In this blog post I’ll be reviewing Smart Money, Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze. I’ll be sharing what I liked about the book and nine lessons I took away from it. If you want to teach financial literacy to your children, I would recommend this book as a great starting point.
It covers everything from working, spending, saving, and giving, to more challenging issues like avoiding debt for life, paying cash for college, and battling discontentment.
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Introduction – Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money
It’s no secret that I’m a huge Dave Ramsey fan! His book The Total Money Makeover was the catalyst for my husband and I starting our debt free journey. We were able to pay off over £36,000 worth of debt in 2 years thanks to his 7 baby steps to financial freedom. If you’re not familiar with this book, have a read of my book review to find out what the baby steps are. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone wanting to clear debt and achieve financial freedom.
A few weeks ago my husband told me about Smart Money Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey and his daughter Rachel Cruze and the timing of this discovery was perfect. Recently we had been discussing how to introduce money to our children and teach them money principles we didn’t learn as kids. We knew it was time to do so but we didn’t know the best way to go about introducing it to our children.
We want to teach them the value of money and understand the importance of hard work. But equally we don’t want them to have limited beliefs about money and think money is so hard to come by. But how do you find the balance? How do you teach them to have a healthy view and relationship with money?
This book Smart Money Smart Kids has the answers! I’m so glad my husband discovered this book when he did. I finished reading it within a few days because it was so compelling. Long introduction over, in this blog post I’ll be reviewing Smart Money Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze. I’ll be sharing what I liked about the book and key lessons I took away from it.
About The Authors
Dave Ramsey is a personal money-management expert and popular U.S. national radio personality. His seven best-selling books—Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover, EntreLeadership, Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money, The Legacy Journey and Smart Money Smart Kids—have sold more than 11 million copies combined.
Ramsey’s co-author, his daughter Rachel Cruze, is also an American author who specializes on the subject of personal finance. In addition to co-writing Smart Money Smart Kids with her father, she also published a second book in 2016, Love Your Life, Not Theirs: 7 Money Habits for Living the Life You Want.
In Smart Money, Smart Kids, Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze teach parents how to raise money-smart kids in a debt-filled world and show them how to win with money. In this guide to raising financially savvy kids, the authors use practical, tactical, spiritual and strategic principles.
Starting with the basics like working, spending, saving, and giving, and moving into more challenging issues like avoiding debt for life, paying cash for college, and battling discontentment, Dave and Rachel present a no-nonsense, common-sense approach for changing your family tree.
Things I Liked About Smart Money, Smart Kids
1. The Proof Is In The Pudding
One of the things that I loved about the book is that Ramsey is teaching from a place of experience. These methods of teaching children about money are tried and tested. But not just tested on any random person, tested on his own children. As parents we want the best for our children and we’re going to do our best to ensure they grow into responsible adults.
Seeing that all three of his children have grown into responsible financially independent adults, shows that he must to some degree know what he’s talking about!
A great illustration of this was a story Cruze told about her brother buying his first car. When they were around the age around 14 at the time, he told them that they needed to save up money to buy their first car. Whatever the amount they saved, he’d match it. Rachel’s brother was able to save up $12,000 and her parents matched the amount. Dad congratulated him on his achievement but explained that as a parent he couldn’t let him spend so much on a car. He told him to spend $14,000 on a car and save the balance towards his future. His son was fine with this as the car he wanted was around the $14,000 mark anyway. Months later there was a natural disaster which he was so moved by that he decided to donate all of his $10,000 to the cause.
2. Straight Talking No Sugar Coating
In true Dave Ramsey fashion, he is very straight talking throughout this book. It gives a good insight into how he is as a parent. The tough love that he gives to callers on the Dave Ramsey Show isn’t just a smoke screen, he did the same to his children.
For example,his daughter Rachel messed up her budget and ended up in her overdraft. The bank wrote her a letter, and when she told her dad he immediately made her call the bank and book an appointment to see the bank manager. Her dad told her that she needed to apologise to the bank manager for spending money that she didn’t have. As hard as it was for her to do this, it taught her a valuable life lesson.
3. Smart Money Teachings For All Types Of Families
Anyone can raise money-smart children regardless of their background and family construct. I loved that Ramsey not only stated this in the book, he also offered practical advice for people in each family scenario. From nuclear families and single parents homes, to co-parents and step parents – he provides practical advice for all to take away and immediately apply to their family.
4. It’s Never Too Late To Start
I love that the book gives practical advice that can be applied to children at any age. This is encouraging for parents with older children who may think all hope is lost. He shows that it’s still possible to educate your child at any age and still give them the opportunity to become financially responsible adults no matter where they’ve started from.
Ramsey used himself as an example. If he was able to go from being extremely tight with money, financially irresponsible and incapable of managing his money well…., to becoming financially intelligent and raising financially responsible children, then it’s possible for anyone. This is the hope that a lot of parents need to hear and he gives it in bucket loads!
10 Lessons From Smart Money, Smart Kids
Lesson 1 – Teach Children About Money God’s Way
All that we have belongs to God. It’s not our money it’s God’s money. When children view it that way, they are more likely to be responsible with it, they’ll also be more liberal too because it’s not their money, they are merely stewards of God’s resources.
Lesson 2 – Put Your Kids To Work
Let the kids understand and grasp that money comes from work and not from mum and dad. As soon as children are able to grasp the concept of cause and effect you can teach about the work money connection. Give them age appropriate work to do and pay them for some but not all of the work they do. There’s a balance here, they need to understand that they need to work for money, but they also shouldn’t think that they should be paid for merely doing their part in the running of their home.
When children work for the things that they want. When they are able to purchase the thing they want that purchase becomes an accomplishment instead of an entitlement.
Lesson 3 – Don’t Spoil Your Children
One mistake first generation wealth builders make is wanting to ensure that our children have a better life than we had growing up. All the things our parents didn’t buy us we want our children to enjoy. This can be dangerous.
When you give children the stuff without the character to carry it all, it will pile on their backs and damage them. They won’t be able to handle it.
Spoilt is not a cute word. Spoilt is a bad word; it means rotten. You don’t want rotten kids.
Lesson 4 – Lead By Example
Ramsey not only taught good financial principles to his children, he lived them out himself. It’s important as parents to model the financial behaviour that we want our children to adopt. Let them see you giving, saying no to some of our wants, working on your budget and so on. A lot more is caught than taught!
Lesson 5 – Teach Children To Be Liberal
From as young as the age of 3 Ramsey taught his children to divide their money into 3 envelopes; one for saving, the second for spending and the third for giving. Learning this from a young age helped the children grow into liberal adults.
Lesson 6 – Do Not Raise Entitled Children
From a young age Ramsey’s children knew that their parents were well off, however Ramsey ensured he continually reminded the children that they (the parents) were rich and the children were broke. This stopped them feeling entitled and stopped them thinking that their parents would be their meal ticket through life.
Lesson 7 – Always Look For Teachable Moments
It’s important to let your children make mistakes with money. A lot of adults today find themselves making big mistakes with money, because when they were younger they were not allowed to make little mistakes with money. Tears now will save a lot of tears later. Rachel Cruze gave a great example of this from her childhood. The Ramsey’s went on a family trip to a theme park when the kids were young. Dave told all the children that the money they each had was theres to enjoy on whatever ride or activity they wish at the theme park. Once the money was finished it was finished. Rachel Cruze spent all her money on the first game at the theme park. Despite her many cries and petitions her dad never gave in and she wasn’t able to do any more activities as she had no more money. She learnt that day that money is finite.
Lesson 8 – The Power of ‘No’
One of the key things that both Ramsey and Cruze emphasized throughout the book is the importance of setting boundaries for children. This applies in all areas, but the book particularly focuses on finances. Don’t be your children’s friend, you need to be their parent. Learn to say no without explaining yourself.
Lesson 9 – Allow Children To Make Mistakes
As parents we are raising our children to eventually become responsible adults in the future and create a good life for themselves making good decisions. Therefore we need to ensure that we do our best over the 20 years that are in our care to train them up so that they can become valuable members of society as adults. This means giving them opportunities to make decisions for themselves given them boundaries and enabling them to fall sometimes.
I’ll give this book a solid 5 out of 5! The reason for this is I couldn’t fault it on anything. The book does exactly what it says on the tin. It gives you practical steps for you to follow and introduce your children to money and how it works. The book is a very easy read and straight to the point. They cut out all the fluff and get straight to the point, this is great as it’s not repetitive and you get value out of every page. Other books on the same topic would be double the length without any more value added.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to any parent. It’s a really insightful book, that makes you think about all the everyday things we should be doing to teach our children to learn to provide for themselves and become financially responsible adults.
Not only does this book teach children how to grow up and become financially responsible adults, it also teaches them wonderful lessons on how to be kind, considerate and liberal members of society. If you’re looking for a practical guide to teach your children all about money, then look no further – Smart Money, Smart kids will give you all the tools to do this.
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