Friday, June 13, 2014

Get your piggy bank in order

Dave Ramsey is know to millions of people for his radio and TV programs which help people get out of debt using "common sense" solutions to money problems.  His daughter, Rachel Cruze, has joined the family business and spends her time speaking to (mostly) young people in order to educate them about how to be successful with money and stay out of debt.  The new book Smart Money Smart Kids, a joint collaboration between father and daughter, is filled with strategies to help parents give their children a strong financial base so that they will be able to enter adulthood with a good knowledge of financial principles.

Anyone who listens to Dave Ramsey's radio program will be familiar with his story:  as a young husband and father, his real estate business collapsed and he had to declare bankruptcy.  As a result of this traumatic event, he developed his rules for dealing with money, including always do a monthly budget, never borrow money, be a giver, etc.  Rachel was only 6 months old when her parents experienced their financial collapse, but she grew up with the lessons her parents learned through bitter experience.

The chapters in the book deal with such topics as Work, Save, Give, Debt and Budgeting.  Both authors alternate with stories and advice in each chapter, so we get to hear from different perspectives.  I really like the way real examples are provided.  For instance, they recommend giving kids "commissions" for completing chores around the house, starting at about age 4.  This will help kids to understand the relationship between work and money, instill a sense of pride in a job well-done, and allow kids to experience the reality of using money they earned to buy something they want.   The toy they're after might not look so attractive when they realize how long they'll have to "work" to earn the money to pay for it!

There is also a very detailed and motivational chapter about paying for college.  The average student today graduates from college with $27,000 in student loan debt.  That means they are in debt before they even start their careers.  It should come as no surprise that the Ramseys are completely against taking out any type of student loans, so they give options for students and parents to consider to raise money for college, which includes lots of ideas no matter how late the project starts.

I really enjoyed all the practical and detailed advice and suggestions offered in the book.  With all the easy credit available these days, teaching children how to deal with money (and be happy with what they have rather than responding to all the marketing messages they receive) is a vital job for parents.  The guidelines offered in this book will make that job much easier!

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of Smart Money Smart Kids from the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for this review

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