Raising Financially Fit Kids by Joline Godfrey
This informative and helpful book provides nearly all you would need as a curriculum of Personal Finance for your children and could be extremely useful. The author gives ten basic money skills (like "how to save" and "how to handle credit"). A child's "financial internship" is then divided into stages: ages 5-8, 9-12, 13-15 and 16-18. For each stage, the author provides specific ideas, books, movies and progressively more difficult tasks focused on each of the skills. She encourages parents to pick and choose activities appropriate to the family and the child, but to provide an opportunity for each child to become proficient in each money skill.
The book clearly states that money is a tool, not an end in itself. It is good only insofar as we use it to provide for our needs, some of our wants and to contribute to alleviating the sufferings or needs of others. I thought the author's attitude was sensible and generous.
Ms. Godfrey's book can help a family determine their own financial goals and then devise a plan to teach their children the skills to meet those goals, to make the family's financial plans transparent as children grow. I love the number of ideas. I love the number of books and movies sited to provide not only information, but opportunities for discussions. I think homeschooling families can take the ideas in this book and create a complete financial education plan, including activities that could be incorporated into a coop.
The ideas in the book are nearly always appropriate for families of little means as well as those of great wealth (though one chapter is entirely focused on children in wealthy families). One of her ideas is to gather a team of adults to help teach your children. I can see how this could be useful for us as there is not a single entrepreneurial bone in my body. I have no desire to start a business or encourage my children to do so, but I do recognize the value in knowing such things.
We've already made a change in our money management training. First Son received a small increase in his allowance. He now received $4 each week: $2 to spend (which he saves very well for large purchases), $1 to save, $0.50 to tithe at church and $0.50 for another charity. He's now responsible for putting his church tithe in an envelope and carrying it to church (or giving it to Kansas Dad, which is what I do with our tithe and First Daughter's tithe). Because it's now going from my hands to his hands to the envelope, it should be more clear to him that he's giving his own money at Mass each week. When he has about $20 saved in his charity jar, we'll help him research some charities and choose one for a donation. We're not sure what's going to happen with the save jar. Perhaps we'll open a savings account for him, or let him put it in the one his Papa opened for him, or perhaps we'll let him invest that money in some life stock of his own. The other big change is that all money he receives (for gifts, for extra chores around the house or at a grandparent's house) will be divided up between the jars. (Previously, any non-allowance money went right to spending.)
I'm also going to include financial literacy as one of our subjects each year. We'll probably do only a little, perhaps one or two lessons each term, but it will be in our plans and that will make it a priority.
My only complaint about this book is the design. I don't love the cover, though the pictures of children and young adults inside seem well done. Most difficult are the pages. The pages are thick, so they'll hold up well, but very reflective. I often found it difficult to read the words.
I can't say whether this is the best book to guide parents through teaching financial literacy to children, because I have only read a couple, but I believe it must be one of the best. It's certainly worth a bit of your time. It would be appropriate for parents, grandparents and any other adults who have children in their lives.