Having "the talk" with my daughter

Did you have a great Valentine's Day?  It is okay if not, after all, you still have  President's Day weekend before you. For a fortunate few of you this means three days off from work.

Among those blessed ones to have next Monday off are all the other humans in my house. Since I am working, I am going to take advantage of the situation and have "the talk" with my oldest, a tween. She is half way through her first year of middle school and quickly learning the ways of the world.

This won't be my first pass at the subject. We have discussed it before, but I get so frustrated with myself, stammering over how much information is too much information. 

How do you explain in simple terms without exposing too much?  I want to lay bare some basics, help her understand some of the risks involved, but without scaring her.  After all, it should be a rewarding experience. I don't want her to not run from it but embrace it.  

There are awkward moments in parenthood. But celebrating President's day is kind of awkward too, so I might as well sit her down and talk it out.  She only has her youth for a while and time is the one thing you can't replace and she needs to learn this now. It is time to have a serious talk.........................about investing.  

She has accumulated her allowance and now has enough in her kids account at the bank to think about putting some of it to work for her. Allowance and interest rates alone won't buy her a car in five years, or a prom dress in seven, and 529 plans don't allow payment for sorority fees.  

What has been fascinating to me when we have discussed investing before (like last December when the market was awful, and in light of January a good time to start) is how she has anchored on a balance she feels she needs before she puts some of it at risk.

It is such an arbitrary amount in her experience but there it is, exhibiting the same type of referential bias that plague so many of us. She has determined, in order to feel secure, she needs "x" amount safely in a bank and the number just happens to be a round number and not rooted in any type of rationality or experience.  

This type of behavior has financial consequence of course.  It is not gender specific, it haunts both men and women, but I happen to have daughters. As a parent, I am determined to equip my girls to build a financially secure life without depending on someone else.

According to a study from the National Institute on Retirement Security, women are 80% more likely to be financially impoverished than men. As a dad of daughters, this haunts me, so we will have the talk (again). In spite of the eye rolls and disinterest, I will continue to pound away until my girls learn investing must complement a healthy saving habit.

It is hard enough for women to overcome the wage gap, but investment returns are gender inclusive. Capital does not know the sex that provided it. So I will sit down and talk with my daughter this President's day, and we will imagine a future, where she reaps rewards of past risks taken. We will also look forward to a time, when women are among those we remember and honor on this, the most male-centric of federal holidays.