I don't know about you, but my lesson(s) in financial literacy came about when I was staring down about $100k in student loan debt after college graduation. Sure I understood the concept of money, saving it, and had a rough idea about budgeting: but no one really sat me down to take me through it.
I made a deliberate decision to teach my kids about money. With my oldest just turning 5, I started looking into ways we could start having age-appropriate conversations about it.
Here's what I have so far, and some things I'm going to be trying out this year. And if you have a daughter and are set on empowering the next generation of women (aka, your daughters) with financial literacy, save this list!
1. Reimagine the piggy bank. My daughter is already obsessed with coins, and she likes putting them into a little ceramic swan bank. This Christmas, one of my gifts was a cool coin-sorting gadget that helps you organize your coins and wrap them. Not only is this fun + cool to watch, but she will start to learn about the different coins and is old enough to help me wrap and sort them - which brings us to our next point.
2. Field trips. My husband already brings our daughter on errands to the grocery store or Home Depot, and while we can talk about money there, ("we need to pay for this with money,") we can also take a fun trip to the bank with the newly rolled coins that she can exchange for dollars, or put into her savings account. We can talk about what we are doing with the bank teller, she can hand over her money and see how her coins could be made into something bigger that she could buy something with on our next run to the store.
3. Start with an allowance. She has started wanting to help out around the house, especially with her little sister. While my ultimate goal is to get her to pick up after herself (!) we have already started with setting the table, emptying the dishwasher and putting dishes away, and even helping her sister in the bath. This year, I'm going to start giving an allowance for easy things she can do around the house - likely in coins too.
4. Using their own money. It's so tempting (and fun!) to just buy them everything they want, or didn't even know that they wanted for holidays and birthdays. But as they are growing their money and start asking for toys that they want, it's a great learning opportunity to bring them to the toy store (have them bring their money) and pick something out to buy, or that they want and can't afford yet. You can then explain how they can earn more money, or offer to buy the basic level while they earn the difference for the most complex.
5. Watch Mama work. One of the things I'm constantly doing and saying is that Mama needs to go to work today, Mama works to make money, Mama is going to work at the office on the train, etc. She also sees me working on my computer if she's home sick - and one day I hope to bring her to my office so she can see Mama in action. I want her to understand that I am working and contributing to making the money we need to live in our home, buy our food and clothes. I also manage our household budget and pay our bills, which I'll share with her when the time comes.
Do you have any tips for raising your daughters to be comfortable talking about money? Please let me know!
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