"My child, the entrepreneur."
Do you fantasize about raising your kids to be financially successful adults? At the very least, all parents want their children to become independent grown-ups who know how to spend responsibly, live within a budget and save for the future.
How do we get there, though? How can we inspire a healthy attitude toward money in our somewhat impulsive and irresponsible children?
Beth Kobliner has the answers. In her book, Make Your Kid a Money Genius, the personal finance expert takes parents on a journey of financial education, showing them how to turn inexperienced kids into miniature money geniuses.
The book takes off with a list of 14 rules for talking to kids about money. Many of these ideas are common sense, but as parents, we slip up too often and don't give these rules enough attention. They include suggestions like "Use anecdotes," and "Never fib about how much money you have on you."
When discussing money with children, it's important to strike the balance between honesty and TMI. To that end, the book also details a list of seven things you don't need to tell your kids, such as exactly how much money you earn and which parent brings home the bigger paycheck.
The core of the book is structured around money management concepts and is not based on age. It tackles topics like saving, debt, spending, insurance and more. Each chapter breaks down the subject into language kids can understand. It also includes a discussion on how to approach the topic among three different age groups, from preschool to adolescence.
In the chapter on debt, for example, each age group will be taught another aspect about this loaded topic.
If you're talking to kids of pre-school age, you'll focus on awareness — simply teaching them that the things you buy will cost money. You're not going to talk about interest rates and credit cards at this point, but you want your little ones to understand the concept of a money supply being finite and the need to make choices, plus the trade-offs of choices.
For the elementary school-aged kids learning about debt, you can begin introducing ideas like time costing money and credit and debit card security.
The oldest group of kids can handle deeper concepts like interest rates, credit scores and amortization.
Along with age-appropriate ideas, each chapter includes tips and advice for the adults — like don't give an 8-year-old your credit card!
While Make Your Kid a Money Genius will provide you with the tools to get the conversation started at every age and stage, it won't dictate exactly how to approach these loaded topics. If you're looking for a book that will do all the work for you, you may not find this guide to be sufficient.
However, thousands of parents have found this New York Times bestseller to be a fun, practical, and helpful tool. If you've ever found yourself dreading that inevitable "money talk" with your child, you owe it to yourself — and your kid! — to pick up a copy of Make Your Kid a Money Genius today.
Your Turn: How do you help your kids understand money and finances at varying age levels? Share your tips and tricks with us in the comments!