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If you're a parent looking to deepen (or just start) your conversations about money with your kids, then The Opposite of Spoiled should be your next book to pick up.
It's the latest release from NY Times columnist Ron Lieber who has extensively covered families and finances.
If you haven't read any of his previous work some of my favorite recent columns are:
- Letting the Kids in on the Charitable Giving Conversation,
- Elmo and Sesame Street Teach the Basics of Spending and Saving, and
- Teenagers Do Not Need Smartphones, So They Should Pay for Them.
Teaching Your Kids About Money and Values
With the Opposite of Spoiled, Lieber discusses how parents teach not just the basics of finances with their children, but help them use money as a reflective of positive values such as generosity and entrepreneurship.
It can be intimidating to have your kids come up to you an ask blunt questions about money. Unprepared we may be tempted to deflect or distract, or tell them that they're too young to understand.
Lieber shows how money can be a valuable teaching tool, one that can help children learn how to take care of themselves, their own families in the future, and their community. The Opposite of Spoiled has plenty of studies and stories from families dealing with issues that parents are faced with on a daily basis.
There are plenty of opportunities such as allowances where parents can explain why it's important to save, how to spend money wisely, and where kids can give wisely.
Moving Beyond The Money Talk Into Conversations
For some parents, they may feel that talking about money is strictly about checkbooks and budget, but The Opposite of Spoiled does a fantastic job of
I appreciated Lieber's focus on developmental milestones rather than giving hard and fast rules about when to discuss certain money topics. Let's take for example allowances.
Do you tie to household chores or is it a gift for the kids? Lieber suggests looking at it as a teaching opportunity where you allow your kids to learn from you about the basics and have them gain practical experience on a limited scale.
He then breaks down how you can start off with a conversation about needs and wants. Young children can appreciate that there are some things, like toys, that are wants and then there are important things like food.
As they get older all of you can start thinking of wants and needs not as completely separate columns, but as a scale. Food, shelter, and the essential clothes on one end and name brand clothes, electronics, and games on the other.
Conversations can then move beyond the obvious and instead looks at where to draw the line on where a particular purchase falls.
Thoughts on The Opposite of Spoiled
I highly recommend that you check out The Opposite of Spoiled as it does a thorough job of tackling some of the trickier situations of raising a money smart kid. Lieber offers practical advice, ideas on how to start, and good deal of research so you can find the best way to teach your kids about money and more.
I'd love to hear from you – what are some of your child's biggest money questions? How have you talked to them about your values and money?