These Dallas women want their daughters (and sons) to know more about managing and investing money than they did.

Perhaps because they are self-made millionaires, the Heaths go out of their way to teach their kids about money

. “My husband and I don’t want our children to be gravy-sucking rich brats,” says Jinger Heath, chairman of BeautiControl Cosmetics, the company she founded with her husband, Richard, 16 years ago. They have a son, Scooter, 21, and a 12-year-old daughter, Brittany. “We believe the absolute worst thing we can do for our children Is to give them too much.

I grew up poor, so I could easily say, ’Well, I never had it so they should.’ They want a fancy CD player? Well, let ’em earn It,” says Heath.

Heath has housekeepers in her lavish Park Lane home, the dream house she and Richard built 11 years ago. But she teaches her children to do housework-laundry, cleaning up. They have chores. She has even unmade beds and sent her daughter, Brittany, in to make them. She wants her children to be prepared for life.

“Her prince may not always be charming. Besides, indulged kids spend their whole lives trying to prove their worth,” says Heath. “Competent children feel the joy of their own accomplishments. If the parents are moneybags all the time, they’re in control.”

Heath thinks all children should be given allowances to equal their age. So Brittany gets $12 a week and Is responsible for saving for and buying certain things she wants, which helps her learn about choices.

Heath also teaches her daughter the value of what money buys. “I can afford to go shopping and not check price tags, but what kind of role model Is that for my daughter?” she says. “The question you have to constantly ask yourself is, ’Am I overindulging my child?’”

Heath wants her children to keep other people’s perspectives In mind-not going overboard on the cost of school outings and other activities, for example.

“If you are affluent, you can handle the extracurricular dollars,” says Heath. “But those are the things that put a real strain on a lower-Income family’s budget.”

Daughters especially need to know how to take care of themselves financially, says Heath. So Brittany can bet she won’t be getting a Rolex watch and a brand-new BMW when she graduates from high school. That’s what her husband should give her for an anniversary, says Heath, or better yet-that’s what she will be capable of earning for herself.

Elizabeth M. Lee, headmistress of the Hockaday School and a nationally renowned leader in women’s education, is often asked by parents what to teach their daughters about money. Because she has a daughter of her own (as well as more than a thousand young women to educate), it’s something she’s thought a lot about.

Lee believes that controlling finances is the final hurdle of the women’s movement. After all, women can be well-educated professionals pulling in six figures, but when it comes to managing their family’s money and investmerits, many still leave that to their husbands. Too often, she says, women give up financial responsibility because it is too tedious and boring.

“Even if you never wish to work,” says Lee, “part of being a responsible human being is being responsible for your own finances.”

The most important thing is to encourage girls to have control over all aspects of their lives, she says. Sixth-grade Hockaday students trade stocks in the stock market game; they are also taught to balance a checkbook In math class.

“As educators and parents, we try to instill in our girls a sense of confidence and independence,” says Lee. “That process is furthered when we ask our girls to be financially responsible as contributors to some of their major purchases. It’s especially important for those who are born into wealthy families and aren’t limited by what their families can afford.”

Thelma Wells, a professional speaker and mother of three, recommends starting early by first setting a good example yourself. Talk about money and appropriate ways to use it.

“Our children saw their father and me save coins, even pennies, in ajar,” she says. “Then they saw us giving in church. I feel we have a responsibility to give back to people who need it.”

Wells says you don’t give children everything they want regardless of how well you can afford to. For example, when her eldest daughter, Vikki, wanted expensive shoes as a teenager, Wells made her save up lunch money to buy the shoes. Later, in college, Vikki came home one summer determined to buy a Mercedes. She worked three jobs that summer and saved every penny. By September she was driving a 1962 Mercedes 190 back to the University of Texas.

Wells made a point of taking her children to the grocery store and illustrating what a food budget was: If they took packages off the shelves and plopped them in the basket, they’d have to put them back because mom had a certain amount of money for groceries that day. Each child did chores that included cleaning house and yardwork as a family responsibility, not for payment. For years. Wells was assistant vice president of NorthPark Bank, now Comerica Bank NorthPark. She taught her children about checking accounts when they were teens.

“I also tried to drive home it’s not how much you save but how consistently,” says Wells. “Get Into the habit of saving-that’s important.”

She and her husband also did not shield thelrThTidTeinrormTnsTEKes^or^fie^^ most part, the Wells children did not see their parents have major debt-even weddings were planned and paid for out of savings. But one time Wells overextended on credit cards. Using her example, she taught her kids not to be lured by credit as she had been, and thus far none of them has. Vikki (creator of “D on TV”) is a successful television and advertising promoter; she also has a home, a law degree from SMU, and has traveled around the world. Son George is a jeweler, and the youngest daughter, Lesa, is an entrepreneur who owns her own beauty salon.

Wells says it is good to have them on their own, but she believes parents should leave their children an Inheritance. Whether it is a well-planned trust or just well-used items, leaving children a legacy gives them an opportunity to do the same In later years and takes a little bit of the past into the future.


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