What Moms Should Teach Their Daughters About Money

I probably don’t have the healthiest relationship with money.  Spending seems a lot like dieting to me — most of the time I’m hoarding my pay and living on as little as possible in case of disaster.  But when I do spend, it’s like a dam has broken and I’m off the wagon.  One little “cheat” will cascade into numerous splurges, all justified by that idea that if I already broke the budget, the battle is already lost.

Often, I wonder if my feast or famine view of cash has to do with growing up poor, with a single mother, and always feeling like we were a step away from losing what little we had.  My current austerity and gluts seem to model what I saw when I was younger, and despite knowing my family’s financial situation is far different, I still can’t quite shake the feeling that a crisis is just around the corner.

As my daughter grows older, I find myself trying to explain the simple concepts of money to her, from the idea that we don’t get to buy everything we want, to understanding that eating out is a once a month luxury, not a daily occurrence.  She’s always looking for a way to earn money to buy her own toys, her own jewelry, or slowly coming around to the idea that a princess doll has more worth than a new dress when the dress can’t be worn every day.

My daughter is still younger than the daughters in this article in Forbes, but the lessons are still the same:  money is a concrete object with actual limits, a concept much more difficult to teach these days when most transactions are done via plastic and no actual bills or coins change hands.  In fact, that’s why it’s even more important for young girls to learn financial lessons early.  They will be going into a workplace that will sadly still value them less.  They will earn less for the same work and need their dollar to stretch further, and should they leave the workforce to care for a family as so many do, they will need to know the ins and outs of the primary earner’s income to ensure they aren’t cut off from the realities of the financial decisions all together.

My daughter will learn to be in control of her own financial well-being and how to make smart decisions with her money, rather than have knee-jerk, emotionally driven actions like I do.  It will be the best gift I can give her for the day when she is managing the finances for herself, or a family of her own.


Photo credit: Thinkstock

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Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson3 years ago

my dad always did so well teaching us about the value of money. between me and my 2 brothers i am the only one who took those lessons to heart. im a saver, and I rarely buy extra. I am low maintenance, and I am happy

Tracy Jackson
Tracy Jackson3 years ago

Every parent should teach children about money.

Sarah M.
Sarah M.3 years ago

My parents failed completely when it came to this and so many other important things. Power to you for being a good mother.

Debbie L.
Debbie Lim3 years ago


Steven R.
Steven R.3 years ago

Two questions:

1.) Why should the burden of teaching fall only on moms? Wouldn't it be better for a child to see both of their parents working on the budget, deciding how much to pay and to whom? The example of sharing responsibility is worth teaching as well, especially since many women marry and must interact with their husbands on deciding priority, setting up a budget, etc.

2.) Why should only daughters be taught? Sons should know how to setup a budget and handle money just as daughters are. This goes back to my first point; running the finances for a household should be a shared responsibility. If you only teach your daughters, then you're setting them up for a situation where their husbands simply pass the entire financial management duties to their wives/girlfriends and walk away. If something goes wrong, then the finger is pointed at the wife, because (after all) the finances are her "job".

Kara C.
Kara C.3 years ago

Mum taught me everything I know about money, how to make a budget and stick to it, where to buy things cheap and how to live on practically nothing. As well as the impotance of self control and home cooked meals. If I had a daughter I would teach her the same thing as mums lessons now have me better off then most of my friends despite being far poorer.

Suzanne Osborne
Suzanne Osborne3 years ago

I was taught that if you look after the pennies the pounds will look after themselves.

Ana R3 years ago

Thanks for sharing...

Holly Lawrence
Holly Lawrence3 years ago

The only advise I will give my daughters - when they are older - is to always have their OWN money, set some aside and do not be solely dependent on a man. It is far more mportant to teach my daughters about kindness, love and compassion than to teach them about money .. lessons about money are learned by the lifestyle and concept of an individual family and life itself - more important lessons of life need to be passed from mother to daughter...

Drusilla P.
Drusilla P.3 years ago

If I had a daughter, my line would be: #1 spend or save, but don't spend more than you have. #2 do whatever you want with the money you've earned and don't let anyone tell you what to do with it.
How's that?