The mother-daughter relationship is a complex one. From the daughter's birth, this strong bond forms between two people who are so much alike they can finish each other's sentences – yet different enough to cause a little friction.
It should be no surprise that many of these relationships develop into ones of deep friendship. Mom often becomes her daughter's go-to ally, trusted confidant and advisor.
Mothers and daughters seem to talk about everything – boys and men, fashion, health, entertainment, restaurants, and the list goes on. But one topic that they don't seem to discuss is the one they really should be talking about – money and personal finances. And, mom is the go-to person on that subject.
Historically, it's been women who have handled the family's day-to-day finances – managing the budget, paying bills, balancing the checkbook, and purchasing groceries. Daughters view their moms, whether they're single, working mothers, stay-at-home moms, or corporate executives, as the family's Chief Financial Officer.
This Mother's Day, let's enjoy ourselves, but also let's resolve to provide our daughters with the financial knowledge necessary for them to achieve a secure future. Here's how to get started.
Talk to her. Whether she's six or 16, it's never too early or too late to start a conversation about personal finances. The younger your child is when you start instilling good financial behaviors the better, but anyone at any age can turn his or her financial future around.
For elementary school-aged daughters, begin by having her earn money for doing chores. Go to the local bank together and open a savings account in her name. She can deposit her money at the end of each month.
Begin teaching her important financial concepts, such as paying yourself first, balancing spending and saving, and explaining how credit actually works. Help her learn how to know when what she wants to buy is a need versus a want. This is when she'll gain the discipline to grow her savings.
Financial education is an ongoing process. As she grows older, begin introducing more complex financial concepts. By high school, your daughter should have a basic understanding of investing.
Be a good role model. Follow the same advice that you are giving your daughter. Show her your monthly budget so that she can see how you track income and expenses. This will be helpful for her to remember when she's out on her own.
If you're visiting your financial services representative, take your daughter along. The more you expose her to good financial planning, the more likely she will incorporate it into her life as an adult.
Tell her she's smart. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you can't assume she's hearing it from anyone else. Schools still aren't encouraging girls in math and science. If a young girl thinks she can't do math or her personal finances, she won't try. We can't let this kind of thinking take root in our daughters' minds. We have to break down all barriers to learning.
Tell her to be financially independent. Here's the most important piece of advice. Tell her she is responsible for her financial future and she can be financially independent. The rescue mentality of
a girl waiting for a prince to save her is a bad financial strategy, and needs to become a thing of the past. Our daughters are the heroines of their own lives, and they will be the ones to achieve their financial independence.
When it comes to a daughter's financial wellbeing, you could say mother knows best.
LiSA Initiative (www.lisainitiative.com) is a powerful grassroots movement, created by First Financial Security, Inc. (FFS), to address the financial concerns that women from all walks of life experience every day
in this country. Debbie Gerlicher (www.firstfinancialsecurity.com/debbie-gerlicher) is Chair of the LiSA Initiative and Co-CEO of First Financial Security. A graduate of Willamette University with a degree in political science, Gerlicher has been a long-time advocate for financial literacy, especially for women. Learn more about the National Financial Educators Council at www.financialeducatorscouncil.org.
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