Wednesday, July 23, 2014

BookLook Review: Smart Money Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze

I’ve always wanted to read one of Dave Ramsey’s books. I jumped on the chance to review the Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money book written by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze as soon as I saw it posted on the BookLook bloggers availability list. I knew that I would be a huge fan of his work! I can't remember learning much about money management skills as a child in school or at home. I want to teach my daughter, Alyssa, how to manage her money in hopes to avoid the same financial mistakes my husband and I made in our 15-year marriage. I only wish I had this information in my hands years ago. 

The content in the book is geared towards increasing the financial literacy of our children. It's meant to guide you as you teach your children the skills that will literally CHANGE your financial legacy and their lives as adults. You will hear anecdotes from both Dave and Rachel’s perspectives and memories. They share how these principles were applied to their lives and explain how to implement the strategies into your life. 

About the Authors
Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He sold numerous copies of his four New York Times best-selling books including Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. 

Rachel Cruze is a seasoned communicator and presenter who has been speaking to large groups for nearly a decade. She’s the daughter of Dave Ramsey. She uses her knowledge and experiences from growing up in the Ramsey household today to educate America’s students and young adults on the proper ways to handle money and stay out of debt. 
Book Description
Financial expert and best-selling author Dave Ramsey teams up with his daughter, Rachel Cruze, in order to teach parents how to “raise money-smart kids in a debt-filled world.” In Smart Money Smart Kids, the authors equip parents to teach their children how to win with money starting with the basics like working, spending, saving, and giving. More challenging issues are addressed such as avoiding debt, paying cash for college without going into debt, creating a wedding budget and plan, and battling discontentment in the second half of the book. Dave and Rachel present a no-nonsense, common-sense approach for changing your family tree. They discuss the principles of good money management for children as well as giving the reader plenty of stories of what life was like for the Ramsey kids. 

My Thoughts
This well-written book presents information in a practical way using a natural, conversational tone. It is a guide that teaches you how to discuss money management skills with your children and teaches you how to train them to handle money at an early age. The book was interesting and packed with insightful references. The 258-page hardcover book contains student budget worksheets for older children which are included at the back of the book. Smart Money Smart Kids is chocked full of useful information that will help parents train their children to make wise financial decisions in the future and to have strong work ethics. I agree with the authors about the importance of teaching these concepts at a young age not only through discussion but by modeling your behaviors and being a good example. Children do learn more from what you DO than from what you SAY. Let them catch you in the act of handling money properly. We really need to practice what we preach with regards to money habits.   

After reading this book, I have gained a much greater understanding of how to teach my daughter to be a good steward of her money. The handy and modifiable suggestions will instill values in her character while teaching her to be financially responsible. I love that the authors tell you it’s better to teach your children how to handle money now while they live at home rather than later when damage has possibly already been done. The ideas presented begin with a more hands-on approach for younger children leading more towards independence as children get older and mature. They give sound and insightful advice making it easy to start your children off on the right foot. The authors emphasize staying out of debt while finding a financial balance. They also explain the importance of teaching your children with grace. I especially appreciate the content found in chapter 10 with regards to parenting after or during a divorce. They encourage parents to remain unified with the goal to teach money smart skills and to cooperate by following the same principles in each household.   

I thought reading a book with two authors would be a bit confusing. This was NOT the case with this book. Each author was identified in bold print before they began writing. They took turns writing in sections. The use of two different fonts in the book (one for Dave’s writing voice and another for Rachel’s writing style) helped me keep track of each author's perspective. Dave definitely presents his ideas in a straightforward, to the point approach while Rachel’s writing style seems more personable as she reveals stories of life growing up as Dave’s daughter. Her stories added in a little humor making the book have a more light-hearted, softer feel. The writing styles of this dynamic duo balanced well with one another.      

First, a concept is clearly introduced and thoroughly explained to the reader. Then, Dave and Rachel organized the suggestions into different age groups. They discuss how to apply that concept into our children’s lives using age-appropriate examples. For instance, they encourage parents to use clear containers with younger children (age 6 and under) as they learn how to save their money. It allows them to see the money grow over time. We are using Dave's clear envelopes from the Financial Peace kit. Children between the ages of 6-13 begin setting financial goals and start saving for a special toy they want. My daughter is currently saving for the Frozen Karaoke CD. Older children between the ages of 14-18 will learn how to save for bigger ticket items such as a used car or college tuition. 

I already started implementing the strategies into our life. A couple months ago, I purchased Financial Peace Junior with intentions to utilize this system with my six-year-old daughter. It sat on the shelf collecting dust. I can happily say that this book has motivated me to begin teaching Alyssa. We recently started the envelope system using her piggy bank money. First, we made a list of age-appropriate chores that she would be willing to do. We categorized each chore as either a “paid commission” chore or a family expectation. I love that Dave uses the term “commission” instead of “allowance,” because it eliminates the idea that children are entitled to a certain amount of money that they expect us to give them each week.

The plan is to give Alyssa the opportunity to diligently work towards earning $5 a week. She’ll decide how much goes into each envelope with a minimum of 10% going in the GIVE envelope. She was fascinated with finding percentages and using them to figure out how much money she will place in each of her envelopes. I remember when I first asked her how much she wanted to give from what she earned - she said 75%. I am glad that she has a generous heart! She’s eagerly budgeting and learning how to handle her money. I am most thankful for having the opportunity to review this book!  

Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money can be purchased for $24.99. Amazon is selling the book for $ 17.56.   

Note: All prices are subject to change. 

highly recommend this valuable book to EVERY parent with children ages 18 and younger. This is an absolute must read that I encourage you to read as soon as possible. It will be one parenting resource that you won't regret purchasing. You will be more informed which will enable you to teach your children how to handle money properly. It’s time to bless your children with the knowledge that will help them have a more successful future. I also recommend that you obtain the Financial Peace Junior and use it with younger children. The authors do make several biblical references that you may or may not agree with depending on your Christian beliefs. 

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary, free copy of this book from the publisher as part of the BookLook Book Review Program in exchange for an honest review on my blog. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
I review for BookLook Bloggers

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