WTOP Interview: 6 Ways Fathers Can Build Healthy Money Habits in Their Children

Interview Transcript:

Shawn Anderson: 5:11 on WTOP. Fathers and other male role models play a vital role in developing healthy money habits in children by talking to their kids about money and teaching them some basic financial management skills. Fathers can still instill positive financial habits that can last a lifetime.

Hillary Howard: Well, let’s get some advice for dads with Dawn Doebler, co-founder of Her Wealth and Senior Wealth Advisor at The Colony Group in Bethesda. Hello Dawn!

Dawn Doebler: Hello!

Hillary: So, what are some of the best things dads or any really older male role model can do to help build the financial muscles of their kids?

Dawn: We know, in honor of Father’s Day we want to acknowledge the importance of really all parents role in talking to their children about money. And it’s really easier than it sounds; you can integrate these money lessons into everyday life. So, we wrote an article that gives you six ideas on how to do that. And we’ve talked before about ways to accomplish the first idea, which is to spark an interest in investing. So, we think the best way to learn about investing is to actually invest some money. You can work together with your children to identify investments, maybe a stock in their favorite food restaurant or clothing line or a car manufacturer or a mutual fund that focuses on something of interest to them, like technology or a socially conscious investment. And really then help them invest a small amount of money because that teaches them how to place a trade, read the daily quotes and read news related to that investment.

Remember if you have teenagers with job income, you may want to do this through a Roth IRA, because then they’ll earn everything tax free and they can use that money towards college tuition.

Shawn: Alright. Well, those kids become college kids and then they become adults, what other ways fathers can have a positive influence on their adult children when it comes to money?

Dawn: Well you know, even an adult children benefit from another person’s opinion about how they can face money challenges. And with adult children, I think our idea number two works, which is to share examples of your own success and failures. Share your real life stories of your own money dilemmas and tell them how you got started, what’s worked for you and talk about your mistakes and your success. Also remember to acknowledge, it’s natural to have fears about money. So, I think it’s helpful if parents can talk to their children about fears that they’ve faced and how they’ve pushed through that to earn wealth for themselves.

Hillary: Typically girls are more fearful about money than boys. So, do dads have a special role sitting down with their daughters to help work through this?

Dawn: Well, we think so Hilary, definitely. I have a theory actually that females talk less about money than males. So, if your father with a daughter, please talk more to her about and seize opportunities to talk to her about money. And that’s certainly one of our Her Wealth goals, is to break the taboo about money conversation. And one of the easiest ways to do this is to encourage questions. And they may ask something that stumps you, so you may be able to research and learn together. For college age daughters, I suggest that you help them choose electives that are related to finances, maybe an intro to investments, personal finance or economics.

In here I want to use myself as an example and say that I’ve really benefited from positive influence of my own father. He supported my efforts to continue my education even when I was home with my kids. And remember that working women still have the wage gap; we’ve talked about that before. It’s difficult to overcome that, a parent support can really help her find ways to do that. And breadwinner women or those in nontraditional careers can really appreciate a cheerleader who can give her strength to break through barriers that she may encounter. So, a parent’s role is really very important, start by taking control of your finances and modeling good behavior around your money every day. 

Hillary: Awesome Dawn. Thanks so much. That’s Dawn Doebler, co-founder of Her Wealth and Senior Wealth Advisor at The Colony Group in Bethesda.