Women, especially, are failing financial literacy. An article with that title, published in the Wall Street Journal, reports on two different studies that show that women are still falling behind in the critical area of financial understanding.
Money understanding is multi-faceted. There’s the knowledge that needs to be acquired, and then there are actions that need to be taken. For example, it’s not just enough to know that you should be earning what you’re worth, you actually have to negotiate the salary.
As we have discussed before in this space, women can face an extra challenge with taking positive financial actions, as they sometimes conflict with the way we have been socialized, or with what is expected from women in our culture. We have further made the connection that this kind of social learning happens with young girls, and can manifest itself later in women through a lack of financial advocacy and effectiveness.
Let’s take a look at 5 money learning connections for girls that can later promote their financial strength and independence:
1. Ambition: Ambition is all about setting a goal, and achieving it. It involves planning to be the best that you can be. Ambition is critical for success with career-building, and something we should promote in girls.
2. Bragging: Some call it bragging, others call it articulating one’s self-worth. Either way, being able to talk about the value contributed to a job, including individual strengths, accomplishments, and successes, is key to negotiating salaries and raises. Teaching girls that it’s good to believe in themselves, and talk about their strengths is a great step toward eventual successful salary negotiations.
3. Risk: Risk is a big, big part of investing successfully. Women are viewed to be more risk-averse than men. While we should not necessarily encourage girls to throw all caution to the wind, learning that calculated risks can be positive in one’s life is something to teach them.
4. Instinct: Trusting your instinct when working with financial professionals is key to having effective, positive relationships with the experts who can help you be successful. This instinct can be honed by financial education, and open, frank conversations with the experts working on your behalf. Teaching girls to trust their instincts is a win-win no matter what, but can also help in this important area.
5. Math: Understanding and feeling confident with math can help with financial understanding, studies show. Concepts like compounding are important when learning to invest early, or manage debt. Making sure that girls feel confident with math will help them in life, but also with successful financial management.