Sisterhood Blog

For Teenage Girls, Lessons in Money Management

By Debra Nussbaum Cohen

  • Print
  • Share Share

It never ceases to surprise me when I meet other women, most of them women who have or have had professional careers, who let their husbands take care of every detail of their family’s financial life.

I guess feeling compelled to have control (and share decision-making with my husband) over my and my family’s financial life is rooted in my mother’s experience. When she and my father split up after more than 20 years of marriage, I saw that she had to unlearn a lifetime of messages about what it meant to be a woman in order to feel empowered to take care of herself, financially speaking.

It turns out that that model of what it means to be a “wife” hasn’t changed, or perhaps hasn’t changed enough. Because when they leave college and set out on their own, young Jewish women are often not able to manage their own financial lives, according to Deborah Rosenbloom, director of programs at Jewish Women International.

“Women in general don’t know a whole lot about money. They feel okay about it if their husbands take charge of the finances. That’s across the literature about American young women, but our focus is on Jewish women,” Rosenbloom told The Sisterhood.

Her organization, which focuses on empowering women and girls, is now bringing a financial literacy education program, called Life$avings that it has been running elsewhere in the country, to New York.

And they are targeting girls younger than ever with their message. While over the past three years they have been working with young Jewish women in college and in the early stages of their careers, now they are reaching out to girls in high school.

The first meeting of the New York seminar will be a brunch for teen girls and their mothers on Sunday from 11 to 1 at the JCC of Manhattan. Karen Finerman, CEO of Metropolitan Capital Advisors, will speak about money management.

“We found that young Jewish women have expectations of marrying a guy with a good career and that they would not be the main breadwinner, or that their father would take care of them in some way,” Rosenbloom said. “We thought about how we could change that.”

Three years ago JWI began a financial literacy program in Baltimore for women in college and the few years beyond. The organization has since brought Life$avings to Jewish women at other colleges and recently formed an alliance with Sigma Delta Tau, a Jewish women’s sorority, to take it to their campuses.

“We started thinking if how great it would be for teen girls to understand money before they go to college.” Rosenbloom said. “Women tell us that they don’t talk with their daughters about asset-building or how to budget,” she said. With the program kicking off on Sunday, “We want to start their conversations.” (More information and a registration form can be found here )

Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Deborah Rosenbloom, Financial Literacy, JWI, Jewish Women International, Karen Finerman, Money

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Find us on Facebook!
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach!
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.