When I first started Freedom Sprout, I set out to read everything out there on children’s finances. I wanted to see what everyone was teaching, to see what I agreed with, what I didn’t (and why), what seemed like a great idea, and what seemed like nonsense.
I was open-minded, and honestly didn’t find a much nonsense, but I also didn’t find a lot of information on children’s finances in general. It’s not a common topic. Maybe we’re so worried about our own finances we don’t think to teach our kids. Or maybe we don’t think it’s appropriate conversation for children. The second reason is why adults get into bad financial situations: they were never taught (or talked to) about money.
A common theme among the children’s finance books I’ve read is to talk to your kids about money. Have the tough conversations. Don’t avoid them.
One way to have these conversations it to first understand how a child’s mind processes money — receiving, spending, saving, and giving it. These books exist to show you how to do that.
While I’ve learned the most from daily living with five kids, and through action, these books have been a huge help in teaching my kids about money.
This is every book I’ve read on children’s finances so far, a slight summary of each, what I thought about them, and the publisher description of the books that have one…
By Beth Kobliner
Make Your Kid a Money Genius is one of the most, if not the most, popular books on teaching kids about money. And for good reason. Beth goes into detail on working with your kids on money habits, citing multiple studies, with years of research.
This is honestly a must-read for any parent. You may or may not agree with all of her ideas, but the data doesn’t lie, and you’ll learn plenty of new things about your kids and relating to them with money.
By Dave Ramsey & Rachel Cruze
Smart Money Smart Kids was written by Dave Ramsey, and his daughter, Rachel Cruze. I’d say this book is tied for #1 in the world of children’s finances. I’m a fan of Dave Ramsey. Many are. Many aren’t. Whether you are or not, this book is a complete guide to kids and money.
The chapters on relating to kids with money are really great, but one of the most informative chapters to me is the one about getting a debt-free degree. Similar to Make Your Kid a Money Genius, this book goes into detail with studies and research to show you what has seemed to work and what hasn’t.
All of Dave’s kids are grown now, and they’re all doing great financially, without inheriting a bunch of money. There’s something to be said about how and what he taught his kids about money, and you can learn what that is in this book.
By Annette & Steve Economides
The MoneySmart Family System is a book, but like the title says, it really is more of a system. It gets much more practical than many other kids’ finance books. The Economides are know as the cheapest family in America, which may not sound like an esteemed title, but they will show you a side of frugality you haven’t seen — in a practical sense, not in an “eating cat food to save money” sense.
I really enjoy reading and re-reading this book. We’ve developed many of our household chores and payment systems around this book, but we’ve modified it heavily and created our own plan.
By Kristen Welch
Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World is a Bible-based book about a chid’s mentality in relation to material possessions and gratitude. Kristen goes over many of the misconceptions about how to approach children with things like gifts and spending habits.
I think this is an awesome mindset-shift book. Gratitude is a key to a productive Christian life, and it’s also a key to finding true joy and happiness. The world is trying to sell your child everything, and if you’re not actively combatting the marketing powers that be, your child could fall into the trap. Teach your kids to fight having a sense of entitlement.
By Holly Reid
Teach Your Child to Fish is a short, but packed, book. At just over 100 pages, it’s filled with ideas on everything from children’s spending and money habits to reshaping consumerism and helping your kids understand how they are and will be targeted by this consumeristic culture we live in.
It’s a practical book covering a wide variety of topics related to kids and money. There’s also an accompanying workbook you can go through with your kids to actively get them involved in learning about financial decisions. Talk about setting your kids up for success.
By Dave Stone
How to Raise Selfless Kids in a Self-Centered World is part of the Faithful Families series. This is another quick read, and it’s more focused on conceptual ideas and mindset rather than practical application. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of practical application, but the main idea is to reframe your kids’ thinking, and to break free from worldly thinking.
Dave Stone is a pastor and teacher. He’s also a concise and informative writer. You can blow through this book in a weekend, or in a couple weeks by reading just a few pages a day. I highly recommend doing so to help you raise kids that aren’t caught up in pure consumerism.
By Scott Palmer
The 5 Money Conversations to Have with Your Kids at Every Age and Stage goes into detail about five important financial areas to talk with your kids about. This book also covers five different money personalities of kids:
- Savers – “Rarely spends impulsively.” Also loves to collect things.
- Spenders – “Crave instant gratification.” They can do some serious shopping.
- Risk Takers – “Money decisions are all about adventure.” They tend to be idea people and they dream big.
- Security Seekers – “Understands the power of delayed gratification.” Wants all the information. Doesn’t like risk of any sort.
- Flyers – “Money decisions are all about the relationship.” They go with the flow and hate being controlled.
While this isn’t a must-read for everyone, it has a lot of great info on relating to kids about money. I do think it’s worth the read.
By Robert Kiyosaki & Sharon Lechter
Rich Kid, Smart Kid is about mindset. While there has been some controversy surrounding Robert Kiyosaki, I still think he’s one of the best teachers on financial mindset. You may not agree with everything he says, but this is still worth the read.
If you want your kid to think differently, and to not get caught up in the trap of being normal, getting a regular job, and living a regular life, I suggest reading this book. You may also want to read Rich Dad, Poor Dad to get a basis for Robert’s teaching.
On top of the mindset stuff, he also covers a lot of practical things like teaching your kids smart shopping habits, saving, and investing.
By Joe Correa
Rich Kids Made Simple teaches plenty of basic money skills for kids to know, but it’s nothing new. I would say, if you’ve read the other books on this list, you can skip this one. It’s the least detailed and least practical. The information is good, but it’s surface-level.
There are plenty of better books on kids and money, but I don’t think you’ll regret reading this one if you decide to, and it’s a short read.
By Janet Bodnar
Raising Money Smart Kids is a Kiplinger’s book. It’s along the same lines as Rich Kids Made Simple, with one exception: Raising Money Smart Kids does go into detail about a lot of practical things you can do to teach your kids about money. I also liked the studies on children and money. The book uses that information to explain money habits.
This book does have some good info on savvy shopping, so if you’re mostly looking to teach those habits to your kids, read this book. I don’t consider it a must-read by any means.
11. Teach Your Child the Value of Money
By Harold & Sandy Moe
Available in: Paperback (find it on eBay)
Teach Your Child the Value of Money is an older book, published around 30 years ago, but the information is broad enough to be relevant today. It’s more conceptual, but there is some practical advice as well. This book may be old, but the lessons are timeless.
The Moes give 10 different lessons, or elements, of teaching kids the value of money, and I’m actually planning to write an article encompassing all of these elements, so if you want to wait for that before reading this, I understand.
Also, if you decide to buy this one, remember that it’s fairly old, and not the easiest to find. I’d suggest heading over to eBay and seeing if you can find it for a few bucks (I think I paid $2.99 for it).
12. Growing Money
By Gail Karlitz & Debbie Honig
Growing Money is an investment guide for kids. It’s directed towards teens, and after I read it, I definitely want to make sure my kids are old enough before I give it to them.
It’s purely a stock investing book, and it dives into detail — to include some investment ratios and calculations. It ends by having your child start their own pretend portfolio with $10,000.
I read it with my 13-year-old daughter in mind, because she’s been asking a lot of investing questions. She’s reading it now, so I’ll have to report back later with her analysis.
Sometimes it dives a little deeper than I would expect for a book directed towards kids, but the best part is that it will bring so many questions, and open your child’s eyes to the stock market.
More Books on the Way
Between my wish list and what’s coming in the mail, I’ll be reading more soon. Every time I read another book on children and money, I’ll add it here. Around every fifth book I read is about children and money. If you have read some of these, let me know what you think. If you’ve read other children’s finance books not on this list, give your recommendations below!