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I’ve been thinking about the best way to approach this post for a while.
I wanted to have all of the answers to the financial challenges of being a single girl making it on her own. But the reality is, that I just don’t. I don’t have it all figured out. In fact, not even close.
I haven’t figured out how to magically materialize more money for myself. I’m completely and utterly terrified that I’ll never be able to retire. Every time that I look at buying a house I crumble at the impossiblity. When people talk about stocks, and investments my head spins and I feel like a total financial failure, and a little bit like I might be sick.
So instead of having all of the answers, I felt like it might be better to just have a real, honest talk about singleness and finances.
The honest truth is that I never pictured doing any of this on my own, and maybe you didn’t either. On one hand, it’s completely empowering to be “making it on your own”. On the other hand, it can be mind-bogglingly (totally a word) frustrating and disheartening.
Some may look at us and say, “Well, even when you’re married you’ll never have all the money that you want,” or “You’re so lucky to have the freedom to make all of your own decisions about money.” Those are totally fair points. No matter our relationship status, money will always be a point of conversation, and there is value in having total control and sole decision-making power over your money.
But here’s the thing. With the freedom to “make it on your own”, also comes the fear of “making it on your own.”
There’s no person to fall back on. No one to talk through the options, or come to an agreement with on the best way forward. There’s no one to say “We’re in this together.” And that can feel hard, and at times, overwhelmingly lonely.
(“Wow, Laura, this is a real downer of a post.” Hold on. I’m getting to the encouraging part.)
While I might not have all of the answers to give you on stocks, investments, saving for retirement, or buying a house (there are definitely some badass, independent women out there who totally know all of that and more, it’s just not me yet!), what I can tell you are four encouraging truths that I’ve found about “making it on your own.”
I hope that they will lift you up in those moments when you think “If I just had a husband…”
1. You are not a failure because of what you cannot afford:
Comparison can kill us. Feeling like what we want is just out of reach can devastate us. But the truth is, there’s nothing wrong with where you are. You are not a failure because of what you can or cannot afford. You may be in a different place in life financially than you anticipated, and you may feel like you’re in a wildly different place than some of your friends, but just because your journey is different, doesn’t mean it’s not ok.
You’re tackling a situation you didn’t expect to be in, and you’re making it work. That’s a complete and total success in my book.
2. You’re more capable than you realize:
Like I said above, some women could tell you everything about stocks, saving for retirement, and buying a house (and if you’re one of them, that’s freaking awesome. TEACH ME.), but I never anticipated having to be one of them, and maybe you’ve been feeling the same way.
Unfortunately, those types of conversations and topics have just never come easily to me. When we have the 401K talk at work, I eventually just want to say “Here, take my money, and do something with it to ensure I don’t have to work until I’m 80.” I just don’t get it. And when I talked to a lender about buying a house, it was just a whole lot of words coming from him, with no meaning on my end.
I truly believed I’d have a husband by my side helping to navigate every part of our finances. Not so that I didn’t have to understand, but so that it wasn’t entirely on me to understand it alone.
But you know what? I have a 401K. I’m doing incredible amounts of research to better understand the home-buying process. And ultimately, I am doing it on my own. Every single day.
I am more capable than I ever realized, or give myself credit for. And I don’t doubt for one second that you are too. Take a step back and look at all that you have done on your own.
3. Right now doesn’t mean forever:
I stress myself out often, as I mentioned above, about how I’ll ever retire if it’s just me putting away the money.
It’s a problem I’ll have to deal with thirty or forty years from now, but it keeps me up at night here and now.
But the truth is, that right now doesn’t mean forever. This is my financial situation at the moment, and I am doing my best with the resources that I have, but this, most likely, isn’t the way it will always be.
One day I might make more money. Someday I might have a husband who can contribute a second income. And I might become the most knowledgeable person on the block about all things financial. Who knows!
There’s a future we haven’t seen yet, and it most likely will not look exactly like today. Have hope. Right now is just that. Today, right now, but not forever.
4. God knows everything about you, your bank account, and the resources you’ll need for the future:
I think one of the toughest lessons I’ve had to learn about singleness and finances, is to trust God to provide.
There are so many ways I’d like to use my money, or just plain have the money to use, and God will sometimes say “No”, “Not yet”, or “You’re ok where you are.”
He knows I’d rather own a home than toss money into rent any longer. He knows I’ll struggle to afford a car payment if anything happens to the one I have now. And he knows “gifts” is my love language, and if I couldn’t afford to give them, Christmas and birthdays would be a deep struggle for me.
God already knows everything about how we feel about our finances, what we will need in the future, how all of our hopes that cost money will pan out, and all the ways he’s already planned to provide for us.
We can let go because God already knows.
So to all my single ladies making it on their own, I just have to say, you’re doing an incredible thing, and I am with you.
It’s an empowering struggle and we’re doing it and making it work every day. Keep going, keep believing, in both yourself and the God who provides, and one day the future will look like so much more than we can fathom right now.
You got this, girl.
Question: What have you learned from your own experience about singleness and finances? I’d love to know! Drop me a note below!