Babies and bringing home the Bacon with Kickass Single Mom Emma Johnson

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Emma Johnson, Author of The Kickass Single Mom: Be Financially Independent, Discover Your Sexiest Self and Raise Fabulous Happy Children and the force behind the Wealthy Single Mommy website shares the dramatic story of how a tragic accident led to the end of her marriage.

Then, after a total financial collapse with two children in tow, she turned it all around while building a multi-six figure self-driven business. 

In Emma’s money story you will learn:

-How her so-called perfect life came unraveled with one phone call

-How Emma became financially independent after her divorce

-Emma’s money strategy for single parents

-How to find your inner strength as a single parent

-How Emma changed her mental focus and made $100,000 freelance writing

 

In Emma’s lesson you will learn:

-Her inspiring advice for single parents

-How to balance commitment to marriage and financial independence

-The importance of supporting other single parents

 

In Emma’s money tip you will learn:

-How to value all that you have

-How gratitude can help you be financially secure

-Balancing need and wants using gratitude

 

In my take you will learn:

-The importance of having a backup plan for life

-The best things you can do to support the single parents in your life

-Why hiring single parents can be a great business strategy

Episode Links

The Kickass Single Mom book

NY Post article on Emma Johnson

The Doctors featuring Emma Johnson

Fox and Friends

Emma’s Like a Mother podcast

Emma’s blog WealthySingleMommy.com

 

Follow Emma Johnson!

Twitter @johnsonemma

Facebook: WealthySingleMommy

Instagram @WealthySingleMommy

 
Emma Johnson, Author of The Kickass Single Mom: Be Financially Independent, Discover Your Sexiest Self and Raise Fabulous Happy Children and the force behind the Wealthy Single Mommy website shares the dramatic story of how a tragic accident led to the end of her marriage. In this Financial Grownup podcast episode Emma shares how she became financially independent after her divorce. #FinancialIndependence #FinancialFreedom #Author

Emma Johnson, Author of The Kickass Single Mom: Be Financially Independent, Discover Your Sexiest Self and Raise Fabulous Happy Children and the force behind the Wealthy Single Mommy website shares the dramatic story of how a tragic accident led to the end of her marriage. In this Financial Grownup podcast episode Emma shares how she became financially independent after her divorce. #FinancialIndependence #FinancialFreedom #Author

 

Transcription

Emma Johnson:
He fell off of a cliff on a tiny island where they had no medical service and suffered a traumatic brain injury, and he was like, "You need to get on the next plane to Athens," and I had a nursing baby and I was on the plane. It was like real life. That set off the next ten years of my life.

Bobbi Rebell:
You're listening to Financial Grownup with me, certified financial planner, Bobbi Rebell, author of How to Be a Financial Grownup. But you know what? Being a grownup is really hard, especially when it comes to money, but it's okay. We're gonna get there together. I'm gonna bring you one money story from a financial grownup, one lesson, and then my take on how you can make it your own. We got this.

Bobbi Rebell:
Hey, friends. Before we start this episode, I just want to thank all of you who have been sending in good wishes and supporting the show by subscribing and rating and reviewing on iTunes. It truly means so much to me, and all your help spreading the word is amazing. Okay, let's talk about today's guest. We all think that it is just not gonna happen to us because we work hard, we put together the perfect life, but then sometimes something out of our control happens and our life changes forever, sometimes in an instant. In the case of my guest, it was her husband literally falling off a cliff that put her perfect life into a tailspin.

Bobbi Rebell:
Her story will at first shock you and then inspire you. Emma Johnson is the author of the best-selling book, The Kickass Single Mom: Be Financially Independent, Discover Your Sexiest Self, and Raise Fabulous, Happy Children. I love the book so much. You can even see my endorsement right on the back cover of the book, so check it out. You may also know her website, wealthysinglemommy.com. Now, I am not a single mom, but I have to tell you, her advice is truly universal. It is about owning your decisions and being financially self-sufficient. That's for everyone. True story: when I needed career advice, Emma was at the top of my list. She gets it done. She knows what she's talking about. Here is Emma Johnson. Emma Johnson, financial grownup, welcome to the show.

Emma Johnson:
Hey, hey, Bobbi. Glad to be here.

Bobbi Rebell:
So, what is up for 2018, my dear?

Emma Johnson:
Oh, my gosh. Well, I had came off of 2017 where I watched my book, The Kickass Single Mom-

Bobbi Rebell:
Best seller, by the way.

Emma Johnson:
Best seller, and it was named by the New York Post as a must-read, and I was on The Doctors and I was on Fox & Friends and it was all really exciting. It was a very, very, very exciting year.

Bobbi Rebell:
Did you lose count of media hits? You were everywhere.

Emma Johnson:
Yeah, we did close to 200. That's pretty awesome.

Bobbi Rebell:
Oh, my gosh.

Emma Johnson:
So, it was very fun. It was very exciting and glamorous. I will not lie. And now I'm still pushing out the book, but it's onto new things. I'm actually talking to my agent this week about next book deal and pushing out what I do, which is really kind of grounded in my blog, Wealthy Single Mommy, where, as you know Bobbi, I talk about money, career, dating, sex and parenting for single moms.

Bobbi Rebell:
Which brings us to the money story that you have brought to share. It's a doozy.

Emma Johnson:
Yeah, it is. I always tell the kind of skeleton version because it is still so painful. For all practical purposes, I was a stay-at-home mom. I've always been a writer, journalist. I did a little freelance writing when I had my baby, and I was married. I was married to a nice person, and he made good money, and I was like, oh, this is the dream. I've got the nice guy and got the nice money. I got the nice apartment. I got the beautiful kid. And compared to growing up with a broke single mom myself, I was like, oh, I did it. I won. I won life.

Bobbi Rebell:
It'll never happen to you.

Emma Johnson:
Yeah. I was like 31 years old, like it's all good. Check, life. I did it. And (bleep) happens, and (bleep) totally happened to my family. My husband was working in Greece, and he literally fell off of a cliff. He fell off of a cliff on a tiny island where they had no medical service and suffered a traumatic brain injury. I got a call from his boss, and he was like, "You need to get on the next plane to Athens," and I had a nursing baby and I was on the plane. It was like real life. That set off the next ten years of my life now ... well, eight years. He miraculously survived. And fast forward to today, I can tell you that it was a success story. I mean, he's still struggling, but back to work. He's a full time dad. But it immediately completely destabilized our marriage.

Emma Johnson:
Next thing you know I'm pregnant again. I own that one. I own that pregnancy. And I had a baby, a completely destabilized husband, and I was totally financially dependent on him. I could just see it. I could see the whole thing. I didn't know what was happening. It was this time of complete lack of control and turmoil, but I'm like, okay, this is gonna be on me. I'm gonna have to run this whole show by myself. I just knew that. What ended up happening, we split up, and now two tiny babies. And I had gotten some nice house support for about a year. But the whole time I'm like, okay, I'm gonna take this while it's coming, but I know it's not gonna last.

Emma Johnson:
Looking back, I don't know. You know what? There's ... whether it's a higher being or an inner strength, but people have it, women definitely have it, and moms 100% have that thing, that killer instinct where it's like, "I'm making this (bleep) work." I did, and I just started making money, and I paid my bills. I took care of my kids. I put them in childcare full time, and I still spent time with them. I was like I am not missing out on this amazing time with these babies. I remember the year before I had my daughter, the second year into my freelance writing business, I was like I'm gonna make $100,000 this year. This was ten years ago, and I did it. I was making-

Bobbi Rebell:
That's a lot of money, freelance writing.

Emma Johnson:
It was, and it was just my second year in business, and then I was like, oh, wow. I started to realize how I had chosen, unconsciously, unconsciously, to hold myself back professionally and financially during my marriage because my husband ... he's progressive, liberal, feminist person, change-all-the-diapers, get in the ... He was that guy, but he was also the other guy. He's southern European and he's macho. He pulled out the chair for me at the restaurant. He was a macho dude in a lot of ways that I liked a lot. I chose that, and he chose that, and we had this unconscious, unspoken agreement between us, which was he was gonna be the man, and I was going to be the woman, and that part of that agreement meant that I would always earn less.

Emma Johnson:
When I started making more money, and it wasn't so hard and it wasn't so long, and he was saying those things about how he liked the idea of me being dependent on him, and I was like you know what? I had held myself back, and (bleep) that. I am blowing this out of the water. It was very humbling to me because I thought I knew myself, I thought I knew him, I thought I was aware. And I was ... Remember, I was making goof money. It wasn't like I was a fully dependent stay-at-home wife from the minute I met him. It was all these very subtle ways that women, I had come to understand, do hold ourselves back because it's hard. We want to be married, and we want to be engaged with men and in love and committed, but we also want to be successful and live our full selves, and that's painful. It's hard, and we're working that out. We are working that out.

Bobbi Rebell:
So, Emma, what is the lesson that you want to share?

Emma Johnson:
Just go for it because you will never be your full self until you are financially independent, and that doesn't mean you can't be in a partnership and that you have collective investments and a collective life, but knowing that you can always leave, knowing that you can always take care of yourself and your babies without anybody else, without your parents, without a man, without the government. That you can do it on your own is power that you will never experience any other way. If you're there, own it and love it and pull other women up with you. Maybe you're not quite there yet, but recognize in yourself that that is important.

Bobbi Rebell:
So, give us a money tip, something that you use in your everyday life, something very specific that everyone can incorporate in their lives right now.

Emma Johnson:
Gratitude. Make it part of the fabric of your life. You're eating something; people don't have something to eat. Your apartment is warm when it's freezing outside. You have babies that you can hug and cuddle when other people are dying to have a baby and they can't. You are so blessed and grateful, and if you are constantly feeling that and recognizing it, it's almost impossible to buy frivolous things or overspend or take for granted your money because you are so grateful and a really responsible steward of your money.

Bobbi Rebell:
That's really good advice because we all tend to focus, I know I'm certainly guilty of this, of what we want, what we feel we need, and need is very discretionary. What we perceive as a need ... We really have first world problems here. We don't need to go to Whole Foods for another grocery shopping trip or whatever. We're good. I have heat in my apartment. My children are healthy. My husband's healthy. We're all good, so we all have to have a little more gratitude. Thank you so much.

Emma Johnson:
Thank you. This is wonderful.

Bobbi Rebell:
Okay, friends, here's my take on what Emma had to say. Financial grownup tip number one: have a life plan B. We all have visions of whatever we think we want. In Emma's case, it was a traditional family where the man makes more money and the women earn less. But life is, as we know, super messy. We listen to stories like Emma's and we sympathize. But I'm telling you, very few newlyweds out there think this could happen to them. Whatever they perceive as their ideal, we all believe we're gonna get there and hopefully we all will, but unexpected things happen, not just a divorce, but even a spouse losing a job. Things happen. You suddenly have to be the one driving the family income when you don't expect it, and, again, that could even be gender neutral, so important to be paying attention. You should not spend your life, of course, dwelling on that. You should live your life, but it can happen.

Bobbi Rebell:
I remember I was engaged in my twenties hearing that a friend of a friend was getting divorced. She'd only been married a couple of years, and I could thought, oh, that can never happen to me. And then you know what? It did. I was divorced by age 30. I didn't have kids, but it was still pretty unexpected and pretty complicated. It changed my whole view on the fact that I now needed to know that even if I wasn't always the primary breadwinner, it was something that could happen and I needed to have a plan. Now, that plan can be a step up in your earnings. It can also be being able to know that you can downsize or shift resources, maybe move to a less expensive area, whatever. But don't believe that it will never happen to you. It can happen. Live your life, though. Don't obsess.

Bobbi Rebell:
Financial grownup tip number two: reach out to your single mom or dad friends and offer to help in some way. Maybe babysit their kids while they're going on a job interview, or need to get some work done for a client or for their job, or just so they could have a little break. You could set them up on a date, maybe treat them to a day out, whether it's a spa day, going to a show, or a basketball game. Whatever they're into, whatever you're into. Just reach out. Include them in a dinner party, even if everyone else is a couple, or just call and ask how they are, how you can help them out. If you are an employer, consider hiring a single mom or dad. They are going to be incredibly efficient and hard working employees. You will get amazing value by having them on your team. We are all in this together.

Bobbi Rebell:
And single moms, if you are one of the few that have not already read Emma's book, please check it out. Kickass Single Mom. It is amazing; complete with my blurb on the back cover. And, of course, check out her website, wealthysinglemommy.com. She also has a Facebook group that is flourishing and a tremendous resource. Thank you all for listening to this latest episode of the Financial Grownup Podcast. The support we have been getting has been the best. I am so excited to keep bringing you stories and lessons from my financial grownup guests. If you like the show, please subscribe, take a moment to rate and review the show. Anywhere is good, but the best place for people to discover us is through Apple Podcasts or iTunes ratings and reviews. Those really help. And please consider telling your friends and sharing on social media as well. I always love hearing Emma's advice. I hope you did too, and that we all got one step closer to being financial grownups. Financial Grownup with Bobbi Rebell is edited and produced by Steve Stewart, and is a BRK Media production.