USA Today Snapshot – 4/30/2010 – Why Many Are B-R-O-K-E

This may or may not be well received, but hear me out on this.

I was reading the USA Today the other day as I was eating breakfast at the hotel in Sacramento, CA.   In the bottom left corner of the front page, I saw the below snapshot.   I took a picture of it with my Blackberry camera (which is basically a terrible camera).   Take a minute to look at the statistic that is shared.

Births to unmarried parents

Births to unmarried parents

The USA Today Snapshot shares the statistics of “Percentage of U.S. Births To Unmarried Women”, and I believe it is a very telling statistic as to why so many Americans are struggling financially.

Of course, one statistic does not tell the entire story.   We are not told how many of these children are being fully supported by their fathers.   We do not know how many families are living together, but are unmarried.   What we do know as financial coaches and teachers is that single moms are the number one group of people that we see struggling financially.

For single moms, the struggle is not just financial.   It is also extremely emotional, spiritual, and time-consuming.

Instead of two people to carry the financial load, many times the single mom has to carry it because the father fails to fulfill his obligation to pay child support.

Instead of two people to carry the emotional load of being a parent, one parent has to carry it – usually the single mom.

Instead of two people to take the child to the doctor, to school, to dance class, to football practice, it is done by one of   the parents – usually the single mom.   This is all done in addition to their daily work.

We are passionate about helping people accomplish far more than they ever thought possible.   The task becomes much greater when we encounter this situation.


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  1. Mrsoul on May 5, 2010 at 4:35 am

    I hear ya Joe. My Mom was a single mother with 4 kids working 12 hour shifts as a nurse. My Dad was in the area and we spent regular time with him and his other family; but, my Mom had to make every dollar stretch for 4 kids. How we didn’t end up in prison or my Mom in some kind of treatment is due to God’s provision alone.

    I look back at those times now and just can’t conceive of how hard she worked. It’s almost impossible for my wife and I to tag team these two boys we are raising. I can only pray I would have half the strength she showed.

    I agree with your assessment; but, of course, there are many times I wish I would have made other choices as a younger man too. It’s now our job to make sure we make the consequences visible and meaningful to those making the choices as younger adults. You are certainly doing your part! Keep it going!

    Thank you for your ministry!

  2. Greg on May 5, 2010 at 4:57 am

    I can’t comment on “usually the single mom,” but I can tell you from experience that a parent (and the kid) struggles far more in this situation when the other parent doesn’t live up to their court ordered financial obligations. My father had to make tougher choices in order to provide for me; like giving up on some of his dreams or career aspirations, working very long hours, etc. This act of selflessness and honor in a person is exceedingly rare, as many people would choose themselves before the welfare of their child. And I can say this with a degree of certainty as Laurens county child services is always in need of foster parents. Therefore, I definitely believe selfishness is one of the root causes of the statistic above and unpaid child support. So how does a single parent balance work, daycare, school, quality time, etc.? As a child of a single parent home my answer is as follows: determination, lots of use from the latch-key and school lunch programs, a little telling the boss off when they make you choose between your kid and your job, a ton of prayer, a ton of happy meals (no onions), and when the chance arises-taking in a movie or pack up a cooler and drop a line in the river (from the bank-no boat required)!

  3. Tiffany on May 5, 2010 at 5:57 am

    My brother and I were raised by a single mom. We struggled often. I can tell you that without the help of our family and friends, we would not have made it. Our dad died when he was 32 and did not keep up his support payments when he was alive.
    I know it may sound funny, but we are all better now for having lived in a struggle. Our bonds go deeper and the love we know is greater than it would be if we had been handed everything. I found that when we were down, we looked up to God to help and provide people in our lives. Those people changed and molded us as Christians. Now, even though we still struggle at times, we are able to help others in our path by showing them the love and caring that God showed us.
    There is another sad fact… some families with two parents still have the issues of “single parenting”. Until my husband and I received counseling, I was a single mom. He never knew that the emotional and spiritual connections were slowly fading and that he was needed more now than before becoming a parent. We still struggle with finances and with being supportive of each other. However, we have a deeper bond knowing that there is a common goal… raising a child with boundries and respect for others. I pray for all the single moms out there, our church is full of them. Going above and beyond is a daily task for every parent, single or not. Pay attention to the lessons we are teaching these kids. In the end, love is the greatest gift a parent can give.

  4. Lisa on May 5, 2010 at 6:06 am

    I am a single mother myself with two children.. I pay for everything no child support cause my ex has not had a job for a long time.. but that is a whole other issue.. I have to work long hours and sometimes have to miss my sons sports practice cause it interferes with the nights that I work late.. as a single mother trying to do it all myself the #1 difficulty we have other than financial of course.. is resources and time.. there is no real opportunity to do the research on a particular need, service, information.. due to the long hours I work.. so lots of times I forgo much needed errands or “to do” because I am exhausted or it takes time away from my boys..I wish there was a service or a site we can go to that incorporated all the things/info and resources a single parent may need.. from coupons, grants, government help, loans, community events, daycare, jobs, medical research, homework help etc.. that would all be helpful to single mothers so we do not have to weed out the thousand other things that do not fit your situation.. I know.. I am asking for a miracle.. maybe we will get one!

  5. Debra on May 5, 2010 at 7:49 am

    Having raised my daughter as a single parent was hard but not as hard as if I had stayed with her father who had a gambling addiction. She was the reason that I left. I could not have her watch and suffer through his mood swings when he won or lost all of our money.
    The biggest change that I would have made was my relationship with God. That relationship helps guide me correctly in life and with my money. If I had only realized that in my early twenties and made better decisions. Your book and program for young adults and teens should be required in schools.
    My daughter has been taught to respect money and to plan for its use. She tells me quite often that she appreciates the sacrifices that I made for her well-being and the advice that I gave her.

  6. MrAlone on May 5, 2010 at 8:09 am

    I certainly applaud all the single moms out there. I used to have no idea what they went thru and then 7 years ago found myself to be a full time single dad. Like most of the single moms I too have no financial support. But I find the biggest struggles to be the emotional and time support, or the lack there of. Raising a child on my own while working full time, trying to make bills on time, keep the house clean, dinner on the table, school activities, sports activities, quality time with my child to be very overwhelming at times. There seems to be no support, and if there is, do I have the time to seek that out? At the end of the day, when your child is tucked into bed and fast asleep, when you think you can finally sit down to have 3 seconds to yourself you remember you forgot to change out that load of laundry or a myriad of other things that just can’t wait till the next day. Being a single parent is the toughest job on the planet and one that garners no respect. My guy friends do not understand what I go through and have, for the most part, stopped asking me to do things with them since they know I do not have the time. My number one priority in life is to meet the needs of my child. But I will admit there is a selfish side to me that wants the world to stand up and take notice of the struggles we single parents go through. I would also like to see single dads get more credit than they get. I understand we are a very small, but growing, minority….but we are out there…united in the struggles we all face. For all you single moms and dads…Thank You, thank you for what you do, keep fighting the good fight. When you feel all alone, and when you shed those silent tears at night just know that we are crying with you and we are praying for you.

  7. Brian Dodd on May 5, 2010 at 6:28 pm


    I was in Sacramento and saw this as well. Heartbreaking information.

    I thought – “Cmon Guys!!!” Be responsible, have self-control, or be worth marrying.

    Sadly, this also will create generational cycles of poverty that will need divine intervention to break.

    You’re a good friend and keep the information coming!


  8. MD Neal on May 6, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Here’s an encouraging story of a single mom of 4 (2 boys & 2 girls) that has returned to college (my alma mater) to finish her degree.

  9. nicole on May 7, 2010 at 6:05 am

    Re: Lisa’s comment
    I am not sure if this is something that she will be able to attend, but on Saturday, May 22nd from 9:30am-noon there will be a Community Services Fair at Tri County Tech. This is an event where a lot of community services/outreach will be assisting people and explaining how you can receive assistance. For example: HUD, AIM, SNAP benefits (food stamps), etc… If anyone needs any information on this event this is the number that they can reach – (864) 646-1515 I hope this helps. Thanks for all you do!

  10. Debby on May 7, 2010 at 7:26 am

    There are different reason’s for being a single parent…

    I have a husband but I feel like a single mom and grandmother… my husband is disabled and on disablitiy He has very little quality of life. I have a full time job as well as the responsibility of the home and all that intales… I am over whelmed sometimes… I do feel sad and wonder when will things turn around but then I get encouragement from articles like this and realize there is a purpose and GOD will carry all of us through our diversities. And we will stand stronger on the other side having gone through the struggles. 🙂 PRAISE BE TO GOD!

  11. Georgia on May 7, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Not that this is a good stat by any means, but it was good to read that I am not the only one that has traveled this road.

    I was a single mom for years with no child support and my finances are just starting to recover; largely because of your book and I saw you speak at Christ’s Church of the Valley in Royersford, PA. At one point when the kids were little they knocked an open box of Cherrios on the floor, spilling almost the entire contents and I did not have enough money to replace the box of cereal. I will never forget sitting on the floor and crying and what that felt like. I really started leaning on the Lord then and praying and somehow when I needed it most and there was no money left someone would bring me food.

    My sons are now 19 and 17 1/2; my oldest has enlisted in the Army and my youngest is planning to go to college. I have no idea where all the time went, it seems like I just put them on the bus for their first day of school. I have had to be away from home so much to work just to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads that I have missed most of their childhood and have spent the last 17 years feeling, many times, exhausted beyond words.

    I am very thankful for your teachings and that for the first time in years the added pressure of financial strain is beginning to lighten. More than that I am thankful that I have a plan and that I see better future!

  12. Alexandra Sasinowski on May 9, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Long after the children are gone the financial burden continues…often the case there are no savings or retirement but a pay check to pay check life and the begining of medical expences.I know for myself and outhers like me it can seem overwhelming, be a single parent in good health was easer in many ways to me

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