Money lessons from mom learned way too young with WSJ Secrets of Wealthy Women podcast host Veronica Dagher

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Journalist Veronica Dagher lost her dad as a young child and grew up watching her mom learn how to manage the family’s business and money. That experience inspired her to not only focus on her own finances, but to build a career around teaching women financial independence.

In Veronica's money story you will learn:

  • How the loss of her dad shaped her view of finances and forced her to learn about money management at an early age.

  • The financial grownup lesson that Veronica learned from her mother at a young age that has stuck with her

  • Learning how to handle your finances now is essential so you are ready and prepared if something tragic happens in your life

In Veronica’s money lesson you will learn:

  • How becoming financially literate can really help out your future self

  • The reasons Veronica is so passionate about women being financially savvy

In Veronica's everyday money tip you will learn:

  • Why she feels that having a positive money mantra that you tell yourself daily is so important

In My Take you will learn:

  • The benefits of askng your parents about their money experiences

  • How to leverage tough money experiences to make an impact that helps others.

Episode Links:

Check out Veronica’s stories in The Wall Street Journal

Follow Veronica!


Transcription

Veronica Dagher:
I would see her crying or upset or frustrated, and just wondering what was going on. I did hear rumblings of "So-and-so tried to, you know, con me into something." Or I would hear little bits and pieces of that once in a while, or some relative would tell me and, not really fully understanding, just knowing that things at times got nasty.

Bobbi Rebell:
You're listening to "Financial Grownup," with me, certified financial planner, Bobbi Rebell, author of "How to Be a Financial Grownup," and, you know what, being a grownup is really hard, especially when it comes to money. But it's okay. We're gonna get there together.

Bobbi Rebell:
I'm gonna bring you one money story from a financial grownup, one lesson, and then my take on how you can make it your own. We've got this.

Bobbi Rebell:
Hello, financial grownups. The voice you just heard was that of a friend of mine getting a lot of attention recently, because she co-created and hosts one of the hottest podcasts, not just in the business space, but among podcasts overall. It is called "Secrets of Wealthy Women," and, as she will share with us, it really all began with her mom. Welcome to all and, to our newest listeners, thank you for checking out the show.

Bobbi Rebell:
We try to keep the episodes short, but if you have more time, maybe you're commuting, at about 15 minutes each, the episodes are perfect to listen to a few of them, back-to-back, to fit your schedule.

Bobbi Rebell:
Let's get to Veronica. She is an award-winning senior wealth management reporter for the Wall Street Journal. She is also, as I mentioned, the co-creator, host, and co-producer of the top-rated Wall Street Journal's "Secrets of Wealthy Women" podcast. She interviews some of the most well-known women in the world. People like like Gloria Steinem, Bobbi Brown, and Rebecca Minkoff. She also co-produces and hosts videos for wsj.com and is a regular guest on the Fox Business Network and other national media, where she speaks about women, personal finance, markets, the economy, just about anything in the news.

Bobbi Rebell:
As you can tell, I am a huge fan of Veronica's, and I know, if you aren't already, you soon will be, too. Here is Veronica Dagher.

Bobbi Rebell:
Hey, Veronica Dagher. You're a financial grownup. Welcome to the podcast.

Veronica Dagher:
Thanks for having me, Bobbi. Great to be here.

Bobbi Rebell:
I have to first of all thank you because I had the honor of being a guest on your super-popular podcast, "Secrets of Wealthy Women," which you do through your job at the Wall Street Journal. And, just to give everyone a sense of how big this is, this is almost in the top 100 of all podcasts in the entire podcasting universe at this point. It's definitely in the top, I don't know, five or six business podcasts. Your guests include people like Bobbi Brown, Gloria Steinem, Bethany Frankel, a favorite of mine. And, of course, you had a special podcast around New Year's with myself, Jean Chatzky from The Today Show, Farnoush Cherobi from Oprah Magazine and her podcast, "So Money." I should say, Jean Chatzky also has a podcast called "Her Money."

Bobbi Rebell:
And we had Sharon Epperson from CNBC. We had Deirdre Bolton. And you, leading the pack, so congratulations on all of it.

Veronica Dagher:
Thank you so much. It was so great to have you on the show. I loved your episode.

Bobbi Rebell:
Thank you. And you were the co-creator of it. How did you come up with it?

Veronica Dagher:
Well, we came up with it, because we knows there's enormous wealth transfer going on in the United States, with an estimated 33 trillion dollar wealth transfer happening, and women stand to control a lion's share of that money. And I looked around the marketplace, and I didn't see a whole lot of products or content, so to speak, that spoke to women in an inspirational, relatable way. So we figured, "Hey, let's do a podcast that we can connect with women by shining the light on some very famous women and what they've done to advance their own careers and make smart decisions about their money."

Veronica Dagher:
And so that's why we said, "Let's really feature women who can serve as aspirational role models for women, and, at the same time, teach them a little bit more about advancing their careers and improving their financial health."

Bobbi Rebell:
You are such a role model. A lot of your success comes from early experiences in life, and the strength that you acquired from them, and some tough times. And you're gonna share a very special money story that has to do with a loss early in your life and how that shaped your view of the world and the way that you live your life.

Veronica Dagher:
That's right. When I was 11 years old, my dad died suddenly and left my mom a widow. She was in her 40s at the time, which is younger than the average widowhood in the United States, which I think is about 59, so she was in her 40s at the time, left with an 11-year-old and a 13-year-old, my brother being the 13-year-old. And she did not understand where our accounts were. She didn't understand how to write a check. She didn't know anything about the finances of the family at all.

Veronica Dagher:
And, when my dad died, she was left scrambling. He had businesses. He had different investments. And she didn't understand any of that, and so that meant, at the worst possible time in her life, she had to learn about money and investing, learn about personal finance. And so I have these memories of her sitting at the kitchen table with some of her friends and some of my aunts, them trying to teach her, "Okay, this is how you write a check. Let's open these account statements. Let's see where these different accounts are. Let's try to understand what's happening here. Here's what you have to do in terms of deal with the business now that he's gone. Here's what you have to do with some of the accounts and the money that he was owed as a business person."

Bobbi Rebell:
Wow. So you were in it together. What was his business?

Veronica Dagher:
He was a lawyer, but he had his own law firm, and then he had several real estate holdings and some real estate interests and, also, just some other consulting type work. And so he had a lot of different tentacles to what he, day in and day out. And he had a staff and all these sorts of things as well. And so it was a lot to manage and a lot to understand, not to mention the family's personal finances and understanding the different accounts and other assets he had acquired through those years.

Veronica Dagher:
And my mom really didn't know that much about any of it, and so she had to learn, like I said, at the worst possible time, and it was a really steep, difficult learning curve for her. And there were times when financial advisors who, some of them meant well, but then some of 'em were pretty shady, try to approach her and try to get her to invest in things that were completely inappropriate.

Bobbi Rebell:
Like what? Were you aware of it at this time? Did she share with you guys what was going on, or were you kept out of it?

Veronica Dagher:
Yeah, slightly. I think a lot of it's stuff I heard, after the fact, when I was a little bit older. But I would see her crying or upset or frustrated, and just wondering what was going on. I did hear rumblings of "So-and-so tried to, you know, con me into something." Or I would hear little bits and pieces of that once in a while, or some relative would tell me and, not really fully understanding, just knowing that things at times got nasty.

Veronica Dagher:
And understanding that, sometimes, money brings out the best in people, but also the absolute worst in people as well, and that you need to be careful with who you trust and who you give your money to. Luckily, my mom had enough sense to listen to her gut instinct, even though she wasn't exactly an investing pro at the time. She had enough sense to understand who was trustworthy, who's not trustworthy. She got that part of it. And so, luckily, she didn't make any bad investments and, you know, it's not exactly always how you wanna be spending your time, but, to her credit, she learned and she would ... Even when I was a teenager, she started telling me, 'cause she was getting more savvy as each year went on. And she said, "You need to be financially savvy. You need to learn this stuff, 'cause I never want you to be in the position that I'm in."

Veronica Dagher:
And she would almost lecture me, like, "You have to be a financially independent woman. You must. You can't rely on anyone. You have to understand all this stuff." And I was like, "Oh, why is she so adamant about this?" Even though I knew the history, I felt like, "Oh, things will work out." And she was like, "No, you always need to know where everything is. You need to understand how to write that check." And I think I ... I forget how old I was when I got my first checks. I wanna say, maybe when I went to college. But she sat down with me and showed me how to write a check. She sat down with me and emphasized, "You always pay your credit card bills on time. If you don't, and if you go over a certain amount, I'm not gonna bail you out. You need to be able to pay your bill on your own. I'm not a bank. This is your responsibility."

Veronica Dagher:
She was very much focused on making me a financial grownup, as you would appreciate. And she said, when I got my first job out of college, too, she said, "You max out your 401(k). You open up that 401(k), and you contribute as much as you possibly can. You just start doing that at 21 or 22, however old you are when you get your first job."

Veronica Dagher:
And I remember thinking, "Oh, no, it's so young." And she's like, "No, you have to do it." And I listened. I said, "Okay, I'll do it." And I didn't really ... I thought everybody was doing it. And it's only after the fact that I realized not everybody got that message, unfortunately, but, luckily, she gave that message to me, and that helped me.

Bobbi Rebell:
She was a great role model.

Veronica Dagher:
Really.

Bobbi Rebell:
What is the takeaway for our listeners here?

Veronica Dagher:
I think women should really try to become financially independent. Women themselves. And take ownership of their finances, and it doesn't have to be so overwhelming. But the point is not to have to learn at the worst possible time whether that's your divorce or whether you become a widow or some other situation. Maybe you don't even get married. You can't wait around for someone else to do it for you. So start learning. Take it, piece by piece. So maybe it's 10 minutes every week you spend learning about finance. You read an article. You read a chapter of a book. You join a group that talks about money and investing.

Veronica Dagher:
You take one small step towards becoming more financially savvy, so that way you are in control of what you own and what you owe and what you're invested in, and you can become more independent as time goes on. Now, even if you don't like it, that's okay. You don't have to love everything you do. You have to brush your teeth. You may not love brushing your teeth, but it helps you feel more secure, and I think, ultimately, many women, just from some of the studies that are out there, say their biggest fear is becoming a bag lady.

Veronica Dagher:
I understand, but one way to alleviate the possibility of that happening is to take a more active role in your finances. So think about your future self. Do this for her.

Bobbi Rebell:
Such great advice. Also great advice is your everyday money tip, which we talked about before we started taping. And I'm still thinking about mine. But share with us your everyday money tip, Veronica.

Veronica Dagher:
I like the idea of having a positive money mantra, however you say it. But having a positive message you say to yourself day in, day out. So, for example, a message might be, "I am good with my money." And the reason you wanna say a positive message to yourself regularly is, there's a good chance that maybe something from your childhood has told you a negative message about yourself, and that may or may not be true.

Veronica Dagher:
And so, if you wanna create a positive, more abundant future reality, I think it's very important to have a positive mantra that you can reframe your view of yourself and your view of money. Because if you keep saying the negative, it almost becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. But if you say the positive, I think you have a much better chance of achieving the financial abundance and success that you really want.

Bobbi Rebell:
So what is yours?

Veronica Dagher:
Mine is actually, "I am good with money, and I respect cash."

Bobbi Rebell:
I love that. Alright, I'm gonna give mine some thought. Before we wrap up, you have an e-book coming out. Tell us.

Veronica Dagher:
Yes. I'm super excited. We are doing an e-book based on the "Secrets of Wealthy Women" podcast here at the Wall Street Journal. And so we're profiling 20 women we've had on the podcast, talking about some of the inspirational stories that they have shared with us and giving some money and career tips, and that is slated to come out this March in e-book form on wsj.com.

Veronica Dagher:
So we're super excited about that and, hopefully, we'll have a lot more to share about that in the coming weeks, but I'm busy writing it, and I'm super excited that it's happening.

Bobbi Rebell:
I love it. I can't wait. Give us all your social channels and where people can find you besides wsj.com, which is where the e-book will be.

Veronica Dagher:
Yes. Thank you. So, on Instagram and Twitter, @veronicadagher, and on LinkedIn. I'm there as well, if you wanna contact me there. But Instagram and Twitter are the best places to get me.

Bobbi Rebell:
Thank you, Veronica.

Veronica Dagher:
Thank you for having me.

Bobbi Rebell:
Love all those stories. I'm still thinking about what my money mantra is going to be. Maybe everyone can share with me on social what you're thinking might be yours, at least maybe for 2019. Maybe we can all change them each year to kinda keep it fresh, but I'm thinking hard. I'll get back to you guys.

Bobbi Rebell:
Let's get to our tips.

Bobbi Rebell:
Financial Grownup Tip Number One: Talk to your parents about their money experiences. I was really touched by how Veronica's mom protected her from knowing everything going on when she was just too young to know everything. She obviously knew some things.

Bobbi Rebell:
But I was always so impressed that the mother-daughter relationship evolved, and her mom clearly communicated more as Veronica grew up about their experiences coping with the financial struggles connected to losing Veronica's dad at such a young age.

Bobbi Rebell:
Financial Grownup Tip Number Two: If you are looking to make a meaningful impact in some aspect of your life, look to the things that shaped who you are as a financial grownup, as Veronica has done with "Secrets of Wealthy Women." Veronica not only gained strength from her experiences, after losing her father, who was the breadwinner, she has now taken that to create something that will have a much broader impact.

Bobbi Rebell:
Thanks to everyone for joining us. If you have not, please do subscribe, and, of course, tell a friend. I wanna hear what has inspired your interest in learning about money. Follow me, and please DM me your thoughts on Instagram, @bobbirebell1. On Twitter, @bobbirebell, and you can always email at hello@financialgrownup.com. And check out my new show with Stacking Benjamin's Joe Saul-Sehy. It is called "Money in the Morning." It's in all the usual podcast places, and we tape live on Facebook Live. Go to "I Stack Benjamins" on Facebook, and you can set up notifications for when we tape. We take live comments, so you can be part of the show.

Bobbi Rebell:
And we will leave a link to that in the show notes, as well.

Bobbi Rebell:
Everyone, check out "Secrets of Wealthy Women," if you have not already. Big thanks to the fabulous Veronica Dagher for helping us all get one step closer to being financial grownups.

Bobbi Rebell:
"Financial Grownup" with Bobbie Rebell is edited and produced by Steve Stewart and is a BRK Media Production.