Become a Mistress of Money this Mother’s Day

By Heather Compton

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

There is a Mother’s Day gift I wish I had the power to give to all the women I love and even to women I’ve never met. I would give them the gift of a title and all the qualifications and knowledge to go with it – “mistress of financial affairs”. Now I must admit the English language gives the term “master” a much more powerful and commanding sound of authority than “mistress” but I want my gift infused with feminine, not masculine power.

What did you learn about money from your Mother? I’m so grateful to my Mom, a fiscally prudent depression era Scot. She lived to her late 90s and raised four daughters to take an active interest in managing their own financial lives. Mom was always a believer a woman should have money to call her own and she regularly squirreled away a few dollars from the household allowance provided by my Father. Yes, he was a man of his times.

The White Knight

In my years as a financial advisor I saw women too often abdicate responsibility for their financial life. They told themselves creative stories such as “I just don’t have a mind for that stuff and my husband, boyfriend, or father just does a better job”. Some singletons believed there was a white knight out there, just around the corner, who would arrive to change or improve their financial situation. Many were understandably exhausted with all the other work and household responsibilities they carried or they felt that if they managed the day to day bill paying they could leave the big-picture financial decisions to their partner. Please don’t do it – off-load laundry or cooking or toilet bowls – never money management. A “right relationship” with money is too important – and it’s never to late to acquire it

Pick a label

We women hold many titles or labels throughout our lifetime – this month, of course, the first to come to mind is mother but we may also be a daughter, sister, wife, friend, teacher, student, employee – the list goes on and on. So many roles and their associated responsibilities! As we age, some of the labels fall away. We retire and are no longer identified by our work role, our parents pass and we are no longer someone’s daughter and as our mates pass or perhaps we divorce and we are no longer a wife.

The loss of these roles brings with it a lessening of some responsibilities but the responsibility to manage our own relationship with money gets even larger. Some long-established truths about women and money:

You will have fewer financial resources at retirement than a male counterpart.

You will live longer and will undoubtedly spend a portion of your retirement life alone.

You will be retired for more years.

You will take on greater emotional and possibly financial responsibility for aging parents, adult children and grandchildren.

A game changer

Let me ask a question. If you continue to tell yourself your current story about money and finances, will that story take you where you want to go in your life? If that story won’t take you there, what needs to change? How do you get there proactively, before you are faced with a financial game changer?  It starts with a road map. Where are you today? Know all of your household’s financial assets and liabilities and yes, your partner may well feel you are looking over his/her shoulder. Let’s reframe that for them – you two are a partnership and you are choosing to accept your share of financial responsibility.

It’s an investment

As mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends we know and value the returns we enjoy from an investment in our relationships. Let’s invest some of that time and nurturing attention to our finances. It will pay dividends and we will model a healthy and informed relationship to money to our children and grandchildren. Let that be your gift from a loving Mother.  Happy Mothers’ Day!

Heather Compton retired from a career as vice president and senior investment advisor with a major financial services firm and husband Dennis Blas, from IT management positions. Both have extensive experience in personal development and life skills programs.

Heather remains engaged in financial and lifestyle issues in her roles as presenter and facilitator of pre-retirement and financial literacy programs; Dennis continues to use his talents as technical guru in supporting Heather’s work. They are co-authors of “Retirement Still Rocks – Canadian Boomers Invest in Life” available from See their website at

One thought on “Become a Mistress of Money this Mother’s Day

  1. Good article. Probably the attitude that math is for the boys has compounded this harm. Don’t know if that attitude still is prevalent in schools but it was in the boomer era

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