Guest Post: How To Help Your Daughter Become Financially Fit

Today’s guest post is from Joline Godfrey, author of Raising Financially Fit Kids, Our Wildest Dreams: Women Making Money, Having Fun, Doing Good; No More Frogs To Kiss: 99 Ways to Give Economic Power to Girls; Twenty $ecrets to Money and Independence: The DollarDiva’s Guide to Life.

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Read Joline’s post on Finance and Fashion…I get calls from moms (and dads too) who are trying to turn young fashionistas into independent girls who are as astute about their money as their fashion profile. And whether the daughter has limited means, or a healthy trust fund, moms often say:

“No one talked to me about money when I was a girl and I want my daughter to have more knowledge, confidence, and self awareness about the subject than I did–what can I do?” Answering that question was one reason we created Fashion and Finance/NYC, coming up later this month (it’s not too late to register).

I’ve been developing out of the box financial education programs for way longer than I’ll admit in print. My interest started when I was doing research for my first book (Our Wildest Dreams: Women Making Money, Doing Good, Having Fun) and realized that had anyone talked about money with the women I interviewed when they were girls, their lives would have been different. For sure their choices would have been different.

The question was, how to begin? How to get parents to see their daughters, not just as adorable and darling in that perfect little dress, her Brownie uniform or her prom gown (Nora Ephron really nailed the trajectory of our lives in Love, Lost and What I Wore), but as economic beings, young women who would have the power, knowledge and confidence to make important financial decisions and have economic impact.

For most people a conversation about money is right up there with the pleasures of a root canal–why would any sane parent, managing the competing claims of life, work, children, marriage, etc…CHOOSE to bring the topic of money to the table? A long time ago I understood that asking parents to add another layer of complexity to their already full lives was too much. My company, Independent Means, was borne of an understanding that parents needed help in this area–not more tension with their kids. A full description of how we offer help to parents is available in my NEW book (Raising Financially Fit Kids), but perhaps more relevant to Posh Mom readers is how we got to Fashion and Finance/NYC and what that means for today’s mom–as well as her daughter/granddaughter/niece (it’s a two-gen program for girls and their mom/aunt and/or grandmother).

“How”, I was asked one day, “do I turn my daughters on to business and money? They are so NOT into the conversation!”

In one of those quick intuitive flashes we all get occasionally, I said, “Let’s go’back stage in the fashion industry and use that as our platform for learning about money and business.”

At the time I had no idea what I was talking about–and no one who knew me well would have chosen me as a designer of anything connected to fashion But the research that followed that impulse was so exciting, and so illuminating, that Fashion and Finance has become one of our centerpiece programs. A few highlights will explain what I mean:

  • That first year–and ever since–I’ve been calling on my girlfriends who are also fashion entrepreneurs to tell their stories: from the owner/CEO of Claire’s, Marla Schafer, to Ranjana Khan, the designer/entrepreneur whose imaginative jewelry is worn by Michele Obama. These women, in sharing their individual journeys, help illuminate the differences between running a mass market retail business and high end coutoure. And their stories are about more than business–they are about dreams and struggles and discovery and self empowerment.
  • I’m blessed to have in my circle, women who’ve gone through the rigors of business school and circled back to fashion. They run killer sessions that help explain the difference, really, between the $15,000 Chanel bag and the $150 Kate Spade purse; the difference between those $500 shades and the $25 version you buy at Target. And Jenny Van Leeuwen Harrington, a really brainy, stylish, investment advisor is returning to take us through a case study that explores how to think about investing in the fashion world. She is way more entertaining than any other more conventional class on ‘investing’ I’ve ever seen.
  • Using the arts to connect fashion and finance is easy in NY. When Love, Loss and What I Wore ran off-broadway, we went to that and used it to spark a session on the influence of the arts on the business of fashion. This year we’re going to the Met and will tour the new Punk: Chaos to Culture exhibit as part of the program.
  • And of course the connection between fashion and foundations is also part of the story–from micro-enterprise in Ruanda to Kick-Start efforts to raise funds for great causes, we look at the impact of fashion on philanthropy.

Each year the fashion and Finance agenda is a little different. But what is the same, year after year, is the way women and daughters, granddaughters, and nieces get a chance to explore their own inner entrepreneur; how they acquire language that gives them confidence and inspiration to go away and learn more, try more, do more in the service of their own financial fluency and economic empowerment.

And, because one of our best sessions is a roundtable of very cool people in the fashion industry, this is my chance: Posh Mom: will you consider joining us for dinner at this year’s Fashion and Finance?
About the Writer:
Joline Godfrey is the CEO of Independent Means and an innovator in financial education for children and families. Originator of a unique developmental, experiential approach to financial education, her work gives families new tools for developing their human capital and raising children growing up in the midst of abundance.

Godfrey is also the author of Raising Financially Fit Kids, Our Wildest Dreams: Women Making Money, Having Fun, Doing Good; No More Frogs To Kiss: 99 Ways to Give Economic Power to Girls; Twenty $ecrets to Money and Independence: The DollarDiva’s Guide to Life.

Godfrey is a graduate of the University of Maine and Boston University (where she received an MSW) and was awarded an Honorary Degree in Business from Bentley College in 1995. She was a Kellogg Leadership Fellow and the recipient of the Leavey Award for Excellence, as well as the Beta Gamma Sigma Entrepreneurship Award. Recognized in features for The Today Show, Oprah, Fortune, Business Week, The New York Times, and more, Ms. Godfrey is a frequent speaker and consultant worldwide.


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