Dear Carrie, I’m worried about my daughter’s lack of financial know-how. What can I do to help her?
It’s true that financial education needs to be a higher priority in our nation’s schools, but the good news is that there are six straightforward steps we can take to get all of our kids on the right track. Talk equally to your daughters and sons about money. Our studies show that parents are more likely to talk to girls about short-term concepts like budgeting, and to boys about long-term planning and investing. We need to change that. Make money talk a part of everyday life. Whether you’re saving for a major goal or deciding on a purchase, share that process with your children. Discussing money openly can set your kids up to make informed financial decisions later in life. Make equal pay for equal work a rule at home. Out in the real world, women still earn about 80 cents to a man’s dollar. Unequal pay starts earlier than you might think. Research shows girls sometimes get paid less than boys for household chores. Be sure not to divide chores by gender or value one type of work over another. And have a conversation about the value of different type of jobs. Encourage financial responsibility early on. Once your kids have money of their own, they need to learn how to manage it. Whether that money is from an allowance, gifts, or a job, help them set goals to spend and save responsibly. Opens a savings account, or even an investment account, so they can get hands-on experience. Talk honestly about the obstacles women face. Even before your daughter enters the workforce, talk to her about the wage gap and potential inequalities. Encourage her to research salaries and to be her own advocate when presenting her skills and expectations to employers. With women generally living longer but earning less and being in the workforce for fewer years, it’s critical that they save for their future, especially when it comes to retirement. Finally, set a good example. Kids learn as much by what we do as by what we say. The example you set sends a powerful message about gender roles around money. You can check out SchwabMoneyWise.com, and tap into other financial education resources, such as books, games, or some helpful teaching tools. Here’s the takeaway. Teach your children that regardless of gender, they have the capability and the responsibility to understand and control their finances. Now is the time to help them develop the skills they will need to thrive through every stage of their lives. For more tips check out my Ask Carrie column.