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Posted on July 07, 2015

Houston –A recent study conducted by Pew Research revealed that among women who serve as the primary wage earner in their household, 5.1 million (37%) are married mothers with higher incomes than their husbands, while 8.6 million (63%) are single parents earning significantly less than their married peers. While there are substantial differences between these two groups, both have shown to benefit greatly from financial guidance and assistance.

Money Management International (MMI), a member of the National Foundation for Credit CounselingⓇ (NFCCⓇ), understands that women serving as their family’s primary breadwinner are often asked to carry an exceptional load, combining financial, domiciliary, and parental duties.

“At MMI, we recognize the unique financial challenges that working women face,” said Joanne Kerstetter, Spokesperson for MMI. “We also know that with the right combination of education and support, working moms are empowered to take control of their finances. That means less time spent worrying about money, and more time spent enjoying their family.”

The NFCC and The Ohio State University (OSU) worked together to survey participants of the NFCC Sharpen Your Financial FocusTM (Sharpen) program. Data from this program identified 52% of participating breadwinner moms as being single and 32% as being divorced. Some of the most significant financial challenges faced by breadwinner moms include:

Reduced Income – Managing a household budget is difficult enough for anyone with a stable income, but sudden decreases can cause a damaging ripple effect in a family's finances. The OSU data revealed that 29% of breadwinner moms participating in the Sharpen program were affected by unemployment or underemployment. Nearly as many (22%) suffered negative financial consequences resulting from domestic conflict, including separation and divorce.

Increased Expense – Medical costs and increases in family size are among the top financial challenges faced by families. Personal savings is one way to offset the pain of unanticipated increases, but for the majority of single mothers it is often impossible to build savings on a shoestring budget.

Bad Credit – Low credit scores and high levels of credit card debt can pose seemingly insurmountable financial obstacles for women seeking a balance between work and family. Sharpen results showed that revolving debt levels decreased by nearly half (49.5%) from pre-counseling to fourth quarter for wage-earning mothers in the program.

Counseling and education have proven to be significantly beneficial for breadwinner mothers who are facing tough financial choices. Money Management International is able to provide financial counseling in-person, by phone, or online. To reach a certified financial counselor today, consumers can call 866.490.9477 or visit MoneyManagement.org.