Mom-mentum provides our Mothers’ Center Group members with access to Group Discussion Guides meant to encourage reflection and conversation. This post was inspired by our discussion guide: Woman and Money. This guide gives participants the opportunity to share how money is handled in their household, as well as their feelings toward money. To download this guide and others, login and visit Mom-mentum’s members only area of our website. Not a member? Learn more here about our Mothers’ Center Groups and how you can get involved.
Mothers and Money: Finding A Financial Groove
by Teresa McCarthy
Recently it seems that money-talk is all around me. Money is a topic that I used to avoid thinking about, yet I can no longer seem to avoid it. It is everywhere! Here are just a few of the current, unavoidable money conversations that I’m a part of… maybe you can relate?
- Powerball—recently the biggest pot it’s ever been—found me contributing to a big group pool, daydreaming about winning, and at the same time trying to explain the concept of gambling and lotteries to my children… a seemingly no-win situation all around.
Me to my children: While all you need is a dollar and a dream to win, it’s a much safer bet to save that dollar to begin with.
My children: Yeah, right, Mom. Let’s try to win!
- We are in the process of moving—selling our current house and buying a new one. My husband and I can’t go a day without discussing money or completing another request for bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns, etc. There’s nothing like the mortgage application process to get you excited (note the sarcastic tone) about questioning every purchase, deposit, or job you’ve held over the past decade.
- It’s Girl Scout Cookie Time (if you haven’t noticed!) and both of my daughters are scouts. Likewise, they are really motivated to sell cookies. I love the Girl Scout cookie concept of teaching girls entrepreneurial skills including goal setting, being comfortable handling money, knowing how to make change and delivering great customer service. My girls have set their goals impossibly high (2,000 boxes each so that they can earn tablets) so we have been pounding the pavement selling the infamous cookies.
And these are just a few of the ongoing money-topics that continue to impact our family.
Managing Household Money
How do you deal with money in your household? Personally, I try to focus my values on non-material things (family, time, service, etc.), however I’m realistic enough to understand that money is needed and an important topic to face and NOT avoid. In our house, the way my husband and I deal with finances has been a timely evolution—something that has adjusted over our married life.
Money used to be a topic we avoided and hated. For me, it brought on:
- feelings of discomfort (mostly from naiveté),
- guilt (from a privileged childhood),
- and inadequacies (that I wasn’t earning enough during the days I was a full-time, stay-at-home mother).
Over the years as partners we have learned to trust each other and rely on each other (there have been times during our marriage when each one of us was the main breadwinner). We have now set up a system that seems to work nicely for us consisting of separate checking accounts yet shared savings. This financial system helps us so that we’re not “nickel and diming” each other over minor purchases and money spent, yet allows to better discussed and agree upon major purchases.
Teaching Money Management to our Children
Additionally, we’ve begun encouraging our daughters to be more responsible for their own earnings, savings, and spending habits. Point in hand, this year it was a thrill for both of them to figure how many Christmas presents they wanted to buy (and could afford to purchase!) for family members at our school-sponsored Holiday Boutique. I was so proud of them as they did their own shopping, wrapping and gift delivery to the special people in their lives. The gifts were notepads, shoelaces, buttons, etc., but the intrinsic value of each gift was so much more.
How do you encourage your children
to be more responsible with Money?
When it comes to money, now that I’m a mother the most important factor for me is to teach my daughters how to deal with and talk about money at a much earlier age than I did. Finding a financial system that worked for our household and getting my “avoidance” of all topics surrounding money in check, was a must in order to continue to accomplish this outcome.
My relationship with money is constantly being re-evaluated and definitely an ongoing evolution… yet because I’ve changed my outlook—I am more ready and able (albeit begrudgingly at times!) to address it. For now, I’ve seemed to find a good “financial groove”. How about you?
Leave a Comment: How do you discuss money with your spouse and your children? What is your best money management tip? What do you hope to instill in your children about money?
Teresa McCarthy resides in Long Beach, NY and is the mother of daughters Gracie and Anna. A former children’s librarian, Teresa is a stay-at-home mom who dabbles in the family business (the operation of 5 bowling centers) whenever she can. Additionally she volunteers for the elementary PTA, is a Mom-mentum board member, a Girl Scout leader for two troops and assists with many community fundraisers and events. Teresa is grateful for her supportive husband Jack and to live just a quick boardwalk bike ride away from her parents.