My husband and I were blessed to be raised in families where we were taught godly values about money. We were trained to spend less than we earned, keep debt to a minimum, save money for unexpected expenses (and expected large ones) and give a good bit of our money away to Church and charity.
As single people, we continued these careful ways. When we married, it was easy to pay down the little debt we had and become debt free. Once our daughter entered the picture, we quickly introduced her to the concepts of work, saving and giving.
So, when we found Dave Ramsey, it wasn’t because we needed to change anything we were doing, but we wanted some fun, informative materials on financial topics to use while homeschooling our daughter. We stumbled upon him through his radio show and purchased his teen video series. As I have mentioned before, our daughter absolutely loved it. She was probably in middle school at the time and would jump out of bed every morning and race to put his dvd in and watch it.
When my daughter heard Dave Ramsey and his daughter Rachel Cruze were looking for people to help them launch a new book helping parents with younger children, she suggested I apply. I am so thankful they accepted my application (They only took 150 some out of 700+). It allows me to share with you this must-have resource for all parents.
Smart Money Smart Kids (If you click on this link and give them your email address, you can read the first two chapters for free!) is a wonderful, practical guide for teaching children the important life skills needed for handling money. Not in an effort to make them wealthy (although that could happen), but in order to train them to deal with money in godly ways.
Ironically, we had already instituted some of their suggestions in slightly different ways before we even knew about the Ramsey clan. I can promise you, training your children to budget with multiple envelopes (or piggy banks in our case) and encouraging them to work and earn the spending money they need will develop great money habits in your children. (Although the book adds so many more great ideas.)
Our daughter will be leaving for college in the fall. I am not at all worried about how she will handle money. She has earned the money to purchase her phones and computers since a young age (Our rule is big presents are only for Christmas and birthday. Anything you want in between must be self-financed.) She has had her own checking account for several years and can online bank with ease. Her debit (no need for credit) card allows her to shop without carrying large amounts of cash and has taught her to keep careful records of spending. She has even applied for dozens of scholarships and has a rough plan for financing her college education.
The full book is not released until later in April (the 22nd). Reading the first two chapters now will give you plenty of material to work on with your children until then. I will give you a little piece of free extra advice as you read the first two chapters. The best case scenario is for you and your spouse to agree to operate under the principles in the book with your children, unless you both agree to disagree. It makes teaching children a lot easier if the message is consistent from both parents.
If you and your husband disagree on financial principles, now is the time for the two of you to have some very serious discussions. Read the Ramsey materials for adults. Get Christian counsel if necessary. One of the biggest stresses on marriages is financial disagreements. It is vital you and your spouse operate from the same financial principles as quickly as possible.
While reading the book, you may be tempted to tweak the plan. There is something in every parent that is resistant to parenting advice. If you and your husband are debt free, have money saved for important expenses and emergencies and give a healthy percentage of your income to church and charity, then tweak away. I still believe you will benefit from the framework the book gives for educating your children about finances in a systematic way.
If you and your spouse struggle with debt, saving or giving, I would advise you to stick to the Smart Money Smart Kids plan as written. The Ramsey clan may not have the only plan that will work, but their suggestions will definitely work if done as written.
Enjoy the first two chapters and let me know what you think. Also mark your calendars, if you are in the Atlanta area. Rachel Cruze will be signing the book at Books a Million on Sugarloaf Parkway on Friday May 2, 2014 at 6 pm. My daughter and I were privileged to hear Rachel and Dave speak last fall and she is just as funny and informative as he is. (Actually, don’t tell Dave I said this, but she might even be a tad better!) Let me know if you are coming and I would love to meet you too!
The authors have given me a sneak peek at the almost published book for free in exchange for my honest review. I know this stuff works and highly suggest you try it with your children.