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Books For Parents About Kids & Money - Essential Reading

Money books about children at How we Montessori 2020

I've put this post off for a couple of weeks because I don't like to talk about money. It's why I really needed to read these books. All of these books, written by financial experts, suggest that children can learn about money (and the concepts around it) from the age of around three and some suggest that the most impactful period to learn about money is before the age of seven! So what conversations should we be having with our children? I wanted to know more!! It turns out that learning about money is so much more important than I first thought as it's also about learning about family values. Here are four books on children and money that I would recommend! I absolutely loved the first three.

The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money by Ron Lieber.

This is a good book to read if your children have ever asked "Are we rich?" or "Are we poor?", "How much money do you make?" or "How much money do we have?". The author tells us to be transparent with our kids about money but how do we do this in an age appropriate way and in a way that doesn't cause or increase anxiety?

I absolutely loved reading this book as it gave me lots of insight to how other families manage allowances, children's bank accounts, savings, generous grandparents, the tooth fairy, children's wants vs needs, family spending rituals and how to discourage materialism.

I don't enjoy talking to my children about money but now I feel more prepared to answer their questions. I love that the author advocates for a child led approach, the children and their curiosity drive the process. There is also some focus on delayed gratification and how we can provide opportunities for delayed gratification in our homes which I find is super important in our fast paced world. 

"I want to help all of you recognise that every conversation about money is also about values. Allowance is also about patience. Giving is about generosity. Work is about perseverance. Negotiating their wants and needs and the difference between the two has a lot to do with thrift and prudence. And running through all these conversations is a desire for kids to have perspective - to know why they may have more than most people in the world but will probably never have more than every one of their peers. And why there is no shame in having more or less, as long as you are grateful for what you have, share it generously with others, and spend it wisely on the things that make you happiest." - Author Ron Lieber.

Reading this has opened my eyes to the importance of discussing money and family finance, it's more than about money it's also about equality (or inequality), education, careers, vacations, leave, housing, clothing, phones and technology and giving. It's all stuff that kids need to know about and will assist them in future decision making. Even if I don't agree with the author and the example families on every point, it has given me a lot to think about.

Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze.

The authors include financial expert and bestselling author, Dave Ramsey and his daughter Rachel Cruze and much of this book is about their family. As Dave and his wife went bankrupt just after Rachel was born, there is a story here to learn from. 

Dave doesn't believe in allowances so on this I found this perspective unique. The book includes discussion between Dave and daughter Rachel so you are able to get each of their views on all of the topics. It almost feels as if this is a conversation between the two that we are listening in on. It is super interesting to hear the two perspectives and Rachel is more than appreciative of the way that she was brought up. This book has an overwhelming positive and doable tone. Dave and Rachel's advice feels like a gift.

This is a straight-down-the-line, no-nonsense, common sense book but it is what we all need to read. Dave provides advice that establishes a clear path for setting our children up for financial success. There are some biblical references in here too but they are not off-putting or overbearing. Out of all the books that I read this is the one that has motivated me to think that perhaps we can save and put a little more money into investments.

Dave and Rachel cover all the usual topics like saving, spending, allowances, getting a good deal, goal setting, wealth building, giving, entitlement, budgeting, creating teachable moments, debt, major purchases like cars, college and contentment. Perhaps this section on contentment is most worth reading, after all isn't that what we are all looking for and wanting for our children?

I thought the section of letting your child make financial mistakes was interesting and in line with Montessori thinking. "I firmly believe that a lot of people make huge, expensive mistakes as adults simply because they were never allowed to make small, inexpensive mistakes when they were kids. Many parents try so hard to protect their children from the pain of hard lessons that they never develop the wisdom and toughness that only come by experiencing failure." - Author Rachel Cruze. 

Overall this is a great read and I'm grateful that I had the opportunity (and time) to read it while my children are still quite young.

Make Your Kid A Money Genius (Even If You're Not): A Parents' Guide for Kids 3 to 23 by Beth Kobliner.

This is a clean, factual approach to children's money and finance. It is less about a parenting and more about teaching children the facts about credit, debt, investing, insurance and so much more. It begins with 14 Rules for Talking to Your Kids About Money followed by 7 Things You Don't Need to Tell Your Kids About Money. Unlike other authors Beth doesn't recommend sharing everything like your salary with your child. The author shares her expert opinion on all of the topics with lots of tips and tricks included. It is of course easy to take the advice you like and leave what you don't. 

Although this book covers all ages I found it most useful for older children. The chapters are broken into six age groups: Preschool, Elementary, Middle School, High School, College and Young Adult, so it is super easy to find the information that is most relevant to you. And this book will grow with your child, or you can look ahead and prepare for the future. I read the book in it's entirety because once I started reading I couldn't stop, I kept on thinking about my children getting a part time job and what that might look like (my eldest is 12yrs).

I loved the example of teaching older children how to read a payslip, I remember my first payslip and not knowing what a lot of it meant. Even terms like net and gross I didn't understand until adulthood. These are skills that we can give to our children that are real, practical and are skills for life.

Beth also addresses delayed gratification which seems like a big point in learning about finances and is something we can start with in toddlerhood but perhaps is also important for those older children who are becoming more influenced by social media.

 “Waiting and being able to delay gratification is one of the most important lessons kids can learn about money and in life.” - Author Beth Kobiner.

The Everything Kids' Money Book: Earn it, save it, and watch it grow! by Brette McWhorter Sember.

I've mentioned this book as I want to include one that the children can read themselves. My eight and twelve year old children have read it. It is a good book to reference when researching a specific topic or the children can easily flip through it and read the bits that appeal to them. It is a good conversation starter. Like all of the books I've recommended, it is based in the US. It has been helpful for me as a parent to use it when looking for easy ways to explain things, like interest, to my eight year old.

I hope you enjoy these recommendations. 

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