Three Sure-Fire Techniques To Teach Your Daughter About Money And Investing by Barbara Stewart

Barbara Stewart

Why should we care so much about teaching our daughters about money and investing?

  1. Learning about finance can play a major role in a woman’s life successes and confidence.
  2. Acquiring financial knowledge allows her to get practical skills, be better at any job, use finance as a tool for good, and become financially independent.
  3. Wealth transfer is a key demographic trend, and the bulk of that transfer will be going to women. The title of last year’s article in The Economist is telling: Investment by women, and in them, is growing.
  4. Daughters are the rising wealth influencers. Care for elderly parents disproportionately falls to daughters, and increasingly, managing their parents’ investments is becoming a part of “daughter care.”

Three Sure-Fire Techniques To Teach Your Daughter About Money And Investing:

Although I know these techniques will work for daughters based on my research, I suspect they would work for sons as well!

Over the past 10 years of my research interviews with women around the world we always talk about the messages they received about money while growing up. Most of the women have strong recollections of pivotal conversations in their childhoods—often with parents or grandparents or family friends. But interestingly, the pivotal moments the women experienced were not only by way of a clearly labelled ‘money talk’, sometimes it was an observation or an experience that shaped how their feeling of confidence around finance evolved.

Importantly, no matter the method of communication—explicit or implicit—these messages shaped the lives of some amazingly accomplished people around the world. Why argue with success?

#1 Make It Normal To Talk About Money And Investing

Talk about lifestyle. Rather than asking the proverbial “What do you want to be when you grow up?” try moving beyond that and broaden the discussion. Link the questions to lifestyle.

  • “Where do you think you will want to live?”
  • “How much money do you think you will need to live there?”
  • “What type of job will enable you to earn that much money?”
  • “What type of people do you want to work with—bright, sick, old or young?”

This conversation will help kids to focus on a specific future that appeals to them.

Tell them they are smart. Interestingly, many successful women never questioned their own ability to handle money because they were told early on and over and over that they were capable and smart. They felt respected for their intellects at a young age, and quickly believed that they could do whatever they wanted in life. Offer your daughter the opportunity to read international newspapers or ask for her advice on your business decisions. This approach can have a large effect on a child’s confidence level.

Taxes can be a learning opportunity. Quite a few women mention tax time as a pivotal part of their upbringing, and a key part of how they went on to successful careers in the world of finance. A business editor told me that when she was 14, her dad gave her all his T4s and receipts and asked her to do his taxes for him. She had to ask a lot of questions, of course, but it was a great way to learn about money and investing. It came easily to her and she soon knew all the lines on the tax form. As the years progressed, their discussions became more complex. He would ask her things like how it would affect her taxes if she ever got divorced or what would happen if she realized capital gains on her stock portfolio. She loved it, and it shaped her future career.

#2 Create A Positive Environment

Give your daughters a “feel” for money. Have them deal directly with money. Give your children some cash so they can go out and experience what it feels like to buy things with it. It is best for them not to be given too much information or “helpful” advice. See how they deal with it—they will learn by making their own mistakes. Expose them to various situations where they can manage their own money and have their own experiences.

A retailer in Stockholm told me how she learned about money: “My father was my major influence. He ran his business with cash, and he would make a point of showing me the cash. I always knew the pink bills (1000 krona) were the best ones. I never questioned my own ability to run a business, it came naturally to me. I made sure to give my two children money every week so they could “feel” it and go out and buy things with it. It is important to get a feel for money early on.”

Lead by example. A pharmaceutical executive from Madrid shared her story with me: “My mother had some career opportunities that her father didn’t allow her to pursue. Through years and years of hard work and without getting a degree, she ended up with a very influential position in a bank. At home, she was involved with my father in all the financial decisions and she invested in stocks and real estate. Growing up I thought this was normal. Now I have no problem making financial decisions or understanding financial matters.”

I like what a leadership consultant in Toronto told me about her parents both being role models: “In my home, money was a positive thing…something you could strive for, earn, and it would serve you.” Her parents discussed all decisions together with their family—this was their normal day-to-day environment. They wanted their kids to understand clearly that what we want costs money. That way they could make the link and find the path to earning their own money to live the lives they want to live.

#3 Make It Fun!

A woman I interviewed in Maryland won a lot of money on the famous game show Jeopardy! She told me “I grew up with brothers and it was mostly me and a bunch of guys in high school who were playing trivia games. My family encouraged competition. We played board games a lot.”

Give your daughters the opportunity to compete and see how they like it! According to eToro, the world’s largest social investment network founded in Tel Aviv in 2007, “Finance doesn’t have to be all about suits and ties. It can be social and fun.” Globally we are finding creative and even playful ways to offer “money lessons.”

Voleo is a Vancouver-based FinTech that has had huge success in the US. Their mobile and web app enables users to form, fund, and manage real money investment clubs. Their success in part has been because they attracted the attention of several groups of women that were looking for ways to educate themselves and they loved the collaborative nature of the platform. Voleo’s mobile app will soon be up and running in Canada. Meanwhile you can practice investing by using Voleo SimuTrader , a free investment club simulator that lets you share stock trading ideas with your friends and family. Practice builds confidence.

Hands-on experience is the best way to teach our daughters about money and investing. Make it normal, create a positive environment, and have fun!


Barbara Stewart, CFA is one of the world’s leading researchers on women and finance, focusing on real life financial behaviours and providing global insights into how smart women think and communicate. Barbara is an advocate for women, for diversity, and for financial education. In addition to her Rich Thinking® research, Barbara uses her proprietary research skills to work as an Executive Interviewer on a project basis for global financial institutions seeking to gain a deeper understanding of their key stakeholders, both women and men. Barbara is a frequent interview guest on TV, radio and print, both financial and general interest. She is a contributor to the CFA Institute’s Enterprising Investor website. For more information about Barbara’s research, please see