Moving to New England in November of 1992 when Baby Girl and #1 Son were preschoolers made for a very long winter for this south Louisiana gal. I joined Crossings Book Club to pass the time and was sent my first book…not the one I ordered. They were gracious and told me to keep the first book and they’d send out the correct one the next day. The wrong book changed our lives and the trajectory of our family’s future.
It was Dave Ramsey’s ‘Financial Peace.’
Many years later we took ‘Financial Peace University’ at church. A few years after that it was offered to the youth and we paid our kids to go. Yes, you read that right. We paid them to go. We paid them to arrive early, stay late, participate in the conversation, attend every class, and do it with a joyful heart. It has turned out to be a great investment. Our kids are so against debt, so for saving, and so for tithing as adults that we can all sleep well at night.
Dave Ramsey and his daughter, Rachel Cruze, have authored a new book, Smart Money, Smart Kids, specifically to offer tools and ideas to parents of how to raise children into becoming adults with peace in their finances. When we taught our kids about finances, it was a lot like throwing spaghetti against the wall and hoping something sticks. After reading the book, it looks like we did OK.
The meat comes at page 64.
- They write brutally truthful about the dangers of Student Loans. I think this college generation is shackled from doing what God has called them to do because of Student Loans.
- They share that saving for our retirement should be just as, if not more important, than saving for their education at a young age. Kids should have a dog in the hunt when it comes to financing their college lives.
- They share that 3-6 year olds can learn that money comes from work when they earn commissions (not allowances).
- They share that a clear jar is good enough to save their commission money until little darlin’ is 6 years old. Commissions are paid weekly.
- They share that the envelope system of GIVE, SAVE (which is really ‘just a bigger, slower Spend envelope’), SPEND can be started at 6 years old and used until they turn 13. At 6, they no longer need Dad’s quarter to drop in the offering plate, but the contents of their own GIVE envelope. A $5 commission paid in one dollar bills are budgeted with $1 in give, $2 in save, $2 in spend. John D. Rockefeller once said, “I never would have been able to tithe the first million dollars I ever made if I had not tithed my first salary, which was $1.50 per week.”
- They share that although online giving may be more convenient for the church and the household, ordering checks to write the family’s tithe and letting your kids see you give each week (or pay period) when the offering plate is passed is a ‘powerful visual statement.’ Christian giving is regular, biblical, and part of who we are as a family.
- They share how to choose a college. This is awesome information for parents of tweeners and teens and worth the price of the book alone.
- They share at 14 years old, kids can begin their own businesses. #1 Son had a lawn business called “Mow, Blow, and Go.” Baby Girl baby sat. Ramsey/Cruze give their own examples and ideas for small businesses for teens. They teach that teens can write a budget and graduate from an envelope system into a real checking account and how to pull that off for without scaring the daylights out of the parents.
I think my favorite line comes at the end of the “Contentment” chapter: “With every act of giving, your child is taking a stand against discontentment. It’s like he’s saying, ‘I not only have enough for me, but I have enough to share with you.’ That’s fertile ground for contentment.”
Smart Money, Smart Kids is an easy, quick read. There are teen budget forms in the back and scripture references throughout. I would suggest this book to every parent of kids of every age….especially those with teens, because it’s not too late. And I am praying that a couple in my church will step up to lead a Sunday School class this fall for parents to take one chapter at a time each week, if for no other reason that to get me to shut up about the power of the tools in this book, because we are better together. Teaching our kids about God’s way of viewing money can only serve to be a great blessing to our families and our families of faith.
“I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down.” Nehemiah 6:3