How comfortable are you talking about money? Knowing and working on your own money mindset is step one. Beyond that, some thoughtful preparation can go a long way towards facilitating conversations where you feel calm and confident, and your daughter feels safe and interested. Start small and stay consistent. The basics taught in a fun, approachable, and real-life way will make it that much easier to get your message across. Here are ten ways to discuss money with your daughter.
Ten Ways To Discuss Money With Your Daughter
Before each conversation, get clear on why you want to talk to your daughter. Knowing why helps you see if you’re bringing too much too soon to the conversation and allows space to clarify your approach. Money talks are not one-and-done conversations. Rather than sharing your experience, the family’s money history, and your desires for her financial future all at once, find one why per conversation and stick to it. Then, once you’re clear, use your one why as the starting point for your talk so your daughter knows what to expect.
2) Frame Money in Family Values
An easy entry point for money chats is to include the topic in your family values. For example, if you share the importance of honesty and authenticity, then it becomes natural to talk openly about money and interact with it as a family. One way to start practicing this is by playing Monopoly. Take a few minutes after the game to discuss how you felt about certain money situations while playing or how you noticed the differences in each player’s approach to buying decisions.
3) Discuss Money Using Good Communication
Has your daughter seen a lot of money anxiety? Perhaps by way of hearing you and your partner fight about money or telling her to put things back at the grocery store because they’re too expensive. It could also be from a too-frugal grandparent or a money-strapped aunt. If this is the case, she might think a conversation about money will be stressful or harmful. So, when talking with her, use good communication skills and a relaxed tone of voice to make her feel safe.
Yes: “I feel excited to help you learn how to play with your money so you can create the life you want.”
No: “I’m freaking out about your future. You’re going to be broke and struggle if you don’t learn how to invest right now. Don’t make the mistakes I did.”
4) Lighten Up Your Talks
Parent-daughter money conversations needn’t feel like business meetings. Have fun with it. Take the lesson out into the world. If you need to buy your daughter a new swimsuit, use that as a relaxed shopping-learning experience, where she has the power to purchase, and you teach as you go.
5) Think About Setting
Be mindful of when and where you have these conversations. Choose your moments wisely and get buy-in from your daughter beforehand, rather than pouncing. For example, if she’s tired after dinner and wants to move from the dining table to somewhere more comfortable, a forced conversation won’t get a great result. A colorful invite and map to a one-on-one money date under the secret lucky money tree in the garden is far more enticing.
6) Be the Adult
Know the difference between cleanly talking about money and unintentionally venting your fears, scary experiences, and regrets. These conversations are not for you to take a load off. If you realize you have a lot going on around the topic, wait to discuss it until you’ve dealt with those issues.
7) Calm Their Fears
Your daughter has most likely absorbed unhelpful money narratives from the news, school, movies, and people outside your nuclear family. Ask her how she feels about money and if she has questions or concerns about it when she thinks of the future. Listen more than you speak and use prompts like “say more about that” and “what does that mean to you?” to help her move deeper into her understanding.
8) Be Honest
You cannot hide what’s happening with money in the family from your daughter. She already knows. She shouldn’t be involved in your debt counseling but don’t pretend you have it all figured out if you don’t. Let her learn from the mistakes you’ve made while she’s young rather than repeat them as an adult and then learn lessons the hard way.
9) Dream and Team Up
Play with your money and hers! Get creative by building dream boards and wishlists of things you’d each like to own and activities you want to do. Then, plot out how you’re going to create the money you need. Have fun and explore the topics of saving, budgeting, side hustles, etc.
10) Financial Roadmap
Your daughter is far more likely to keep interested in these talks if she knows there will be certain money milestones in her life. Put together a financial roadmap that benefits your family and share it with her. Having a money-specific pathway normalizes the topic and includes it in the experience of growing up in your household. Examples could be designating a certain amount of money to buy birthday and Christmas gifts or managing the hamster’s expenses.
Start young if you can. Teaching your daughter about money is the same as teaching her to ride a bicycle or brush her teeth. Once you’ve imparted the basic skills, she’s empowered to explore on her own and find her way. The sooner she’s exposed to money and how to use it, the more time she has for safe learning, failing, and growing.
If you didn’t start young, don’t fret. Now is always the next best time to begin the conversation. The longer you wait, the less positive influence you can have on your daughter’s money mindset, and the more she’ll be left to her own devices to figure things out.
Written by Roxana Bouwer
Top image by Gustavo Fring from Pexels
Second image by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels
Third image by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels
Ten Ways To Discuss Money With Your Daughter is part of the Girls That Create series Talking With Girls About Finances