Money Talks Part 1: What Were Your First Experiences With Money? Love? Hate? Meh?

Carolyn Leonard Money Talks, Resources from DyMynd Leave a Comment

At DyMynd, as part of our Money Talk Blog Series, we have been asking women when they first began to learn about money, and gain financial knowledge. Through our research and talks with women across Chicago we have found out so much about how women feel about and relate to money. In this three part reflection we will discuss what we have learned from talking with women about money and finances.

Part I:    Their early experiences with money
Part II:  Key money messages that drive their relationship with money today
Part III: The current landscape of women’s relationship with money

Women have had a wide array of experiences with money therefore it is worth continued exploration in these changing times. DyMynd did live texting at two of our last events over the past month, 136 women responded to the question:

“How would you describe your first money experience?”                    
  • 31% responded positive
  • 28% negative
  • 23% neutral

For me, my mother taught me about investing and stocks when I was a child, for another woman it was her grandmother who encouraged and nurtured an interest in the market by having her and her sister “pretend” to buy stocks that led to a career in the financial services industry.  Growing up thinking about investing is a great early financial exposure for children. Coming from an environment that teaches that there is a way to have money working for you so you don’t have to work as hard, for as long, is a real advantage.

Some of the women who responded to our question about early money experiences from the DyMynd research had a great sense of independence from earning money as children or teens. One woman fondly remembers working in the family business and feeling a sense of pride and freedom from earning money as a child. Another recounted her work history as a young teen and spoke about the sense of freedom she felt by her experiences babysitting (tax free income) and working in a mall. Our early childhood and teen experiences informs how we view work and money throughout our lives.

We have met and talked to a lot of entrepreneurial women over the past few years and their stories are wonderful, funny and inspiring. One young woman talked about her burgeoning Kool-Aid & lemonade stand and her diversifying into bubble wrap at a penny a sheet “to pop” as being one of her fondest childhood memories. Other women had grueling paper routes that taught her responsibility and value of showing up no matter the circumstances. That same woman reminisced about the winter weather having to be blizzard conditions before her Dad would drive her brother and her to deliver the papers, thus teaching her to weather any storm in order to get to work.

The DyMynd respondents overwhelmingly talked about saving money as young children and women, whether it was babysitting money, paper route money or even money gifted to them by the tooth fairy. They also talked about being aware of sales and “last call” sales! Saving money as women can’t be stressed enough! We are dinged by the “pay gap”, we take time out of the work force to be caregivers, and on the upside, we live longer than our male counterparts so we need to be saving about 18% of our incomes. I know this is a challenge but it is also a habit that we need to get into.

As we will talk about in our next reflection. many of the women respondents had strong money messages when they were growing up that resulted in some pretty smart money behaviors at an early age, but the journey to healing their relationship with money still continues.

In part 2 of this series, we’ll talk about past money messages that drive our relationship with money today. Then, Money Talks will transition to focus on a new topic: angel investing. Click here to share your thoughts below!

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