Money-Smart Kids: Teach Your Children Financial Confidence and Control (eBook) - Book Review

We all want to handle our money better, and most of us (I would guess) didn't really have parental lessons on how to manage money well. I know I learned by watching my parents spending/saving habits. Gail Vaz-Oxlade has just put out an eBook called "Money-Smart Kids: Teach Your Children Financial Confidence and Control" to help parents consciously teach their children about money management. From toddlers to teens, every child can practice smart saving and spending - it's never too early or late to start. (Parents/readers of this ebook can gain some tools and tweak their spending habits.)

Gail separates the eBook into several parts with explanations and ways to incorporate the money lessons into everyday life. She talks about how to use money jars and percentages (techniques for management from her show) to 1)Save 2) Share and 3)Spend.

The first topic that Gail covers is Allowance - with the objective being to teach money management skills. Allowance should be based on the child's age, with no strings attached, and not linked to grades, behavior, chores, etc.

Credit is a hot topic in many families with maxed cards and many people buying things that they want and may not need. Children watch parents in stores and a lot of us aren't showing a great example of conscious spending. Gail suggests having children make a faux credit card complete with a contract drawn up by parents outlining payment cycles and interest charges. She stresses the importance that the monthly interest must be high to teach kids the reality of having a credit card. Children can shop with their parents using their faux credit card (with a monthly maximum) and parents can write the kids charge receipts for re-payment to parents. Once children move onto college they will be swarmed by credit card companies and this exercise may help to prepare them.

Saving is probably the toughest part of money management. Gail uses the ABC's to teach the steps involved in saving well:

A) Automatic savings - 10% of allowance right away
B) Bury the money - put it in a jar and keep it out of the wallet
C) Consistency - save 10% every time

If kids won't save then Gail also includes advice on what parents can do.

Spending is very easy to do in our society where the media bombards us with images of products. Gail talks about how these images can become tied into children's self-esteem and push them to want to spend. She feels that shopping should be done consciously and not as a hobby.

HarperCollins contacted me and sent a complimentary copy of the eBook for review. I enjoyed the eBook and I would recommend it to parents (and any adult who wants simple tools to manage money). I'm going to re-read it and implement the techniques within my family.

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