Advice for recently single mum


New Member
Age: 37
Spouse’s/Partner's age: recently separated, was not married

Annual gross income from employment or profession: on unpaid leave with work, 44k per annum for a 3 day week
Annual gross income of spouse: N/A. He is unemployed currently and not able to contribute towards our child.

Monthly take-home pay: would be 2700 eur per month for a 3 day week when/ if go back to work

Type of employment: e.g. Civil Servant, self-employed: civil servant

In general are you:
(a) spending more than you earn, or
(b) saving?

Spending into savings as no income currently.

Rough estimate of value of home: 325k
Amount outstanding on your mortgage: 122k
What interest rate are you paying? 2.25% fixed with KBC

Other borrowings – car loans/personal loans etc: n/a

Do you pay off your full credit card balance each month? use for online purchases and cleared each month

Savings and investments: Approx 40k shares

Do you have a pension scheme? Yes but putting in bare minimum specified by work, no AVC

Do you own any investment or other property? No

Ages of children: 1 (1 year old)

Life insurance: no life insurance, no health insurance

What specific question do you have or what issues are of concern to you?

My background is that I a recently separated mum of one. Baby is one years old. I am unpaid leave till May 2021 and then I will have to decide what I will do workwise. I had a rough year last year-my Mum and sister both passed away. My ex and I were not getting on and decided to separate before Christmas. I suffer from depression and my doctor advised that he is happy to sign me on illness benefit if I need to.

My main concerns are:

I feel quite vulnerable financially (and in other ways but I will stick to the finances given focus of this website). I want to take care of my daughter as best I can financially.

Specific concerns:

1. Would I be better of paying off partially my mortgage with the 40k shares and thus reducing my monthly mortgage payment? I queried with my bank and partial repayment would incur breakage fee in the low hundreds.
2. I have 12k eur in current savings that I am hanging onto for my daily outgoings as am unpaid leave as well as to use as an emergency fund. Is that sufficient in your opinion?
3. Should I increase my pension contributions-AVCs..given the tax benefits?
4. I have no life assurance, health insurance. I can't really afford them right now but know I am exposed.
5. In the next few years, I would like to move house but have no deposit/savings for it.

A friend suggested maybe applying for the lone parent allowance to see me through but am aware I would have to leave my job. I am trying to offer my daughter the best opportunities I can and not sure if applying for social welfare is a good idea. It may be easier for my life in the short run only.

There's alot in the above. I would really appreciate some honest and practical advise. Thank you.


Frequent Poster
You have a well paid job at 44k for 3 days . I would focus on arranging childcare for the future and not consider living on welfare as a viable option . Are you hoping to return 3 or 5 days a week ? Given your current circumstances I don’t think putting your savings off your mortgage is a good idea .


1: IMO No. Have you scope to lengthen the term to tie you through ?
2: Just about but you need to consider going back to work. How liquid is your shares should you require them quickly ? - assuming not long then this is part of the rainyday fund.
3: No, you have got a pretty good pension for now.
4: IMO the public health is just as good but a little slower to get into the system. Did you cancel recently or have you never had it (as a matter of interest) ?
5: Deal with 1 and 2 for now.


New Member
I would be planning to go back to work 3 days...initially anyway.

Never thought to lengthen the term but will check it... I have 24 years left. Shares are very liquid so could be considered part of my emergency fund.

I cancelled my health insurance last month. I couldn't justify the cost...


Registered User
Given your former partner is not working at present and is unable to contribute financially towards the child can he mind the child the days you are at work?

If you earn €44000 gross per annum you would take home €3013 per month.

If you suffer from depression maybe you might be better to work 3 days per week just to get out of the house ? If you suffer with depression maybe trying to have to live on €250 per week might cause you more health problems, maybe you and your baby might have an better life on nearly €700 per week ?


Frequent Poster
Don't give up work. You have a good job that pays well and protected against redundancy. It won't be too long before your daughter will be going to school (it goes very quickly!) and you will have more time on your hands.

Life is going to be tough as a single parent but giving up something that keeps you productive and pays well to go on a life of welfare is only going to make things harder as you are going to have very little money.

If the mortgage is a strain at the moment, talk to your bank about taking a break from payments until you are back at work.



Frequent Poster
Do you have a pension scheme? Yes but putting in bare minimum specified by work, no AVC
When did you start in civil service?

If you are looking at 40 years or close to it by retirement age I wouldn't worry about AVCs at this point.

However remember that a three-day week counts like an seven-month year for superannuation purposes. Likewise periods of unpaid leave can eat into the 40 years you'll need for a

1. Would I be better of paying off partially my mortgage with the 40k shares and thus reducing my monthly mortgage payment? I queried with my bank and partial repayment would incur breakage fee in the low hundreds.
How long is left on the mortgage? You have a low LTV. The bank might be open to re-structuring to give you a longer term. The next few years will be tight financially, so there is no point rushing to pay it off in 15 years if you could pay it off in 25.
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Frequent Poster
You don't become exempt from your obligations to support your children when out of work.

You should get a maintenance order in place at (say) €20 per week, or the equivalent of the dependent child allowance, which ever is the higher.

The maintenance order can be varied at a later time when your former partner returns to employment.


Frequent Poster
Hold on to your job as it is fairly well paid and in the present circumstances in the country you will find it difficult to get anything better. Could your partner not contribute something towards his child - I presume he is on some kind of social welfare, even twenty euros a week would be a help.


Frequent Poster
You're in your thirties and have net wealth of 255k all in, excluding civil service pension, ie you're in very good health financially for a single person.
You're obviously quite good when it comes to finances in order to be in this position, so you need to give yourself more credit there and be confident enough to continue doing what you've been doing.
Stay in job as it's a very good salary and one you'd regret losing. As others have said, the change of scenery 3 days a week may be a good thing. Forget about AVCs... No need for them right now. And then see what you can get from ex as every little helps.
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Frequent Poster
Hi Mary, first thing I would say to you is.. take a breath. You've been through an awful lot, your separation is very new, you know you are on unpaid leave from work till May but you have savings and your own home. You need to give yourself credit that with all you have been through you still have enough presence of mind to be able to sit down and consider your financial position.

Your baby is still so young and it is very easy to be caught in the idea that all your time is caught up with being a mother. Returning to a 3 day week is doable even if your head is telling you right now that it seems impossible. I have been in a very similar situation to you and thankfully out the other side, so keep your head up it does get better. There will always be bad days but you can do this.

If you are currently meeting your outgoings - mortgage, bills etc, then I wouldn't be changing anything right now. You've gotten this far in good shape. I would be looking at what a possible return to work in May will look like, by that I mean what are the options for child care, will you do 3 full days or split them across the week. I'm also a civil servant and have worked all kinds of patterns to make things work with the kids - mornings only, 2.5 days, 3 days, 4 days :). I'm now back full time, all be it from home - with secondary school and primary school age kids. What I've learnt is things have a way of working out if you can step back and consider the options. You have time to look at the mortgage/pension later. I would suggest you consider income protection particularly if you're in a Union.

Re the depression - its hard and can make seeing the bigger picture harder. But you've come on here looking for advice and that's a massive step. As long as you can keep doing that - ie asking questions, seeking help you will get through this.

And finally while I completely agree that both parents should support the child - sometimes its not worth the fight or the toll on your own mental health. Again in a similar situation I've taken the view that as much as possible I will cover "everything" for my kids, but on a regular basis I seek support from their Dad in a calm reasonable manner. I know I'm unlikely to every get it but if I do it will be an unexpected bonus. Is it fair.... no, but sometime life isn't fair and you just have to get on with it.


Frequent Poster
..sometimes its not worth the fight or the toll on your own mental health
Yet another reason why our Family Courts need to be overhauled. There are far simpler ways of ensuring children are properly maintained by their parents, our current system is not only convoluted, time consuming and adversarial - but many primary carers simply give up on it altogether.

Whilst I appreciate that it can be more than you might want to do at this time; in truth it's not your money, it's your child's and they are entitled to it.


Frequent Poster
Echo comments above re the role, part time roles are hard enough to come by and its a great salary.

On your current entitlements- check for Tax rebate for prior year, if you were earning the first few months to April/May you could be due some monies back.
Also are you claiming child benefit - €140 per month: Child Benefit (