In our many attempts to empower girls, we tend to forget one of the most important tools that we can equip them with that will help them in the pursuit of their own independence. Having established that some of the factors that have chained women to abusive environments is the lack of access to their own income stream. Further on, even though some have their own sources of income, they do not have the financial literacy to manage their money and as a result, remain trapped in the environments that they find themselves in.
Teaching financial literacy from a young age enables us to inculcate within these girls a mindset that understands the importance of being financially savvy. Studies by the Girl Scouts (Girls Inc, 2019) indicated that only 12% of girls between the ages of 13 and 17 felt confident enough to make financial decisions. This is a cause for concern because irrespective of the opportunities presented to this group of people to start working towards their financial independence, most will pass on them.
Social trends have also become a threat to encouraging financial literacy. Although we have seen more young people taking up entrepreneurship and running income-generating businesses, the lifestyles portrayed on social media encourage a lavish lifestyle that costs more than most can afford (BBC, 2020). The lifestyles are flashy and inviting that they are hard to ignore. Children from disadvantaged communities are exposed to this and they make it the standard of achievement. They want that lifestyle at all costs that they are willing to engage in transactional sex in exchange for money and these luxuries. Instead of thinking, life-time investment, they are thinking, instant gratification, which we all know is the enemy to generational wealth (Bucknell, 2014).
Four Things To Promote When Teaching Financial Literacy
- Entrepreneurship – With the growing insecurity around the lack of jobs and Artificial Intelligence replacing human capital, it is recommended that adolescent girls and women begin to pursue the path of entrepreneurship and skills transfer that allows them the space to be innovative. Teaching young girls basic business management skills in the early stages of their lives will enable them to create long term business solutions that do not only impact their lives but of those around them as well, creating a legacy thereby slowly introducing and building generational wealth.
- Savings – Challenges are inevitable and rainy days are part of life. One needs to always be prepared for situations that they might not have expected to come across. Assisting young girls to open savings accounts will help them move from just a piggy banking saving system to a saving system that prepares them for the real world (Global Citizen, 2015).
- Investments – Whilst some savings may be investments as they earn you a certain interest if left untouched, they are mainly for emergencies and future purchases. (Saddock Wealth, 2020). Investments include the purchasing of assets you expect to make money for you, including bonds, stocks and real estate. While the girls might not be in a financial position to purchase such assets it is not too early to start training them on that platform.
- Budgeting – All the above are great tools but would barely work without good financial planning skills. Helping the importance of knowing expenses and various incomes. Learning discipline along the way.