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What Motherly Advice Did You Receive About Money?

By Marie Burns May 14, 2023 Managing Money

In the month of Mother’s Day, it is appropriate to think about and appreciate mothers as well as other women who play important roles in our lives. Women we admire have had an impact on us in many ways. I was in a women’s group discussion the other day, and they were sharing money memories. I noticed how many of the memories were tied to what they remember being told by a mother or grandmother.

Some Words of Advice

The messages were all over the board. One woman shared how her aging mother reminded her not to give away all of her inheritance. Another recalled always being told not to accept any money from a grandmother for helping around the house, “just be nice and do it because you care.”

And the young woman facilitating the discussion remembered how her mother cautioned her not to judge a woman she had just met just because she’s “rich.” Have you ever thought about documenting stories and advice you want to share either with your kids and/or grandchildren?

The Confidence Gap

We have talked in the past about how our childhood environment, memories, and stories usually had more impact than we often realized on our money habits later in life. Which can also be why a couple of recent financial industry surveys have identified a “confidence gap” between men and women.

Being in traditional roles, deferring in order to avoid conflict, and feeling that husbands knew more than they did, led many women to feel less confident than men.

Now’s the Time

The pandemic prompted the research and one survey, by UBS, found that 63% of women said that Covid affected how they now think about money. Another study by Fidelity revealed that 67% of women are now more engaged and putting more effort into managing their finances. Now is the time we need to make sure we have our financial house in order in case of an unexpected life event.

Expect the Unexpected

Sometimes, we need a wake-up call, a disruptor, a gentle (or not so gentle) reminder that life IS full of changes and unexpected events. In the spirit of always trying to find a silver lining (practicing Positive Intelligence) and seeking an opportunity in every obstacle, we must plan for the worst and expect the best.

Lessons Learned

One estate planning attorney I know listed 9 things unexpected circumstances can teach us. I found the top three to be most helpful to think about:

Although It’s Never Too Early for Estate Planning, It Could Be Too Late

Sudden hospitalization is the exact “too late” example. If you don’t have power of attorney documents in place before you end up unresponsive in a hospital bed, life gets a lot more complicated when it comes to treatment and payment for care.

Crisis Management

Thinking about something and actually taking action to put documents in place are two different things. We often cannot prevent the catastrophes that can occur in life, but we can put things in place that can protect our family should they occur.

You’re Not Too Old (Or Too Young) for Estate Planning

Less than half of Americans have a will in place. The percent is even lower for those under the age of 30. And yet those are often the ones starting families with a spouse and children to protect.

Worry Less

I am a fan of living in the moment, enjoying each day, and being mindfully grateful for the present. Yet I am also in the planning business because I think you can actually treasure daily life better once you have put the things you can control into place.

Putting things into place is what brings peace of mind. We can’t add another moment or month or year to our life by worrying. So, I believe in taking the worry out as much as you can by planning for things you can control and then shifting to a daily focus on gratitude instead.

Heed Your Own Advice

The other day, I was expressing my frustration to a colleague about having too many meetings on my calendar and feeling stressed. She calmly asked me who put those meetings on my calendar. It was me. She said “Ok, so stop doing that!” Ah, so easy to say but not so easy to do!

The good news is that it is all about what we decide. Our mind and our self-talk that leads to action is determined by us. Sometimes we need to mother ourselves and listen to our own advice!

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What do you recall learning from your mother or grandmother about money? Has a specific event prompted you to do anything you have been putting off? What advice can you share with our community?

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Rosamund Sheppard

Here in the UK Mother’s Day was on the19th March. My mother always told me just don’t have what you can’t afford and never get into debt. My father said whenever you do have money be sure to put at least a little away for a rainy day. These messages were repeated often as my sister, brother and I grew up.

Marie Burns

Live within your means and save, great advice!

Lisa N.

I was born in and grew up in the 50s. My mother never talked to me about money. She assumed I would have a husband who would take care of all that (as my father did for her). I never chose to marry and always earned my own money. Now I’m 70 and financially secure. But I wish I had known more about finances when I was young.

Marie Burns

Lisa, I think there were many women who experienced your mother’s assumption and situation. Whether single, divorced, or widowed, times have changed so women must prepare, like you did.

Lisa N.

Yes, times have changed. Thank goodness! 😄


I learned about money and finances by reading; learned nothing about it from my mother. I made a point of teaching my children from the time they were toddlers. Both of my kids are great at handling their own finances but do still ask my opinion. As far as wills and medical documents, many people don’t want to spend the money to go to an attorney. Buy Suze Ormans Will and Trust kit, which for under $75.00, you can prepare a will, trust and medical/power of attorney documents (and it’s exceptionally easy). You can revise anytime and share the program with friends and family. At the very least, you can write or type up a Last Will and Testament (no legal mumbo jumbo needed) and get two people to witness your signature and sign it with their address and phone number or get it notarized which is legal in many states. The witnesses cannot be beneficiaries. That’s what my mother did when she died over 30 years ago and the probate office accepted it with no issue. Don’t wait until it’s too late!

Marie Burns

Kim, your children were lucky you took the bull by the horns to their benefit! And thank you for your last piece of advice, “don’t wait!”

The Author

Marie Burns, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), advocates for women’s financial health. She is an author of a financial checklist book series, speaker, podcast host and partners with clients to offer friendly financial advice in her independent practice Visit her at or

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