Mother and daughter dressed in superhero costumes

Moms and money: Money tips for every mom

May 11, 2021
Empower Insights

You’re probably well aware by now that “mom” spelled upside down creates a very upbeat — and uplifting — word. 

“Wow.”

“Wow” is right. After all, moms are some the most courageous, resilient and loving people in the world. From raising children to providing the best comfort to advancing in their careers, moms do it all. They’re superhuman superwomen who wear many hats to go above and beyond for their families.

But being “Mom of the Year” or “The Greatest Mom Ever” also means taking special care of a household budget.

In fact, 75% of moms in the U.S. have already put the pieces in place to conserve more money in 2021.1 How are they doing it? For the most part, they’re getting back to basics. They’re trimming their spending, whittling down any debt and stashing cash for the unexpected. They’re also focused on securing their future.

First and foremost, though, as every proud mom preaches and teaches, they’re setting goals and sticking to them.

Are you ready to join them?

A coffee mug with text "Super Mom" and a cupcake sits on a table of flowers

For all the “#1 Moms” out there, here’s a fresh bouquet of savings goals to help you achieve the financial freedom you deserve:

GROW YOUR NEST EGG

No matter your current age or life stage, retirement will be here before you know it. Women usually begin their next adventure right around the time they turn 63.So it should come as no surprise that nearly 20% of moms have made it a top priority to begin stockpiling additional funds for their golden years.1

HOW CAN YOU REACH IT?

Of course, maybe the easiest way to bolster your retirement income is to make the most of all the primary — and fundamental — benefits that may be available to you in your employer-sponsored program. 

Put the “mom” in momentum and:

  • Enroll.

The sooner, the better. When you become eligible to participate in your plan, stop waiting and start saving. 

  • Follow a schedule.

Check with your provider to see if your plan has an automatic increase feature, which can help you boost your deferral rate by a specific value each year. Even 1% more every 12 months can have a big impact.3

  • Meet the match.

Don’t leave free dollars on the table. If your work offers a company match, take full advantage of it.4 In some cases, depending on the formula, you may have an opportunity to double your input.5

  • Catch up.

Are you 50 or older? If so, you may be able to make “catch-up contributions” to pick up even more steam.6

Be sure to visit irs.gov to learn how much you can contribute to your retirement account on an annual basis.

PREPARE FOR THE JUST-IN-CASE

Believe it or not, there are some accidents, messes and obstacles at home that moms can’t always  fix on their own. That might explain why almost 25% of moms have mapped out plans to build an emergency fund, which can be used to cover any unforeseen expenses around the house.1 A little help never hurts.

HOW CAN YOU REACH IT?

Things change.

Things break.

Things happen.

Remember, as the popular song goes, “Mama said there’d be days like this.” The average cost for a surprise event, like a car repair or a medical bill, is roughly $3,500 for most Americans.7 So, if you want “things” to be OK when disaster strikes, create a separate pot you can dip into to handle an urgent need.

Consider earmarking a portion of your tax return or stimulus check to get your emergency fund up and running. You can also make important changes to your normal lifestyle, like canceling any unused subscriptions, or designate a fixed sum from every paycheck to put your standby supply on solid footing.

Mom tattoo graphic with heart and text "Mom, Master of money"

DEFEAT PERSONAL DEBT 

Buy now, pay later.

It’s tempting, isn’t it? For families in the U.S., the average amount of credit card debt stands in the neighborhood of $7,000.8 That’s a hefty price tag that 30% of moms are working extra hard every day to eliminate. 

HOW CAN YOU REACH IT?

Moms often tell their kids to “play nice.”

In this case, when it comes to tackling your own debt and managing your different loans, you can do a really “nice” job at paying back what you owe by implementing the snowball strategy. Simply put, you conquer your lowest balance first while still submitting the minimum payment on all of your other balances.

Once you cross an item off your list, you roll the total you had been allocating to it to the minimum payment on your next-smallest debt. You repeat this one-by-one process until you’re completely out of the red.9

KEEP IT SIMPLE

Needs versus wants. Like every mom knows, distinguishing between the two is key to becoming a real MOM — “Master of Money.” As a result, 45% of moms are now committed to cutting back on nonessential purchases. 1

HOW CAN YOU REACH IT?

In general, Americans waste about $1,500 a month on various luxuries, including morning coffees, gym memberships and entertainment packages. Don’t forget the to-go food that’s also eating away at people’s wallets.10 If this sounds like your regular routine, it may be time to adopt some healthier savings habits

  • Shop with a grocery list.
  • Ask for deals with your TV, cellphone and internet providers.
  • Pack your lunch.
  • Decrease your streaming services.
  • Limit rideshare pickups.
  • Exercise at home or outside.
  • Meet with a financial advisor.

From there, continue to track your spending — every penny of it! — along the way to gain control of your finances.

Start growing your savings today with an Empower Investment Account. 

1 Empower Institute and Personal Capital, "Back to (Financial) Basics," January 2021.

2 Rachel Cautero, Yahoo Finance, “When do people retire on average,” February 2020.

3 Empower Institute, “Success for Savers Through Design or Default: Three ways to encourage better savings habits,” November 2018.

4 Jesse Piburn, Personal Capital, “How Does 401k Matching Work?” June 2020.

5 FINRA, “Why Leave Money on the Table—Make the Most of Your Employer's 401(k) Match,” December 2019.

6 Katie Brockman, CNN Money, “How to catch up on retirement savings in your 50s,” September 2018.

7 Megan Leonhardt, CNBC, “41% of Americans would be able to cover a $1,000 emergency with savings,” January 2020.

8 Joe Resendiz, Value Penguin, “Compare Average Credit Card Debt in America: 2021,” March 2021.

9 Credit Karma, ”What is the snowball method?” January 2021.

10 Maurie Backman, USA Today, “You don't need that: Average American spends almost $18,000 a year on nonessentials,” May 2019.

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