Our personal experiences with money shape what we prioritize. Societal pressures, education, family encouragement, childhood experiences and personal struggles with money affect all women differently. I thought it would be useful to ask several different women to impart their wisdom.
20 women from different cultures, economic backgrounds and ages have contributed what they feel is the one piece of financial advice they would give their daughters.
20 Women on the Financial Advice They Would Give Their Daughters
- “Do not get sucked in by the hype. We tend to get sucked into what the new cool thing is. Wait on it for awhile and see if the cool thing that you want to spend your hard earned money on is still what you want in 3 months.” – Mariana C.
- “Always have your own private bank account with your own money even when you are in a serious relationship or even married. Hold the account at a different bank from the bank you have the joint account if you open one with your significant other. It’s your plan B.” – Uzaina S.
- “Interest is the price of impatience! Also my mother always told me to think of using a credit card as going into the bank, and asking them to borrow the money for whatever you wanted. Think of walking to the teller and asking them for a loan of $150 to get your hair done. If it sounds ridiculous, don’t use your credit card for it!” – Kate R.
- “Spend money on experiences, not stuff.” – Tamara S.
- “Be sure to establish your own credit, independent from [your] partner’s or husband’s. That includes making large purchases like cars without anyone else. Even if you don’t choose to use credit in the form of credit cards, many employers look at credit history as one of the factors in deciding employability. Additionally, a person needs individual good credit for renting apartments, buying homes, etc. Establishing an independent financial identity is critical and something to be done before you feel you might need it.” – Rachel S.
- “Take care of your emotions and mental health. The more control you have over your everyday well being, the less you will spend on “stuff.” Quality over quantity, it’s all about the long run, not the cheap, temporary thrill.” – Anonymous
- “Pay credit cards off each month. Use them for convenience only. Buy used cars. Start an IRA with your first job and learn to write it off your taxes. Do your own taxes. Balance your checkbook monthly. Don’t be ashamed to wear hand-me-downs or shop thrift stores. You will outgrow most trends, be patient. Resell your stuff. Learn to cook and sew. Embrace reading business, legal, medical and other useful literature from a library. Use free apps to learn a foreign language or other information. Don’t buy the newest technology every year. Weigh the cost of everything in hours you must work.” – G.R. Wynd
- “Avoid having bosses (aka anyone who can tell you what to do). Anyone you owe money to is a boss, not just employers (banks, credit card companies, the government, service providers, etc). The fewer the obligations, the freer you are to direct your own life.” – Hélène M. (@freepursue)
- “As someone on a very fixed income, I find frugality to be important — but being too frugal can legitimately make you miserable. Setting aside some money to spend on the things that make you happy is *so* important. Whether it’s a gift for yourself, a night out with a loved one, or anything else — it really helps to set aside that small amount for yourself.” – Liana H.
- “Be wise. Invest in quality if quantity is not required. Prioritize good quality expenditure before frivolous unneeded, extra, not so good purchases. Don’t get hooked by the ‘sales’, freebies/gift-with-purchase, buy more/’pay less’ gimmicks. Just because something is now more affordable doesn’t mean you’ll use it. Also, do you need multiples? Will they be utilized? Or are they going to take up storage space? Are those freebies/gifts actually useful? Or are you just giving up more of your hard-earned cash? Can that money be invested into something better or go into savings?” – Helen J.
- “Saw this shared on Facebook: Since I started working, I look at spending money more like spending ‘hours of my life’. Example: “I can’t buy that, that’s a four hour shift!” – Anonymous
- “Split your income into three: savings, necessities, and spending. You’re the only one that can determine what percentage will go into each one but stick to it. Only go back and review it if or when you get a pay raise or a have a loan to pay. Learn to be financially disciplined because in the long run it’ll stop you from overspending what you don’t have.” – Jessika C.
- “I don’t have advice so much as something I would do and a mother that mine did for me. She opened credit cards that she added me as a second on the account. I obviously never knew, I was 5 when she first did this. It was never used. It was put in a drawer and forgotten about. But then when it came time for me to finally be getting my own card or line of credit. I had fantastic credit because I was earning credit through the use of her accounts my name was on. As well as having a long credit history because it started when I was 5 not 18. And it was such an amazing thing. I bought a brand new car at 21 and didn’t have to have a cosigner because my credit was so good. All because of this base she set for me. This seems to be something no one knows about.” – Shab G. (Editor’s note: We advise being very careful with this. If you have poor spending habits, don’t risk your child’s financial future.)
- “Go by this motto ‘PAY YOURSELF FIRST!!!’ Take a certain amount out of your check and put in savings, FIRST! That was the best advice I’ve ever gotten.” – Dothan G
- “Don’t save what you don’t spend. Spend what you don’t save. Pretty sure I read that in a Warren Buffet interview.” – Maitreyi V.
- “My mom always told me (with the exception of larger expenses like a car or a house) don’t spend money you don’t have and I really live by that. I use credit cards to build credit but pay them off each month and I am working with my boyfriend to pay his debt off as well. When I get paid, the first thing I do is pay any balance on my credit cards, even if they’re not due yet. I also try to put as much into savings as possible.” – Anonymous
- “I was given a credit card at 18 which I know sounds irresponsible and strange but my Dad always told me to do my online shops on the credit card in case of fraud and make sure you pay it off each month.” – Chelsea H.
- “Stay out of credit card debt and start contributing to a retirement fund as soon as you are eligible. Live below your means.” – Anonymous
- “Research! Compare prices of any major purchase and always shop around (so no impulse purchases). Research credit card companies, mortgage lenders, compare rates and benefits. Start retirement and savings early. If you know you want to go to college and don’t think you can get enough scholarships or financial aid, work at a university for a year and you can get free tuition (at most schools). Do not underestimate debt, it should be taken seriously and only incurred when absolutely necessary (such as a mortgage).” – Sarah N.
- “Have your budget down in writing and tweak it every month. Being aware of your finances. It is absolutely crucial to financial freedom. Don’t go shopping when you’re sad or angry. And also have a shopping day every month/ twice a month where you can only make purchases from a list on those days (if you’re struggling with money).” – Katie T.
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Lastly, I wanted to share financial advice I would give my (hypothetical) daughter.
“Do everything you can to become financially independent. Depending on others for financial stability is risky. Continually educate yourself to become more financially literate. Know what your rights are as an investor, consumer, cosigner, dependent, etc. I want you to be the type of woman that can stand on her own two feet and doesn’t solely rely of your partner or family to get by. Your financial situation could easily change at a moment’s notice, whether it be pregnancy (unexpected or planned), taking time off to raise children, a divorce, being a caregiver, times of illness/ disability, natural disaster/ accident, becoming widowed, retirement, etc. It’s always smart to have money put away to ensure stability. There might be times in your life where it’s just you looking out for yourself. It’s a slightly negative viewpoint, but life is not something we have a lot of control over, and preparing for the worst is important. Every financial decision I make takes this goal into account in some way.”