I travel like Rory Gilmore, with a variety of books to suit any whim that may arise during my trip:
I picked up Raising Financially Fit Kids at the library before our recent road trip and finished it pretty quickly. I really enjoyed it and will probably be adding it to my permanent collection. It has a TON of hands-on ideas for teaching money management to kids of all ages, so I can see myself referring to it often in the years to come.
The author, Joline Godfrey, has parents begin by thinking about their family’s financial values. What do you believe (and practice) about saving, earning, spending, giving, budgeting, investing, etc.? One thing I really liked about this book was that it was very flexible and adaptable – she acknowledges that some people (including kids) are natural savers (or hoarders), some spend everything they can get their hands on, and different families will have different views on how much to save, or charitable/philanthropic giving. So you take your values into account, as well as your child’s money personality, when thinking about how and what to teach them.
Then the book is broken down into four age ranges (5-8, 9-12, 13-15, and 16-18) and Godfrey goes into detail about what concepts kids are able to grasp at these ages and different activities for teaching 10 basic money skills. The skills are:
- How to save
- How to keep track of money
- How to get paid what you are worth
- How to spend wisely
- How to talk about money
- How to live a budget
- How to invest
- How to exercise the entrepreneurial spirit
- How to handle credit
- How to use money to change the world
She includes several resources for each skill so parents have additional books, websites, and organizations to look to for additional ideas. One idea I really liked was to ask others (whose money management you respect) to be money mentors for your child and spend time with them a few times a year to talk about or do something money-related, so that you’re not the only voice of financial wisdom in your child’s life. I also really like that she includes being intentional about teaching your children to be critical of media and advertising – this is a crucial component of wise money management and I think a lot of people overlook this. Because we are TV-free I am always aghast whenever we go anywhere with a TV (which is basically anywhere) at the number of commercials, and how pushy they are at encouraging materialism. Teaching your kids to view or hear ads through a filter of “Their motive is to take my money” will help them learn not to believe every marketing ploy that comes their way. For older kids Godfrey encourages research into some of their favorite brands to see what causes the company supports, whether their ads are degrading to women or other people groups, and deciding what kind of companies they want to purchase from.
This book is very thorough and well laid-out. It provides a truly comprehensive approach for teaching personal finance and money management to children and I can wholeheartedly recommend it.