Not Discussing Money with Your Daughter? 4 Good Reasons You Should Be
For most parents it’s normal to protect kids from subjects they feel are too complex for them and sometimes even more so with their daughters. When kids ask questions about how much money we make, and why we can’t buy them that new toy, it feels personal, and our instinct is to distract them with something and change the subject. That’s what we should be doing, right?
Not really. There are many reasons why you can and should start talking about money with your daughter as early as when she’s 5 years old, and we have four important ones you may not have considered:
1) They are like sponges, ready and willing to learn!
If you avoid introducing money concepts to her because you think she won’t understand them, think again. Developmentally, from ages 5-6, your daughter’s attention span is increasing; she’s starting to understand concepts such as time, learning the importance of rules, and gaining new skills every day to help her become more self-sufficient. More importantly, she’s eager to explore and learn, which makes it a perfect time to introduce the basics of the topics that are relevant and appropriate for her age.
It’s great news that she is capable of learning such concepts early, but even better news is that she wants to! A 2013 Girl Scout Research Institute report found that 90% of girls between 8-17 think it is important for them to learn how to manage money and 87% believe that it’s important to set financial goals.
2) It instills a different kind of confidence… and it saves you money
“Only 20% of women feel well prepared to make wise financial decisions”
Girls’ financial insecurity is a largely ignored topic throughout their childhood and teenage years as a result of us not realizing how much our daughters encounter money and finance-related subjects every day, from overhearing you talk about it with your spouse, to the never-ending sales and offers that surround us.
By exposing our daughters to the subject from an early age, and by continuing and expanding on the conversation, not only are we nurturing her financial confidence by equipping her with the knowledge and skillset needed, we are also instilling other important habits that her future self will thank you for. And, it doesn’t hurt if she saves you some money along the way by becoming savvier around her own saving and spending decisions.
3) Our daughters are at an automatic disadvantage.
We still have a long way to go to achieve gender equality. Nowhere is that clearer than when we look at the challenges our girls face. When it comes to learning about money and finances, boys receive more attention, motivation and mentoring to become financially successful. This pattern continues well into adulthood, and because girls and women are lagging behind, only 20% of women feel well prepared to make wise financial decisions according to a 2014-2015 Research Study on Financial Experience and Behaviors Among Women conducted by Prudential.
To add to the stress, today a gender-based wage gap still exists, with women being paid less than men for the same jobs. This becomes more challenging over the long-term, since women spend less time in the workforce to raise kids, and because women are blessed to outlive men by an average of 7 years, they have to work so much harder to save for retirement.
Sure, it seems like a lifetime away before your daughter enters her adult life, but nothing but good can come out giving her a head start with early financial awareness.
4) We want our daughters to be empowered and have the freedom to choose the lives they want.
What parent doesn’t want to give their daughter all they can and provide them with a better life growing up? We all dream of that for our girls.
An early financial education will provide our daughters with knowledge, tools and skills that will help her create possibilities to have as many options and choices in life as any financially empowered adult women should. And what a beautiful gift that is to our little ones.