6) or later, with 7% of single parents not yet beginning financial planning for their children. Only 10% started planning before their child was born. Additionally, the study, “Single Parents and the Financial Future” revealed that single dads are more confident about securing their child’s financial future than single moms (69% vs. 58%). Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Life Happens, a nonprofit educating consumers about the importance of life insurance, results also found 75% felt overwhelmed when becoming a single parent. Seven in 10 (69%) said becoming a parent is a significant financial burden, one that was likely exacerbated when they became the sole provider. On average, single parents spend $14,150 a year on childcare alone. The top costs they felt unprepared to deal with on their own included groceries (56%), healthcare (49%), bills (49%) and creating and maintaining a savings account (48%). Four in 10 (42%) have gone into debt for their children and 52% have made adjustments to their career or work choices to support their financial situation. That includes seeking salary increases (53%), switching to a job with a better work-life balance (53%) and negotiating for flexible work hours (51%). Some single parents have also picked up an additional job (48%), started a side business or freelancing to supplement income (42%) and even downsized to a more affordable living situation (25%). “Parenthood brings many new expenses, including some unexpected ones, but it can be especially challenging for single-parent households,” said Barb Pietrangelo, a financial advisor and chair of Life Happens. “As your child’s main source of emotional and financial support, it’s important to plan ahead to ensure they’re financially secure in the event you are unable to be there for them.” To manage their financial responsibilities, parents who are sole providers set aside a specific amount of money each month (57%), purchase life insurance policies to provide financial security for their child (52%) and invest in education savings plans (43%). If they were to pass away unexpectedly, single parents would rely on their savings (59%) and immediate or extended family (57%) to help support their child. “A life insurance policy can help provide for your child’s future in many ways, from food, clothing and shelter to their education,” Pietrangelo added. “The younger and healthier you are, the more affordable life insurance can be, so exploring your options as early as possible is highly encouraged.” CHANGES SINGLE PARENTS HAVE MADE TO SUPPORT THEIR FINANCES ● Sought salary increases - 53% ● Switched to a job with better work-life balance - 53% ● Negotiated for flexible work hours - 51% ● Picked up an additional job - 48% ● Cut back on work hours - 46% ● Started a side business or freelancing to supplement income - 42% ● Returned to work - 38% ● Gave up job or career - 26% ● Downsized to a more affordable living situation - 25% ● Reduced work hours to spend more time with children - 21% ● Relocated to an area with lower cost of living - 20% ● Returned to school to increase my job opportunities - 12% Survey methodology: This random double-opt-in survey of single parents (1,000 moms and 1,000 dads) was commissioned by Life Happens between July 27 and July 31, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).