I didn’t learn financial responsibility until my late 20’s and even then it was a struggle. You’re supposed to have your stuff together in your 20’s but that point is moot at the moment. I strongly believe financial literacy should not only start from home but also very young. At what age…? well that is debatable. Is five too young? Anyway growing up I hadn’t a clue about budgets, income and expenses! let’s not forget those. I can honestly say I was only concerned about getting my Toys R’ US check and blowing my $100.00 (wait? what! $100!) yes honey I was rolling in it. So I took my well earned money and spent it on whatever trend was passing though.
I have not made that mistake with my own girls and I have made an extra effort to pass along any financial literacy tips I have learned the hard way to my students as well.
So Ma here are some ways you can teach your girls…money matters…
Respect the Green
Money plays a very important role in our lives. There’s no denying that but our children, our girls must be taught from young ( I say 5) that money, the dollar bill you’ll has value; in the truest sense and it must be respected. While the value of money, the green backs, is an effective tool, if our girls are not taught financial literacy their ticket to financial freedom is lost with their first job. Unfortunately many girls view money by its ability to purchase “stuff” mostly of what they don’t need; this is wasteful. Whether this is on a $2 piece of candy or those pair of jeans they just had to have for $200. Teach that money should not be spent without thought. Respecting the green given or earned means respecting yourself. Empowering girls financially means having them understand that money does not define us but it helps to defend us.
The words “financially responsible” rings in my head at the moment and right after that “live within your means”. But what does this mean to our mini mes. How does this translate to our younger female generation? Well the quick answer spend less than you have. Believe me when I tell you I have two extremes with my daughters. My oldest is as frugal as they get and my second daughter… well she never comes back with change from the store… still working on that. It goes a little something like this after returning from the store:
Me: Is there any change?
Me: Did you… get anything on sale?
Daughter: Was I supposed to?
So on that note, it is a learning process, girls need to learn financial responsibility; understanding that money doesn’t actually flow non stop and that they should learn to track what is being spent and look for best deal.
Budget. It’s never too early to learn how to budget. Is five too young? First teach the definition of a budget and its importance. Help them to set financial goals and be realistic. Your daughter may want that makeup set or that pair of the latest jeans but can they afford it. I learned this the hard way. I, as I hang my head in shame, bought and bought and never stopped to recognize what I was teaching my children. I have opened bank accounts for my younger children and now when they ask for something I ask them if they can afford it. One lesson: pay yourself first. When you get some money, take out, off the top, money for savings. Savings should be considered a bill. There are so many apps out there now to track spending that it should simplify the mechanics but the lesson must come from you. Definitely try the envelope system, it’s actually a great method to start before introducing a bank account.
It’s basic but it still needs mentioning. Ensure your girls know that math isn’t just for homework. That it actually applies to our lives as well. Very early we lose many girls when it comes to learning math. We can’t let that happen. Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. I am not sure how many of you still ‘balance a checkbook’ but it’s a great tool to use to help them ‘math’ it out to financial literacy. Make it fun.
Let’s Play with Money
Ok not actual money because I happen to think money is filthy but grab some math games. Is Monopoly still popular? Grab that. There’s also Payday, Buy it Right, Thrive Time for Teens, and one I’m looking to try Act your Wage. There are many more, playing these games should give your girls some seat time in the quest to financial literacy. The goal: financial acumen.
How have you taught your girls financial literacy? I would love some advice as well.