It’s no secret that this up-and-coming generation of girls is empowered and independent, embodying the true spirit of a G.I.R.L. (Go-Getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader). They envision a future family structure where they are fully engaged in financial decision making and planning, and a great majority feel that gender is no barrier to what they can accomplish financially. A recent survey shows that 94% of girls would rather make their own money than rely on their parents, and 80% would rather make their own money than rely on a spouse to support them financially (Girl Scout Research Institute).
While they remain optimistic about their futures, girls admit to lacking the financial confidence and knowledge to achieve their dreams. In addition, the unique economic environment that this generation has grown up in has lead them to distrust large financial institutions and believe that debt is a normal part of life.
Luckily, the Girl Scout program is designed to prepare girls to accomplish anything they set their minds to. Nine in ten girls believe that it is important for them to learn how to manage money, and 87% say that it is important to set financial goals (Girl Scout Research Institute). Through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, which focuses on Life Skills such as financial literacy and Entrepreneurship through the Girl Scout Cookie Program (the largest girl-led business in the world!), girls can feel confident in their financial knowledge and decisions.
Children often only see the spending side of money without understanding the processes of earning, budgeting, taking out loans, or paying them back. So how can adults better help prepare girls to achieve their financial dreams?
- Support girls with opportunities to develop the skills they need in order to reach their goals, including saving for a college education, pursuing a career they enjoy that allows them to support themselves, and earning an income to live happily and retire comfortably.
- Encourage them to work hard and not give up on math, or to pursue studies in areas that boost financial empowerment, such as accounting, finance, or business.
- Encourage them as an entrepreneur, whether that mean having a garage sale, babysitting, or setting up a lemonade stand. Once she earns a profit, help her devise a financial plan for what she would like to use it for or set up a savings account.
- Support girls’ goals and expectations for their financial future by steering clear of stereotypes about girls, women, and money.
- Steer clear of negative commentary that may enforce the idea that girls are irresponsible with money, don’t care about budgeting, or are uncomfortable with math.
- Point out positive female role models in the media, such as CEOs and entrepreneurs.
- Involve your girl in your day-to-day financial activities to increase awareness.
- Encourage her to help you with everyday financial tasks such as going to the bank or ATM, cashing checks, making a budget, saving money, paying back loans, giving out allowances, paying bills, and shopping for food and other household necessities.
- Include her in group discussions about family finances, such as purchasing a family car or planning a trip. By including girls in these discussions early, they develop confidence to make the same kind of decisions in their own lives and to not shy away from conversations about money.