It’s Time To Teach Your Daughter To Be Money-Smart

Disclosure - Prudential #WomenInspired

When I was 7 years old, I made a decision that has shaped and saved my life. Inspired by a soggy Highlights magazine I found in the dumpster where we went to look for “toys,” I vowed I would learn English because in my mind, that was the ticket to the life portrayed in those pages.

We lived in extreme poverty in a wooden shack held together by cow manure, with no toilet, plywood walls, and a tin roof, and both my mom and dad had to work outside the home to try to make ends meet… but those children had it differently: they had beautiful homes, good quality clothing, cool toys, and time to play with them.

While it was clear to me that enrolling me in English classes was not a priority, and I had to juggle school with chores, I knew in my heart there had to be a way.  So I went to my only true friend and presented him with my idea.

The Positive MOM - #WomenInspired

I can’t recall the time I started having outrageous dreams for the future, but I can assure you my dad was always supportive and encouraging, and this time was no different. He demonstrated playfully the English words he knew, which gave me assurance that learning this foreign language would be fun and easy. Then he told me I could achieve anything I wanted to achieve. He could have started a positive dad blog if there was such thing back then.

That night, I went to bed with a smile on my face, full of hope, and big dreams.

The next day, my dad came home for lunch and brought me a big surprise. He had built me a wooden bank, which consisted in a solid wood frame with plywood on the top and bottom, and a slit to slip coins in. He taught me that I could start saving for my dream and that with each coin, I would be closer to enrolling myself in English classes.

I was thrilled with this idea, because all of a sudden my dream wasn’t just something nice, it was something possible. My young mind started spinning with ideas on how to get coins. At 7 years old, I became an entrepreneur like my dad, I started my first job at 12,  I was always looking for opportunities to make my own money so I could save for my BIG future.

When I turned 11, I opened my bank and enrolled myself in English classes, and focused much effort to learn and practice. After three years, I graduated with honors and was selected to start teaching others!

Learning English was not only a great move and a way out of the slum where I grew up, it also provided me the opportunity to earn more once I decided to move to the capital and pay for my own college. Knowing English allowed me to participate in the Work and Travel program so I could spend the summer in the United States, and most importantly, knowing English was a true blessing for me when, after moving here permanently, I became a single mom and needed to make my own living.

I am very grateful for my dad for taking the time to teach me many life lessons. He taught me to dream big, to plan for the future, and to be self-reliant. His teachings have shaped my life and because of that, I’ve been able to face hard times with confidence and faith.

Because of what my dad taught me, I’ve striven to teach my daughters to be ambitious, money-smart, and generous. If you are a girl mom, it’s time to teach your daughter to be money-smart. Boys, too. All kids need to learn about money management at an early age.

I am very passionate about women having tools to empower themselves to be confident, independent, and high achieving. And it starts at home.

That’s why I attended the inaugural #WomenInspired event in Houston, as part of the  year-long partnership with Prudential and DiMe Media. It’s all about motivating moms for financial success, because Prudential’s goal for this important initiative is “To empower women with financial solutions so they can be confident they are making the right decisions for themselves and their families.”  This vision is in complete alignment with my personal mission of equipping, empowering, and encouraging moms to create BALANCE, JOY, and SUCCESS on their own terms.

And taking charge of your financial success is one of the first steps we can take to own our lives, own our success, and make dreams possible for ourselves and for our kids.

The #WomenInspired tour provided a safe platform where a group of mom entrepreneurs gathered to learn about financial security.

DiMe Media Tour with Prudential - Success Is Yours. Own It. #WomenInspired

And I think that’s the key point I want to make, because as much as I know I am an advocate of financial literacy, we can only perform to the level of our awareness. These women inspired me because they stepped up and showed up. We all opened our hearts, sharing our challenges, our fears, our concerns, our grief, our struggles, our needs, our desires, our goals and our dreams, as well as our faith to overcome and achieve. We all realized there is always more to learn, and that it is necessary to learn from a financial advisor.

It was inspiring for me to listen to these beautiful women’s stories, learn from their perspectives, as well as laugh, hug, and cry together. More than an event, it is a movement, and a sisterhood.

#WomenInspired tour - DiMe Media - Prudential

One of the highlights for me as a mom was to attend this event with my firstborn daughter, Elisha, and to see that Cristy‘s twin daughters were also in attendance. Starting young, arming themselves with tools to empower themselves financially, and developing a healthy money mindset.

Our brains are hard-wired for instant gratification rather than for long-term financial wellness, so it can be hard for most people to plan for the future, but as we take advantage of financial literacy education, tools, and resources, such as the ones Prudential offers, and share our challenges with people we trust, we can feel more prepared for the unpredictable twists and turns of life, and our own financial mistakes – mostly those of omission (like not saving for college, or not saving for retirement).

And by teaching your daughters to be money-smart, you are raising an empowered woman. Just like I learned from my dad, my daughters can learn from me.

Motivated Moms #WomenInspired

LaToyia Dennis, one of my coaching students, and founder of Motivated Mom, had us laughing with stories about her son, and how she helps him understand where money comes from and how it is used. She inspired us to be transparent in our money conversation with our children. The reason I mention that is because I have admitted to my kids that much of my grief in becoming a single mom was caused by my being financially co-dependent. Sometimes as women, we know what to do, but the desire to people-please gets the best of us, jeopardizing our ability to take charge of our lives and be prepared when changes impact us.

As I teach my daughters money-management (how to earn, save, tithe, invest, and spend money),  I know this knowledge will be empowering, no matter what life holds in store. Even after making so many disempowering and passive choices in my first marriage, I was able to reinvent myself, using the same principles I used to learn English, go to college, buy my first home in the Dominican Republic, and travel all around and outside of my country.

A lot of people think it’s inspiring how I have rebuilt my life, but without the foundation of my dad’s teachings, as well as my mom’s aversion to debt, I am not sure I would have made smart choices.

I loved my friend’s Cristy’s definition of being financially independent (which she learned from her abuela): “you can be in a relationship because you want to, not because you have to.” I can now say that’s true for me, and as I have become stronger, I have been able to raise stronger daughters.

I pray daily that my teachings and my choices inspire my kids to be money-conscious and financially independent. I pray for the courage and humility to admit my money mistakes and to discuss them transparently.

An empowering money mindset and healthy money habits (budgeting, prioritizing, saving, avoiding crippling debt, purchasing insurance, investing, planning for retirement, etc.) are a great legacy for our children.

And since no matter how much we plan we don’t really know what the future holds or how long we will be here, we must teach them by example that it’s important to seek expert advice to grow and protect their wealth.

Of course, a material, financial legacy is also important to shield our family from an uncertain future, so the more financially independent we are, the more generous we can be with our children, grandchildren, and our entire posterity.

It brings me so much joy to know that my children have truly lived the life I envisioned in the Highlights magazine, because my dad believed in my vision, paved the path, and taught me the financial principles I needed to know to make it possible. It’s time to teach your daughters to be money-smart!

I am really grateful to have been invited #WomenInspired Houston, where we learned that, though we may resist or dread it, we can become empowered by a deep, vulnerable money conversation, and that we are not alone in our worries and don’t have to become overwhelmed in asking for help in becoming financially fit at any age or stage.
You can read more posts by  Vashti, AnjelicaConnie, Ashley, YvonneMichelle R., Michelle C., and JoAnna so you can get the full picture.

How do you teach your daughters / your children to be money-smart and financially independent? Share your thoughts, join the conversation with #WomenInspired, and encourage other women to take control of their financial future!

Elayna Fernandez - Author - 
Speaker - Success Guide to Moms and Mompreneurs
© Elayna Fernández ~ The Positive MOM

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25 thoughts on “It’s Time To Teach Your Daughter To Be Money-Smart

  1. It is never too early to teach a child on how to manage money. The sooner they have the concept of money, the sooner they will be able to manage it. This is a very great post.

  2. Teaching your children how to manage money is really important, especially when they begin to understand the concept of money. They’ll thank you so much when theyre older!

  3. I love your post. It is really important to teach them early, it will going to be your problem in the future if you will not teach them.

  4. Your dad sounds so inspiring. I’m glad he taught you to go for your dreams and gave you a piggy bank to save for them. You certainly had a hard start to life, its great that you had your parent’s support. A lot of parents can squash a child’s big dreams. Mine did, I vow never to do that to my kids.

  5. You are such an inspiration! I also grew up with not a lot and got my first got very young, delivering local papers. I wanted to make my OWN money, so my mom didn’t have to work so hard. I have tried to pass that same ethic on to my children.

  6. This is such a beautiful lesson to teach your child! I really love the ideas that you have here and it’s really important to teach them the value of saving money for their future.

  7. you have such a powerful and inspiring message, what an honor it has been for me to read this post of where you started out and where you ended up. it is truly one of the most motivating, inspiring and beautiful stories i’ve ever read thank you for sharing your journey. what really resonated with me was your determination in dreamin big and setting out to accomplish all these amazing things. it give me immense hope that anything is possible if you’ve got the nerve. I also love how it has shaped your daughters. I’ve seen that they’ve even written a book and are inspiring people around the world. How awesome a mom you are! wow. You totally rock elayna and i love your absolutely stunning smile.

  8. It is better if you can teach your child to be money smart as early as possible. So they will know how to be smart when it comes to finance in the future.

  9. My kids are all pretty smart with money! I’m actually impressed when they get money they can save it, hold on to it for a rainy day or save up for something they want. It’s great.

  10. This is a great post. My son recently opened his own checking account and we have been working with him on his budget.

  11. I opened bank accounts for my kids and have been teaching how to save from a very young age. While I grew up in a middle-class neighborhood and had everything I needed, my mom also taught me how to save. It has helped me as well. I truly believe in financial readiness.

  12. I try to show Bella how to get change from the cashier we count back the money. I show her how much we have and teach her how to budget for what she needs and to save for things she wants. The counting backwords from the cashier is the challange.

  13. It’s never too early to start teaching kiddos about money! My daughter is only 4 and I try my hardest to reach her the value of things!

  14. You are such an inspiration! Your dad is a wonderful man for having been soo supportive of your dreams at such a young age. Now you are doing the same with your daughters. Just amazing!

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  16. I teach my kids lessons in the home and out at stores/events. I teach them how to compare ounces/brands etc.

    I’m working on changing my family tree, and want them to avoid the mistakes I’ve made.

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