We all want our daughters to be independent, financially empowered and have healthy financial lives as they become adults. But this doesn’t happen by accident. Since most schools don’t have an integrated financial literacy program, the responsibility to teach our daughters to be financially literate often falls on parents’ shoulders.

Where do we start? What if I’m not an expert on money, myself? How do I encourage my daughter to be smart with her money?

Dana Livne, 4th grade teacher, and Gail Hutton, Head of the Lower Division at Garrison Forest School have a few ideas. Garrison Forest has partnered with M&T Bank, to create a strong financial literacy program designed specifically for lower school students. Girls at the school open accounts with M&T Bank, learn first hand from experts in the field, become legitimate bank tellers within their school, and visit the T. Rowe Price Lab at Towson University. Additionally, students play the stock market game to learn when to spend, when to save and when to invest.

Today, Ms. Livne and Ms. Hutton are sharing strategies that we can use at home to help our daughters become strong savers, spenders and investors as they grow.

Conversations with Our Daughters: How To Raise a Financially Confident Girl

Open a Bank Account. (ASAP!)

Allowance? Birthday checks? Why not deposit them into a bank account and watch the balance grow? Set goals with your daughter. Save for short and long-term goals. Track saving and spending together. Show her that saving can really pay off!

Conversations with Our Daughters: Raising a Financially Confident Girl Conversations with Our Daughters: Raising a Financially Confident Girl

Play the Stock Market Together.

Imagine the excitement of watching your money grow overnight! You don’t have to invest huge sums of money. Programs like the Stock Market Game help parents work with their kids to invest and follow stocks as they rise and fall. Need a little advice of your own? Visit Good Financial Cents to learn more about the investment process.

Help Your Daughter Learn to Diversify.

It can be easy to spend your allowance at the store each week, but experts tell us that learning to diversify early can help our youngsters learn to live within a reasonable budget as they grow older. Breaking money down into categories (such as money to invest, money to save short term, money to save long term, money to cover daily expenses etc.) can give children an idea of what it means to live within your means and be prepared for different situations while giving back to the organizations that matter most to you and your family.

Conversations with Our Daughters: Raising a Financially Confident Girl

Involve Your Daughter in Family Financial Decisions.

Planning a party? Planning a trip? Involve your daughter in the budgeting process when preparing. Talk about the difference between wants and needs while outlining a realistic budget. Help her to realize that funds are not unlimited and help her to prioritize what things are most important when planning.

Start the Conversation: Read Together!

Sometimes picture books are a great way to make concepts come alive for our kids and help them to relate to tough concepts. Here are a few that 4th grade teacher, Dana Lavine recommends:

A Smart Girl’s Guide to Money by Nancy Holyoke & Sara Hunt
Growing Money – a Complete Investing Guide for Kids by Gail Karlitz and Debbie Honig
Alexander who Used to be Rich Last Sunday by Judit Viorst
Rock, Brock, and the Savings Shock by Shelia Blair
Beatrice’s Goat by Page McBrier
Mama Panya’s Pancakes by Mary and Rich Chamberlin
If You Made a Million by David Schwartz

Looking for more resources? The Girl Scouts of America published a report entitled “Having it All: Girls and Financial Literacy” that Gail recommends.

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Editor’s Note: Links to suggested reading are Amazon affiliate links. If you click on them, (cool) progeny may receive a small advertising revenue. All photos are by Laura Black.