Talking to our daughters about money

by Susan Jerison, JWI Director of Communications

“What exactly is this program about?” asked my 14 year-old daughter Emily just before JWI’s mother-daughter Life$avings program Sunday afternoon near Washington, DC. Both of  my teenage daughters, plus one of their friends, joined me for this unique opportunity for moms and teen girls to talk about the importance of money smarts. An open dialogue and sound financial decisions are critical for women. Too often – even today – they learn too late that they need to be full partners in their own finances, and that “someone to watch over them” is not a guarantee – or even necessarily a good idea.

Emily and I talked about retirement savings, college accounts, if my husband and I own stocks, and why it is so important to begin saving money from an early age. She was interested to learn that I had been putting retirement money away since early in my career. The cost of college surprised her. She learned about college savings funds and why my husband and I had invested in them. We talked about investment choices, and the value we place in saving and planning for the future. I said to her, “you know the envelopes that come in the mail each month, those are statements about our investments.” Instead of talking about money for the weekend’s expenses, we talked at a whole different level – about the power of money and choices and about the future.

At the event, my girls and the 150 other people in the room heard from Marla Malcolm Beck, the founder and CEO of Blue Mercury, who shared some of her life lessons. She brought her two adorable young girls along with her – I assume to begin teaching them. Marla said she always loved the cosmetics business and wanted to be part of it. She talked about pursuing dreams, working hard, earning your own money from an early age, and not being afraid to fail. She gave practical advice and an inspiring message. And she impressed the girls even further by donating goody bags filled with samples they could take home.

JWI invests in educating women and girls about money because we know that women have fewer choices without financial resources. This program (and others for teens) is available to organizations and synagogues around the country. Contact us if you’d like to bring Life$avings to your community! And at the very least, be sure to talk to your daughters about money and what it really means.


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