Money was not a topic of conversation when I was growing up. Even though my father worked in finance, we did not discuss money. This was partly due to the old-fashioned belief that men were the breadwinners, and women shouldn't be burdened with handling
money. I never learned about budgets or savings or compound interest. I didn't understand these valuable lessons until well into adulthood. Had I understood, I think I could have avoided many financial missteps and been in a much better place financially.
It's important for everyone to be financially literate but even more so for women. Women still earn less than their male peers over the course of their lifetime1. Women, on average, outlive their husbands by six years2. And the most
serious issue – women are more likely to suffer financial abuse at the hands of their partner3.
What can you do right now to ensure that the girls in your life grow up equipped to be financially independent?
- Start with an allowance. Earning an allowance is the groundwork for understanding the value of money.
- Budget early. With an allowance, begin budgeting lessons by having her allocate her allowance into different categories. These could be simple or complex, depending on the age of the girl.
- Pay herself first. This was the most beneficial yet hardest lesson I learned. As part of her budget, have her establish savings where she "pays herself first."
- Open a savings account. Visit your local TTCU branch and have her open an account. Discuss compound interest. Make deposits regularly and make an event of it.
- Play games that involve money. Monopoly and The Game of Life are great learning tools.
- Older girls can be a part of the family budget meeting. Explain how you distribute your funds and why. Discuss your short- and long-term goals and your plan to achieve them.
- Take advantage of online financial literacy programs. TTCU offers FoolProof financial literacy, a free resource available to all students.
- Discuss credit scores. Explain what factors impact a credit score and the benefits of maintaining a good credit rating.
- Talk openly about money. Take the mystery out of money and finances.
These simple steps will help the girls in your life become financially confident women. As one of my mentors once said, "always understand the money." If you need help getting started, stop by your local TTCU branch and visit with one of our Certified Financial Counselors today. They are always available to help.
1 The narrowing, but persistent, gender gap in pay - Pew Research Center
2 Female life expectancy - World Health Organization
3 Nearly Two-Thirds of Millennials are Victims of Financial Abuse or Infidelity – Double Than Previously Believed - CentSai