Women Passing Intergenerational Financial Wisdom

Having been trailblazers in their respective fields, experienced women possess a treasure trove of wisdom and insights accumulated through years of navigating life's challenges. Picture by Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

Having been trailblazers in their respective fields, experienced women possess a treasure trove of wisdom and insights accumulated through years of navigating life's challenges. Picture by Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

Published Aug 21, 2023


In a world of rapid change and evolving economic landscapes, the importance of preserving and sharing financial wisdom within families cannot be overstated. It serves as a bridge between past experiences and future aspirations, grounding younger members in a foundation of practical knowledge and emotional intelligence. Intergenerational financial wisdom encompasses not only tangible financial skills but also attitudes, values, and lessons learned from past mistakes and successes.

Empowerment Through Knowledge Sharing

Having been trailblazers in their respective fields, experienced women possess a treasure trove of wisdom and insights accumulated through years of navigating life's challenges. By actively engaging in knowledge sharing, these seasoned individuals have a unique opportunity to empower and uplift younger women. Through candid conversations, mentorship, and guidance, they can provide invaluable insights into various aspects of life, including career paths, personal growth, and financial literacy. Sharing stories of triumphs and setbacks, offering practical advice, and imparting the importance of self-confidence and resilience can instil a sense of empowerment and inspire younger women to pursue their aspirations with newfound vigour. Here are a few stories to ignite your desire to share your own journey:

1. Eleanor's Story**: Eleanor, a vibrant octogenarian, recalls the lessons her grandmother imparted during their afternoon tea sessions. Her grandmother regaled her with stories of frugality, resourcefulness, and the power of saving. These lessons instilled in Eleanor a sense of empowerment as she navigated life's financial challenges with a shrewdness and prudence rooted in her family's history. She credits these lessons for driving her to build a successful confectionery store in her earlier days.

2. Maria's Legacy**: Maria, a retired financial planner, is dedicated to passing on her knowledge to her granddaughter, Emily. Their conversations are not just about numbers but about how in her early years, Maria navigated what remains a male-dominated industry even today. She is committed to helping Emily understand the ebb and flow of markets, the art of budgeting, and the importance of investing for the future. Armed with this knowledge, Emily enters adulthood with a sense of financial literacy and a career purpose that will serve her well in the coming years.

3. Rachel’s Resilience**: Rachel's grandmother, a survivor of economic downturns and personal hardships, became a beacon of resilience and determination. She shared her experiences of rebuilding after financial setbacks, teaching Rachel that setbacks are temporary, but the skills to bounce back are lasting. This emotional resilience fortified Rachel as she ventured into the world of entrepreneurship, learning to weather financial storms with grace.

Preserving Family Values and Culture

As we recount anecdotes of the past, traditions, and the significance of cultural practices, older women can bridge generational gaps and imbue younger women with a profound understanding of their roots. These insights not only instil a sense of identity and belonging but also equip younger women with the tools to navigate modern challenges while upholding age-old values.

Intergenerational financial wisdom is often intertwined with cultural values and traditions. For instance, Maria's family immigrated to a new country, and so her financial teachings to her granddaughter not only encompass practical money management but also honour the sacrifices and aspirations of their immigrant ancestors.

In rural communities, older women often impart wisdom about sustainable living, thrifty practices, and responsible stewardship of resources, which are profound when compared with modern and often harmful practices. These teachings serve as a testament to their connection with the land and the importance of preserving it for future generations.

Across generations, entrepreneurial women pass down insights into starting and maintaining businesses. These stories showcase the determination and innovation required to succeed while reinforcing the idea that women can achieve financial independence and create opportunities for themselves.

As stories of resilience, love, and tradition are passed down, a powerful tapestry of interconnectedness is woven, fostering a deep appreciation for heritage and an enduring legacy that transcends time.

Here are some practical ways you can begin the knowledge sharing within your family or circle of influence:

1. Mentorship Programmes: Avail yourself for structured mentorship programs where older women offer guidance and advice to younger women in personal finance, entrepreneurship, and navigating careers. Through one-on-one interactions, workshops, or group sessions, seasoned individuals can share their financial experiences and offer practical tips for budgeting, saving, investing, and planning for the future while also providing a safe space for open discussions about their experiences.

2. Storytelling in family settings: Organising family gatherings or intimate storytelling sessions can provide a platform for a family matriarch to share her financial journey and lessons learned. By recounting real-life experiences, both successes and setbacks, you can give relatable and memorable insights, emphasising the importance of financial responsibility, decision-making, and adapting to changing circumstances.

3. Joint Financial Ventures: Collaborating on small-scale financial ventures, such as family investment clubs or businesses, allows older women to guide younger generations through hands-on learning. This practical involvement in managing investments or pooling resources fosters a direct understanding of financial strategies, risk assessment, and long-term planning, all under the guidance of an experienced mentor.

4. Interactive Workshops and Webinars: Hosting interactive workshops or webinars tailored to financial literacy can engage both older and younger women. Older women can share their personal experiences on topics like retirement planning, estate management, and wealth preservation. These sessions can also provide a platform for younger women to ask questions, seek advice, and gain insights into the intricacies of financial decision-making.

These practical approaches enable the transfer of financial wisdom from older women to younger generations, nurturing a culture of informed financial choices and fostering a legacy of empowerment and resilience. Passing intergenerational financial wisdom is an act of love, empowerment, and legacy-building. Through stories of older women sharing their financial knowledge, we witness the enduring power of familial connections, cultural heritage, and resilience. In an ever-changing financial landscape, this exchange becomes a beacon of guidance, lighting the path toward financial literacy, security, and a brighter future for generations to come. As we honour and celebrate the role of older women as torchbearers of life and financial wisdom, we strengthen the bonds that tie us together as families and communities.

* Dube is a CFP® and Director and Wealth Manager at Wealth Creed. She is a practising member of the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa and is the Financial Planner of the Year 2022