8 tips for raising financially independent daughters today

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Imagine Wall Street during its most notorious days – intense pressure, high stakes, testosterone, insane sums of money, expense reports, fancy dinners, limos and very few women. A war zone from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., you all go out for a drink after the closing bell to de-stress and reconnect, and back on the battlefield the next day.

That’s when I started my career in finance. As a college graduate, I fell into a job as an administrative assistant in a finance company. As I immersed myself in the industry, I learned to compete and thrive in the male-dominated field. I worked hard to rise through the ranks quickly, earning several licenses along the way, and ended up working on the institutional side of Wall Street for 25 years.

I am now a Wealth Management Advisor and proud mother of two amazing daughters, ages 19 and 21, truly my greatest accomplishment. For Women’s History Month, I wanted to share some of what I’ve learned along the way and how I’m raising my daughters to be financially independent.

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1. Ask them to open their own bank accounts

Take your kids to the bank and set up accounts in their name. If your child is under 18, you will need to create a custody account or a joint account. Notice I didn’t say fund their bank accounts. Whenever they receive money for birthdays, holidays, or work (more on that below), make sure they deposit a good portion of the money into their account. It is important that they experience the process and see the money grow in their accounts.

Teach them how to deposit checks with their bank’s mobile app and show them what happens when they buy something with their debit card – and the consequences of spending more than they have. Technology can sometimes make money seem like it’s not real, so it’s important that they understand the value of their digital dollars.

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3. Make investing fun and relevant

A woman in a white suit, her feet on a desk, reads the pages of a newspaper.

Markets can be confusing and even frightening, especially for people who have not been informed of the risks and benefits. So, I knew I had to teach my daughters to invest early. I asked them to pick a brand they liked giving them examples of companies I know they followed and told them to pick a couple they believed in.

You can start with individual stocks or index funds, which is a great way to get them involved early. If they have earned income, they can open a Roth IRA for tax-free growth and tax-free withdrawals comes retirement. The best thing they can do is start saving for retirement early.

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4. Let them make mistakes

A woman is holding many shopping bags and looking upset.

As a mother, I worked hard to bond with my kids on activities that didn’t require materialistic things, to avoid teaching them potentially dangerous habits. Sure, we go shopping together from time to time, but they made that up on their own. Sometimes my girls would go to the mall with their friends and come home with a purchase just to buy something. Sure, it’s normal for teenage girls to shop for clothes, but it’s not a good habit to reinforce if it’s excessive.

So how did we solve this problem? At first I was asking about the price they paid for the clothes. We would go to a designer store and look at the price, then go to Forever 21 or H&M to show a massive difference in cost. Also, they started noticing the cost of things when they started paying out of their own pocket.

Now my daughters choose not to buy things they think are too expensive. Sometimes when we’re shopping, I tell them I’m doing a treatment and picking out an outfit. They will say, “No, thank you, mom. I do not need anything. WOW! It’s a parental victory!

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5. Keep an open mind

A mother and her daughter stretch on a soccer field.

I am a big believer in this. As a young girl, I never thought I would have a career in finance. It doesn’t help that our society generally doesn’t encourage girls to go into many fields, like finance, science, or math.

Encourage your children to try new hobbies, sports, or activities that they may never have mentioned or heard of. We are an active family where exercise is part of our daily life. We are all addicted to exercise, which is wonderful. My daughters have developed a healthy outlet here and it has also helped them cultivate perseverance, leadership and assertiveness.

Hobbies don’t have to last forever, but they can teach them new skills and, more importantly, flexibility.

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6. Adopt good habits

Money in a jeans pocket.

As parents, we know it’s important to lead by example. Start making them aware of financial issues by asking them to look at the prices on restaurant or grocery store menus. Show them how to compare prices and guide them on how to make good decisions. For my daughters, highlighting the price tags at designer stores versus budget retailers was an eye opener. Work with them to budget for their own expenses and show them how you manage household money.

When they want to go out for pizza with their friends, occasionally ask them to use their own money and watch the look you get – it’s funny. Remember that it’s never too early to talk about money and it should never be a taboo subject. The habits they learn now will lay the foundation for their entire financial future.

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7. Teach assertiveness

A young woman flexes her muscles.

Historically, women have not been good at negotiating for themselves. If we assert ourselves and ask for what we deserve, we are told that we are too “bossy” or “abrasive”.

Having worked in male-dominated environments my entire career, I can say that standing up for yourself is imperative. I will add that this goes for any environment, whether you are a man or a woman. If you’re not being compensated for your value or not getting the compensation you feel you deserve, then look for it elsewhere. If you’re right, you’ll feel good about your decision to move on.

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8. Encourage them to stick to the one-year rule

A woman in a business suit is waiting for a job interview.

One of the reasons for my success is my ability to defend myself after proving myself. I’ve always tried to have the one-year rule: never quit a job for a year. Give yourself the opportunity to adapt to the environment, learn their culture, add value and be a team player. After a year, ask for an opinion if you do not receive one. Discuss your successes, listen to your failures, and affirm what you believe you deserve…and have the facts to prove it. Always be prepared for discussions like this!

Talk to your daughters about gender pay gap, and how they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for a raise when it’s due. Never be afraid to ask for what you think you deserve. What’s the worst thing they can say…right? If you don’t believe in yourself, then why would you want anyone else to?

Our relationship with money is personal and we pass much of it on to our children. Teaching financial responsibility is one of the most important things we can do for our children to foster independence, especially for our daughters. I get the chance to help my clients manage their finances and their lives. In my humble opinion, the scholarship is what makes the world go round and having the opportunity to teach my daughters what I do has been one of my greatest joys.

Women’s History Month is meant to honor and celebrate women’s contributions to American history, no matter how small or large. Honor the tradition by giving your own daughters your accumulated wisdom and help them grow into their own successful roles in this world.

Registered Investment Advisor, ALINE Wealth

Gina Grippo-Martinez is a wealth advisor at ALINE Wealth. With her Wall Street days behind her, Gina currently holds her Series 7, 63 and 66 licenses and helps her clients plan for their future. She lives with her husband and their two daughters in Point Lookout, Long Island. For more information, please visit www.ALINEWealth.com.

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