3 Ways Women Can Build Financially Healthy Families – A Female Advisor’s Perspective

May 7, 2024

My grandfather unexpectedly passed from a heart attack while milking cows at 50 years young, and my grandmother became the sole provider for four children and chief financial officer for 60 cows and 700 acres.  

This is not an anomaly. A 2022 Bank of America study found that 94% of women and 88% of men “Believe that most women will be personally responsible for their finances at some point in their adult life.” ¹

My grandma rose to the occasion. She paid for colleges and weddings, retired on time, privately paid for her long-term care, and left a financial legacy. My most treasured part of that legacy is the strong and financially independent woman she raised – my mother. Like my grandmother, my mom took over financial management for our family and farm.

Not only did my mom and grandma become family financial leaders, uncommon for their generations, but they cultivated virtues like generosity, moderation, perspective, and patience in the next generations, myself included.  

Of course, with intention and discipline, anyone can impact the financial freedom of the next generation. But according to a recent Bank of America report, “Over the next decade, $30 trillion in US wealth is expected to be transferred to younger women, per BofA Global Research. This wealth is already starting to be passed down, and that will soon mean that women control more money than ever before….Much of this will move from Baby Boomer men to their wives and children.” ²

McKenna Clifford

Wealth Manager

McKenna Clifford elevates the people around her, guiding clients through comprehensive financial, estate, and tax planning to help them be financially free. As a Wealth Manager, she advocates for her clients’ best interests and is passionate about serving as a dedicated partner for women.  

 McKenna earned her bachelor’s in agricultural economics from Purdue University and her master’s in agricultural and applied economics from Michigan State University. As a mother raising her family near their 4th generation farm, she understands how to protect a legacy.  

 McKenna is the president of Image of Hope Ranch, the treasurer for Auburn Main Street, a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and a dedicated volunteer for the local 4-H program. When she’s not serving clients, you can find McKenna riding UTVs, gardening, or tending to her 50+ chickens alongside her family.  

“I am so blessed to partner with my clients in their financial journeys. I am especially passionate about helping women feel comfortable and confident financially.” 

What are you most proud of?  

 My daughter. She impresses me every day with the knowledge she gains and the way she rules the world around her while loving so many people unconditionally. 

 What’s the best trip you’ve ever taken? 

 A study abroad trip to Ireland during my time at Purdue.  

 What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to do?  

 Travel through Alaska. 

As a female financial advisor, here are three ways I believe women of all life stages can build financially healthy families:  

1. Discuss finances and introduce your family to your financial partners

As a Wealth Manager, I encourage clients to start talking with their children and loved ones early about finances and investing. One of the most rewarding and memorable meetings I’ve had was with my clients and their three children, ages 12 to 19. 

A few months prior, we invested the kids’ savings into the stock market. In our meeting with them, we discussed how the accounts had changed over time and the companies they owned stock in. Their father emphasized to them that they made money without any manual labor! For farm kids, that was a change of pace.  

We also dove into a mini economics discussion around supply and demand, how geopolitical events impact the stock market, and the importance of investing early to take advantage of compounding interest.  

The 12-year-old was the most engaged and asked the best questions, and the children left the meeting excited to keep saving and investing.  

The conversation that day reminded me of the many discussions my mother had with my brother and me about our investment accounts growing up. I cannot wait to have those same conversations with my children to help them understand early the power of financial freedom. 

As a mom, wife, aunt, daughter, or sister, talk to your kids or family members about basic financial literacy, why financial freedom matters, and what it looks like to get there. Your advisor or other financial professionals can be a great resource.  

2. Create opportunities for kids and loved ones to earn, budget, and invest, even from a young age

The most rewarding aspect of motherhood for me is raising truly good, wholesome humans. My husband, Devin, and I feel strongly about helping our daughters cultivate a healthy relationship with money. In our efforts to encourage financial virtues in our kids, we have started the first of many financial experiences.  

The first revolves around earning, investing, and giving. Within the first few weeks of welcoming our firstborn, we purchased 35 chickens and established “Letty’s Layers.” At two years old, my Little Miss Independent would go to the coop to collect eggs by herself. After tithing to a local non-profit, the profits from her business established her first investment account. As she gets older, Letty will take on more responsibilities for her chickens and for determining the recipient of her tithing. 

Another financial virtue we hope to instill is patience. Like many children, Letty’s favorite errand to run with Mommy is grocery shopping, and she is quite disappointed whenever it is pick-up only. I enjoy taking her into the store every so often for the learning opportunity of budgeting. When we go, I give her a budget she can spend on snacks. Showing her that she cannot have every snack she wants and that some snacks will have to wait until next time sets a foundation to help her manage her finances someday.   

Talking to your loved ones about earning, saving, and investing is the first step, but creating engaging experiences that allow them to earn, save, and invest encourages even more growth.  

3. Set an example & share your experiences

Seeing my mother and grandmother embrace their roles as financial leaders has forever impacted how I interact with money and how I want my kids and family members to do the same.  

Consider these additional statistics:  

  • “Nearly half of women say they feel confident about their finances, yet only 28% feel empowered to take action on them.” ³
  • “The majority of women report they are doing well managing their day-to-day finances, but [they] are struggling with saving for emergencies, saving for retirement and building wealth. And 1 in 5 women say it is time to make a change to their finances.”

If you are not where you want to be financially, start today and let your loved ones witness your journey. There is so much they can learn from your leadership, courage, discipline, and action. 

Building Financially Healthy Families

The amount of stress associated with money and finances is mounting and becoming an even bigger problem in today’s “keeping up with the Joneses” society.  

Raising your children and encouraging your loved ones to have a healthy relationship with money is worth more than any dollar value you could give them.   

Start having conversations early, create encouraging financial experiences, share from your own life, and never be afraid to engage your family with your financial partners.  

Perhaps the “generational wealth” that matters most is the principles and virtues of a financially healthy lifestyle passed down to your loved ones.  

To talk to McKenna or another advisor about your family’s financial health, fill out the form below.  

  1. Bank of America Corporation, “Women, Money, Confidence: A Lifelong Relationship,” 2022, 9. 
  2. Bank of America Institue, contributor Taylor Bowley, “The Rising Wealth of Women,” March 13, 2024, 1-2. 
  3. Bank of America Corp., “Women, Money, Confidence,” 3.
  4. Ibid. 

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