Empowering Girls with Financial Literacy

Empowering Girls with Financial Literacy

financial literacy
financial literacy

The ability to understand, manage, and make informed decisions about money is not just about finance; it’s a path towards independence, equality, and empowerment. In this space, we dive into the importance of financial literacy for girls, and also hear from our team members about how financial discussions in their childhood have shaped them and, furthermore, how they are shaping the next generation of powerful women.

In TIAA Institutes’ 2022 financial literacy index, they learned that in the United States, women had a lower financial literacy score across all areas of study, including borrowing, saving, insuring, investing, and comprehending risk. As a result, women with low financial literacy scores are:

  • 5x more likely to have difficulty making ends meeting
  • 3x more likely to be debt constrained
  • 3x more likely to be unable to cope with a $2,000 financial shock
  • 5x more likely to spend 10 or more hours per week on personal finance related issues

Money, and money decisions, impact almost every aspect of our lives. Given that there is an intertwining of most of our life decisions with finances, it is important that we provide everyone, but women specifically, with the skills that build confidence and competence in going about these tasks.

When is the right time to start financial education with your young girls?

The right time is right now! Facilitating and mirroring healthy financial habits for your children is incredibly important. Every one of us has money scripts, which are our unconscious beliefs about money, and they often are rooted in childhood memories. When asked about the impact of parents’ financial discussions on children, Elissa Buie shared “how our families dealt with and discussed money is really important for us to understand. The effects on us from what we hear, learn and observe impact our relationship with money hugely.”

What are the impacts of financial conversations in childhood on adulthood?

Elissa goes on to share a reflection of her own money history: “In my family, money was something that was believed to be scarce, although we were always very comfortable. But my mother grew up in WWII London, where everything was rationed. That feeling of scarcity was ingrained in my mother, and she ingrained it in me. I hope I shared more abundance with my daughters, but I’m sure they also felt the scarcity fear I held.”

We asked the women on our team to share how financial discussions, or the lack thereof, effected their view on money and their money habits. We think you’ll find that the following stories highlight how, even in the most loving households, traditional stigmas about money conversations can lead to unintended, negative consequences as a child matures into adolescence and adulthood, underscoring our assertion that facilitating and mirroring healthy financial habits for the young people in your life is incredibly important.

Money was often a “luxury” in that if we had it, then we were able to do special things like buy school lunch or go out to eat for dinner. It was often a stressful topic – there never seemed to be enough of it. I never grew up receiving an allowance so the only money I had to call my own was birthday money I received when I became a teenager. I would use it to purchase things that my parents couldn’t afford to get me otherwise. This led to impulsive spending in adulthood, and I have had to retrain myself to delay gratification which is a lot harder as an adult.” – Kacie Fawls

“Money wasn’t discussed often at all. I never knew my Dad’s salary, and he didn’t ever want me to know that sort of information. Money was always a private subject to my parents. It only made me worry and pay attention to the money I was individually spending, and try to shift the narrative that money is some taboo subject that shouldn’t ever be discussed into making financial conversations meaningful and important.” – Aubrey Klearman

“Growing up, money was only ever discussed in a negative context, in that we didn’t have enough to make ends meet. I remember my parents telling me to never get credit cards or borrow money, but I never learned the “why” behind that advice. I now know that this was them trying to protect me, but their conversations came from a place of fearing I’d make the same “mistakes” they did rather than a place of education. As I grew into an adult and was faced with borrowing-related decisions (credit cards, student loans, etc.) my lack of knowledge resulted in me making uneducated decisions that now, being a Financial Planner, I realize weren’t optimal.” – Sydney Woodward

What conversations about money & financial literacy are Yeske Buie team members having in their personal lives?

Recognizing the great responsibility of their roles as parents, siblings, and friends for young girls, we asked our team to share what conversations they’re having about money and finances with the ones they love. Hover over each photo to read our team members’ stories.

Ryan Kelly

“A lot of money conversations that I have with the women in my life revolve around confidence and empowerment. With my mom, the conversations tend to focus on encouraging her to find her own identity and giving her permission to spend the money that she has earned and saved throughout her life. With my sister, the focus is on financial hygiene, as she and her partner navigate the first few years of living as adults. I feel grateful that she trusts me enough to come to me for pointers on starting those conversations because money can be a touchy subject between loved ones.”

Will Tracy

“Caroline, my sister, is pretty naturally inclined to wanting to make money for herself; she often does lemonade stands outside our house, so the main conversation I have with her is about saving the money she makes. She once told me she wanted to buy a concert ticket for one that was happening in a few months, so I sat down with her and explained how much she would need and how many lemonade stands she would have to hold in order to afford the ticket.”

Lauren Mireles

“My daughter is 21-months-old and for the past few months, she’s been taking an interest in playing with a piggy bank that was gifted to her. I remember how proud she was when she first grasped the skill of putting the coins into the small slot on the piggy. Our interactions often include me reminding her not to put the coins in her mouth (LOL), but I appreciate that she’s displaying an interest in money at a young age.”

Rustin McManis

“My sisters and I have a mutual love for podcasts. Financial podcasts are highly convenient, accessible, and cover a vast array of subjects making it relatively easy to find outside perspectives on tough financial topics. This is one of the more practical resources I use to inspire thought and conversation around financial education with my sisters.”


Sydney Woodward

“Growing up with parents who were incredibly hard working, but weren’t financially savvy, we didn’t talk about money. I’ve had the unique opportunity recently of having educational conversations with my mom so she can start to feel empowered and confident in her financial decisions.”


Yusuf Abugideiri

“Rian is three, however we are already talking about money (though most of the time it is her asking me for money!). She has a cash register toy and she charges us for cups of tea she prepares. She understands the more she does to prepare for the tea party, the more she should charge.”

Lauren Stansell

“Although my initial instinct is that my daughter (2.5 years old) isn’t quite old enough to grasp money concepts, she pays attention to everything and is very observant. So I think she can pick up on things and the more she hears/sees, the more it will sink in. Whenever we’re out a restaurant or in the grocery store, we talk about how we must pay before we can go home and what it means to buy items (and I let her be involved in handing something we are buying for her to the cashier). We also talk about giving and receiving gifts and sharing. I hope to have conversations about what money is, why and how it’s used, and ask her thoughts on various money decisions over time. As she gets older, we will let her help us make decisions like groceries, souvenirs, gifts for friends and family, and let her make decisions on how to spend her own money (using things like the Money Savvy Pig!). As with most (all?) financial conversations, we’ll talk a lot about tradeoffs.”


Where to begin?

Teaching your children about finances can start as small as educating them on where money comes from. As your child gets money as gifts or allowance, you can introduce concepts around the four money choices: spending, savings, donating, and investing. Yusuf’s kids each have a Money Savvy Pig, a tool included in Yeske Buie’s Financial Literacy Program. The benefits of using tools like this is that the depth in which parents are engaging with the tools can evolve as the children age. A good example on this is present in Yusuf’s home. He shares “the youngest is only three, so she isn’t counting the money, but she does compare how heavy hers is compared to her brother’s!”

From there, you can dive deeper into things like savings for the future (which comes from spending less than you make). Conversations can then evolve into discussions about other financially responsible practices, such as:

  • Establishing cash flow policies for savings and spending
  • Budgeting
  • Investing long-term assets for growth and the delayed gratification that comes with that
  • Protecting your assets with risk management techniques through things like diversification and insurance
  • Credit score, credit cards, and other forms of debt (and how borrowing means you have to pay back more than you borrowed due to interest)

If you need help facilitating these conversations or are curious about other discussions you could be having with your children, reach out to us!