Try to find some books on teaching finances to kids, and you’ll be surprised that not many exist. It’s not a popular topic.
Maybe this is part of the reason so many adults are now struggling financially. Maybe there aren’t enough authors who are qualified to write on the topic. Whatever the reason, don’t worry, because there are some great books out there.
It seems like the subject is growing in popularity. Most of the books below weren’t around five or ten years ago.
The lack of kid’s finance resources is actually the reason I started Freedom Sprout. I had complained about this lacking area of education for years, and one day it dawned on me that I could stop complaining and do something myself. It was a “be the change” sort of moment.
I’ve compiled this list of books, five for you to read and five for your children to read, to help fix this epidemic.
By Beth Kobliner
This was one of the first books I read when I dove deep into children’s financial education. Beth does a great job of citing studies for her claims (so many studies!), and she writes in a way that’s easy to follow and understand.
There are some topics that she explains first to you so that you can understand how to explain them to your kids, so don’t worry that you’re not going to understand the concepts she refers to.
Beth is gaining a lot of traction with this book, and I love how popular it’s becoming. Make Your Kid a Money Genius has been highlighted in the Washington Post 1, the Chicago Tribune 2, and on Today’s Parent 3. She’s been featured on several popular podcasts including The Art of Manliness podcast 4 and The His and Her Money Show 5.
Author Website: BethKobliner.com
By Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze
Smart Money Smart Kids is one of the most popular books out on teaching kids about finances. It was written by Dave Ramsey, and his daughter Rachel Cruze, so its popularity isn’t surprising. It came out in 2014, and it’s been spreading ever since.
If you’re only going to read one book on this list, read this one. It’s well written, the concepts are easy to understand, and it covers a wide range of topics.
The book starts with the concepts we need to teach our young children, and then it progresses all the way into paying for college, scholarships, and your children’s first job. The authors emphasize the value of work, the importance of good stewardship, and the significance of giving.
For an overview of the material, watch the extended video based on this book, when they taught the concepts at Gateway Church.
They’ve also released a program, similar to Dave’s famous Financial Peace University, to teach kids about money with toys, games, and other tools. You can find the Financial Peace Jr. Kit on Amazon for around 20 bucks.
By Steve and Annette Economides
If you’re looking for a complete system that goes step by step through the process of creating a money system for your kids, then this is your book. It takes a lot of diligence, and you may have to take some notes, but the MoneySmart Family System is the total package.
While the authors cover all the basics like college, insurance, and teen jobs, they also dive into topics that you won’t find in many other books on children’s finances, such as extra curricular activities, a complete system for paying your children, and how grandparents can help teach money skills. The book really leaves nothing unexplored.
The Economides, also known as “America’s cheapest family,” have been writing on children’s finances for years, and they have a few other books on cutting expenses and living frugally. I think I have a soft spot for their family since they have five kids, and I know what it’s like to be frugal with five kids. While I’m not sure I would like to be known as a “cheap” family, I understand what they’re going for, and our family follows most of their ideas.
Author Website: MoneySmartFamily.com
By Kristen Welch
As parents, we’re all trying to raise children who are grateful and appreciative of the things they have. We want them to leave home understanding that they have to work for things in life, and that it’s important to be thankful for what they have.
But that’s easier said than done, as we all know too well. Children aren’t born grateful. Children have a tendency to be selfish by nature. That’s why we have to teach sharing, and we have to teach giving. Sure, there are moments where kids seemingly want to do these things, but more often than not, children will do what makes them happy before worrying about someone else.
This book shows you how to use life as a teacher to raise children who are grateful for what they have. So much of the world has a “but everyone else has it, so I want it” attitude. Greed is prevalent in society. In fact, it’s a defining force of our society.
Kristen teaches how to use everyday conversations to guide your children into understanding gratitude. As the subtitle, How One Family Learned That Saying No Can Lead to Life’s Biggest Yes, suggests, we may be saying “yes” more often than we should. I am guilty of this, but this book shows you how saying “no” can actually lead to some positive long-term results.
Kristen, founder of The Mercy House, writes for LifeWay, HuffPost, and several other publications. Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World is gaining a lot of traction. It’s a short read, so I recommend either checking it out from your local library for a week, or getting the Audible version and listening to it on your commute to work.
Author Website: WeAreTHATFamily.com
By Dave Stone
You might be thinking this title sounds a lot like the last one, because it does. But it’s worth reading as well. It’s actually recommended in the last book.
Gratitude and selflessness go hand in hand, but they have their differences. Gratitude has more to do with how your children actually feel in their hearts, and how they express their thankfulness. Selflessness has more to do with how they demonstrate themselves to others through their actions, before anyone else has done anything.
So while Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World focuses on how your kids feel and respond, this book focuses on how your kids act towards others, and how they serve others. This is the first book on the list without an Audible version, sadly. However, at 160 pages, it won’t take long to read this one.
Dave Stone, Senior Pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, has a three-day series related to this book. He also writes for Faithful Gateway and Preach It, Teach It. He wrote a brief article on Today’s Christian Woman that reflects on this book. Whitney Hopler also wrote an article on Crosswalk that summarizes the practical applications from this book.
Though Dave is stepping down as lead pastor of his church soon 8, he plans to release more books and resources for parents, in the future. He has all kinds of resources available online, from the articles previously mentioned to sermons and sermons illustrations.
Author Website: Twitter
By Sheila Bair and Barry Gott
Rock and Brock are twins, but are very different. One day, their grandpa offers them a plan–for ten straight weeks he will give them each one dollar. But there is a catch! For each dollar they save, he will match it. If they spend it, they get nothing.
Now we’re moving on to the children’s books. And this is the best one to start with. Rock, Brock, And the Savings Shock was created to teach your children about money. Sheila Bair was the 19th Chair of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) during the 2008 financial crisis 9, so she had a prominent role in solving it. She went on to become president of Washington College. Not that it takes credentials like that to write a children’s book on finances, but she has the credentials to be sure.
This book is best aimed at children who are at least 2nd-grade level, but it’s great for older kids as well. I love children’s stories about good life habits, and especially the ones about money habits. This story teaches the concept of delayed gratification, money growth, and how you have multiple options when it comes to spending your money.
The office of the Vermont State Treasurer created a study guide for 3rd and 4th graders. You can download the PDF here. It goes right along with the book, and works to get your kids thinking about the concepts. Talk With Our Kids About Money also released a quick learning guide you can use. You can hear the book read out loud on YouTube before you purchase it.
Author Website: Twitter
By David Schwartz and Steven Kellogg
Have you ever wanted to make a million dollars? Marvelosissimo the Mathematical Magician is ready, willing, and able to explain the nuts and bolts — as well as the mystery and wonder — of earning money, investing it, accruing dividends and interest, and watching savings grow. Hey, you never know!
In this award winning book, the characters work many different jobs to earn an income. Marvelosissimo, the Mathematical Magician, takes them to the bank to explain what they can do with their money.
From counting their money to the basics of banking, this book dives into some deep topics in a childlike and relatable way for kids. David does a great job of relaying this complex information in a way that children can understand.
David published a brief study guide you can down in PDF format (here is a another version), that walks you through using the book to talk to your kids about important financial matters. There is also additional information in the back of the book on even more complex financial topics like investing and taxes.
There are a few videos of this book being read out loud… this is a good one.
Autographed Copy: Buy Here
Author Website: DavidSchwartz.com
By Sheila Bair and Judy Stead
The Nelly Longhair doll is on sale at Murphy’s Toys for ten dollars. But Isabel has only fifty cents. Isabel decides to start a car wash business; she’s sure she can make money. But at the hardware store she learns that her supplies will cost five dollars! If five of her friends will invest one dollar each, she’ll have enough. Will Isabel be able to pay them back and have enough left over for the Nelly doll?
Sheila Bair is on this list for the second time. To be fair, there aren’t a lot of children’s finance authors, and both of these books are great teaching tools. In Isabel’s Car Wash, kids can learn basic business concepts. If you start your own business, you have expenses to pay. It’s like running a lemonade stand.
For the young entrepreneur, this book can really help them understand what being an entrepreneur means, on a small scale. However, it can be translated to a large scale as well.
You can download a PDF study guide, created by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. This lesson plan is directed towards 4th-6th graders, but you know your kid best, and you know what they can understand. They also have some great questions and answers to use with your kids.
Here is a good video of this book being read out load.
Author Website: Twitter
By Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz
Last Sunday, Alexander’s grandparents gave him a dollar—and he was rich. There were so many things that he could do with all of that money!
He could buy as much gum as he wanted, or even a walkie-talkie, if he saved enough. But somehow the money began to disappear…
This is a more introductory book, for kids starting around age four. Judith teaches kids about input and output… income and expenses. It’s a great lesson about how money is finite, and you can read this one before your kids even start attending school.
No kid automatically understands the concept of spending money, even though it seems obvious to us as adults. A 4-year-old child doesn’t know the difference between having $10 and $100, until you start explaining what each amount can buy. Since it’s always better to learn from others’ mistakes than your own, let your kids learn from Alexander’s spending habits.
Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday was originally published in the 1970s, and it’s been a great money teacher for children ever since. I think it’s so popular because it’s easy to see the value that it teaches.
While there are many, here is a good video of this book read out loud.
Author Website: Wikipedia
10. The Penny Pot
By Stuart J. Murphy and Lynne Cravath
This is another great intro-to-money book. It’s part of Stuart’s MathStart series, which includes 62 other books — he has written around 80 books in total. The Penny Pot is a children’s storybook and a math schoolbook in one. Your kids will love the story and I bet they’ll be interested to learn about all of the money in the book.
The Penny Pot is suggested for kids 6-10 years old, so it’s great to introduce after Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday. Kids will start learning the different denominations of money, as well as some great lessons in spending.
This book doesn’t really require an additional study guide, since it’s basically a study guide in itself. But if you did want more study information on The Penny Pot, Teaching Books has some amazing resources for it.
Stuart J. Murphy has sold over 14 million children’s books. He has countless resources for teaching math concepts to kids on his website, MathStart.
Check out this video of the book being read out loud.
Author Website: StuartJMurphy.com
Over to You
- What are your favorite books on teaching finances to kids?
- What are your favorite children’s books that teach money concepts?
- Holbrook, S. (2017, March 28). Make Your Kid a Money Genius’ author explains how and why to talk to kids about money. Now..Washington Post.
- Stevens. (2017, February 24). 5 Steps Toward Making Your Kid a Money Genius. Chicago Tribune.
- Rivas, E. (2017, February 11). 6 Ways to Make Your Kid a Money Genius. Today’s Parent.
- McKay, B. (2017, April 20). Podcast #297: Making Your Kid a Money Genius. The Art of Manliness.
- Mcneely, T. Make Your Kid a Money Genius with Beth Kobliner. The His and Her Money Show.
- MoneySmart Family. 2008, August 21. America’s Cheapest Family Debut on National TV. YouTube.
- The Dr. Phil Show – Financial Tips and Tricks. MoneySmart Family.
- Novelly, T. (2018, September 16). Southeast Christian Church senior pastor Dave Stone is stepping down. Louisville Courier Journal.
- Source: FDIC: Board of Directors & Senior Executives