Mothers to Daughters: Passing Down Financial Savvy to a New Generation

by Kelli Sauvé

As a little girl, I remember sitting at the kitchen table with my mom as she organized the monthly bills, wrote checks, and sealed the envelopes for our monthly trip around town to deliver payments directly to each company. She preferred this instead of mailing the payments, and it was something we did every month together. Back then we didn’t have a credit card, and there wasn’t a bill that we couldn’t deliver payment to locally. I learned the importance of paying bills regularly and on time.

It’s much different today. With the advent of the internet, online banking, and the over-abundance of “buying on credit” options, many (if not most) transactions are being processed automatically without physically observing them take place. And there are also many more ways to get into financial trouble.

So how are today’s moms passing down their financial savvy to a new generation?

I believe it starts with a basic statement that we as Mormon women have heard in counsel for many years: live within your means. As stated in the All Is Safely Gathered In pamphlet, “Spending less money than you make is essential to your financial security.”

It has also been suggested by financial experts to live below your means. Yes, living within our means is a big challenge already, but what if you took it a step further by sacrificing just a bit more to save for the future? This, along with the following suggestions, may help you teach your daughter important lessons about money and self-reliance as she prepares to be out on her own.

Educate yourself and stay informed.

  • Take an online money management course to learn the basics (see https://www.lds.org/topics/family-finances?lang=eng ).
  • Subscribe to a personal finance magazine and familiarize yourself with current financial products, services, and trends.
  • Listen to news reports regarding money and finances.
  • Research financial topics that interest you.
  • Keep your family’s financial documents and information up to date and in a secure place.
  • Plan family home evening lessons centered on financial management.

Talk to your daughter about money.

  • Be open with your daughter about money to introduce her to financial topics, increase her knowledge, and spark an interest in information that will be an important part of her life.
  • Discuss current financial events in the news such as predatory lending, the housing market, identity theft/security breaches/money scams, student loan rates, jobs reports and unemployment, medical costs, retirement issues, insurance coverage and premiums, employer benefits, consumer debt, auto loans, investing and many more.
  • Familiarize your daughter with these concepts now so that she will have a better understanding when it’s her turn to navigate through her own big financial decisions.

Teach by example.

  • When your daughter sees you making wise financial choices, it lets her know you care about your family’s financial well-being.
  • Paying an honest tithe and generous fast offering shows your faith and commitment to the Lord.
  • Teach her about cost savings at the grocery store when comparing similar products. Take this opportunity to show her how money can be saved by purchasing a store brand rather than a name brand or by comparing price per ounce.
  • Teach her about delayed gratification. It may be difficult if you see something you really want, but it can be done! Just because an item is on sale doesn’t mean you NEED it right now. By showing some restraint and making a conscious decision to walk away, you will teach her the importance of making thoughtful purchases and how doing so will help her to distinguish between needs and wants and may help her avoid financial trouble in the future.

Get specific.

  • Teach your daughter the basics of saving and investing and the benefits of starting now.
  • Discuss her educational and career aspirations to help her understand the costs of different education programs and possible salary expectations.
  • Teach her about marriage and money and the costs of raising children.

Be supportive.

  • Listen to your daughter’s financial questions carefully, provide support, and encourage financial independence. Your support will give her the confidence to take control of her own financial decisions and help her to become more self-reliant.

As you practice and incorporate these suggestions into your interactions with your daughter, your influence will be felt and she will be better financially prepared for the future.

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