Children need to learn as much about money as possible, starting as early as possible. For girls, however, it is even more important.
Although this is the year 2022, women and men are certainly not being treated as equals. The wage gap remains a reality – in many cases women still get paid less for doing the same work as their male colleagues – and there are still fewer women than men in senior positions in companies. In many households, women do most of the unpaid work, even if they have full-time jobs of their own, and many men (and women!) still believe that men know more about money than women, simply because they are men.
There are clearly many mindsets that need changing! And that change has to start in our homes with what we teach our daughters and girls about money and finances.
Too many women tell themselves – and their children and partners – that they are not good with money, or don’t understand it, or prefer to leave all that stuff to their men or a financial advisor. This attitude towards money does far more damage to your future financial health than not being able to calculate interest on a loan.
Here are some ideas on how to help your daughters develop a healthy money mindset (and change your own as well).
Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon, money contributor to the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia, suggests we teach our girls to have their money WITs about them:
W – you are worth it. It’s crucial to start here. You deserve the best – to be treated well, to get opportunities you have earned and to be paid accordingly.
I – This stands for both be independent and invest. You should never put the responsibility for your future in someone else’s hands. Secure your best life… yourself. And the way you do that is by starting to save and invest early. We have to teach our girls and daughters to not depend on a man for their financial wellbeing. That is how women become trapped in abusive relationships.
T – Target goals. Money is for spending, just not all at once. By setting yourself targets and goals, and then changing your financial habits to achieve them, you can spend your money on things that will change your life for the better.
The WIT acronym will go a long way to instil a healthy mindset about money.
Now let’s look at the money skills your daughters should master:
Budgeting – your budget gives your money guidance and direction, and helps you to stay on top of your finances.
Expense tracking – you have to know where your money goes in order to make better spending decisions. We call this fixing the leaky bucket.
Saving – both to build up an emergency fund and to buy something significant.
Understanding the difference between needs and wants – this skill puts you in control of your spending decisions, and helps you to budget better.
Understanding how to use credit responsibly – bad debt can destroy your life while good debt can help you achieve life-changing goals.
Being comfortable talking about money – money conversations with family members, friends and even your boss at work can help to solve issues before they become big problems.
Knowing how to set financial goals and how to track progress towards achieving them – goals can be immensely inspiring; it is worth investing time and effort in them.
Continuously learning about money and how to get better at letting it work for you – this is all about building confidence and taking control of your finances. Money isn’t only for “clever” people (or men!) – we all can and should keep on learning about financial management.