A financial services executive once told me a story about two business school grads she was interviewing for the same job. One candidate was a young man, the other, was a young woman. The two were identical on paper: Same age, grades, experience, etc. When asked what they had in mind for salary, the young man gave her a number, the young woman said, “Whatever you have in mind.”
When it comes to money, the world is a very different place for men and women. Mothers are challenged to help their daughters develop a set of financial values in a world where they are bombarded with media messages that have them focus more on their looks than their souls and minds.
Our financial circumstances have a lot more to do with our choices about money and wealth building than the actual amount that comes through our lives. It’s human nature to use our resources to create ‘normal’ lives. If you look at the ways in which society defines ‘normal’ for women, you’ll figure out pretty quickly what your daughter may be thinking when it comes to how she should use money; what she should spend it on, and her ability to make it.
It’s up to mothers to intervene and stop the power this conditioning has when it comes to their daughter’s financial lives. A study by researchers at Northwestern University found that women often get charged more for auto repairs than men, but those gender differences disappear when the woman quotes an expected price for the repair.
It’s up to mothers to make sure that our daughters are informed consumers. It’s up to us to make sure that we don’t buy into the stereotypes and profiles that often define our economic experiences.
Center yourself in the love you have for your child and ask yourself:
- What are the five most important things I want my child to know about money? Think about what you want her to know about spending, saving, investing, and standing up for her worth.
- What changes do I have to make in my own life to walk the walk?
- This isn’t always easy, and you should enlist the help of a loved one to help you stay on track. Who can you trust to be our child’s financial godparent and hold you accountable?
In addition, give your daughter experiences that will help her create a strong relationship with money. There are apps like the free Kids Money, where your child can learn about saving, spending, and goals. There’s also the award-winning Savings Spree. For $2.99, your child can learn about earning money, impulse spending, and entrepreneurship.
Helping your daughter build a foundation that supports financial well-being can feel like a huge challenge, but the love you have for your child will provide you with the motivation you need to give her what she needs.