Family finances: How to raise money-savvy girls

I recently promised that I would weigh in on how to raise money-smart girls. That prompted an email from Anne Chernish, a certified financial planner in Ithaca, N.Y., who volunteered her daughter Sydney, 32, as an example.

When Sydney was about 3 years old, Anne says she began “dropping little hints” about money into her conversations with her daughter. For example, she would ask Sydney to think about where her money came from and what she did with it. As Sydney grew, Anne encouraged her to write thank-you notes for cash gifts, earn money by doing small jobs and save money from her allowance. By the time Sydney was 10 or 12, she and her mom were talking about stocks.

Now a brand manager for Diageo, Sydney has “the perfect financial plan,” says her mother. She saves money automatically every month, maximizes her retirement plans at work and is fully invested in the stock market. Says Anne, “The key with kids is keeping it short, not getting into too much detail, and repeating.”

Small lessons have a big impact, and parents — and grandparents — play a key role in teaching those lessons. Adults often feel awkward talking about money with kids. But the earlier you start, and the more you can make money matters a natural part of everyday discussions, the easier the conversation.

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