Rarely do I recommend a resource after I have given its initial review. A new resource is released tomorrow I believe is so important, I am going to break my unwritten rule. One of the biggest sources of confusion for many Christians and of conflict in many marriages is the subject of money. Oh, God gives us pretty clear guidelines, but knowing how to put them into practice can be tough if not almost impossible for many.
Whether you constantly struggle with debt and finances or feel you have a good, godly grasp on the subject, you may wonder how to pass on skills for handling money, that will not only prevent your children from the stress of debt, but teach them how to use their money in godly ways. Smart Money Smart Kids is written by Dave Ramsey and his adult daughter Rachel Cruze. The book does one of the best jobs I have seen of not only explaining what money skills you need to teach your children, but exactly how to do it.
While written from a Christian perspective, this book is not a Bible study. Ramsey and Cruze make no attempt though to hide their beliefs or how those beliefs influence their decisions in life. My only minor disagreement with them from the faith perspective, is that they believe the common Christian idea of tithing ten percent. I wish they had done a little deeper study, because they would have discovered that in the Old Testament people actually gave much more than 10% and in some instances in the New Testament, Christians were selling everything they had and sharing it to help others. Personally, our family tries to operate from the viewpoint that everything is God’s and we try to spend it in ways we believe please him, which generally means giving away much more than ten percent. This is a stretch goal for many and our slight disagreement on tithing does not negate my enthusiasm for the book as a whole.
Perhaps my favorite part of the way Ramsey and Cruze give their suggestions for teaching good money skills to our children is that they have really thought through all of the possible angles. I have seen many parenting books trashed by critics who misunderstood the advice or followed it in ways not promoted by the authors. Ramsey and Cruze address this more than once. They give concrete examples of people they have met who have misunderstood and followed advice they never actually gave. The authors are even more helpful because they explain why going to that extreme is actually harmful to your child and re-emphasizing what the original advice would look like in practice.
From how to teach saving and budgeting to how to handle paying for college, this book is a great how-to manual for teaching your children about money. Strangely enough, my husband and I found Dave Ramsey after we had already instituted many of these same ideas with our own daughter. We executed a few of them in a slightly different fashion, but the principles were the same.
Our family has not done everything perfectly with money, but I will say whenever we stick by the basic principles the Ramsey clan promotes, things go smoothly. The principles work – we can testify to it. Not only do my husband and I avoid financial arguments, but we have raised a child who is incredibly hard working and extremely money savvy, while also being extremely generous.
If you can’t afford to purchase this book, borrow a copy from someone else. I think it is that important for you to read and follow. If you struggle with your own finances, Dave has plenty of adult resources to share as well. In fact, many of the tools you may need are available for free on his main website.
If you live in Atlanta and want to meet Rachel Cruze, she will be at the Books A Million at Discover Mills on Friday May 2, 2014 at 6 pm. My daughter and I plan to attend and would love to meet some of our Parenting Like Hannah readers. After you read the book, let me know what changes you made in your house to teach your children godly ways to handle money.
I was given a free sneak peek at the book by the authors in exchange for my honest review. I believe this is a must have resource for every parent.