Beth Kobliner's book 'Make Your Kid a Genius (even if you are not) is a guide to parents on how to teach children to manage money smartly. The book is for parents of children with ages ranging from 3 -23 years. It is an easy read. It stays away from complicated jargon and the tone is conversational.
The book is divided into 6 age groups – Preschool, Elementary, School, Middle School, High School, College and Young Adults so that parents can pick up sections as per their kids' age and get the money conversation going.
- She first outlines 14 rules to follow when you talk to your children about money. These include having age appropriate conversations. You can give examples of people who have gone through financial crises. For example, you can say how a certain person had to cancel their vacation to Disneyland as their credit card debt became too high without really naming them. You should be honest about your money status with them. It is necessary to have regular conversations about money so that they understand concepts. They learn a lot from your behaviour. So set a good example and make good money decisions. If you talk a lot about working hard to earn and saving but are going to spend money on lottery tickets, they will probably do something similar.
- There are some things that you do not talk about with your children like your exact salary or how much you spend on a gift or what you pay the tutor.
- She talks about how to encourage saving and working hard. She asks the parents to tell the kids to save up from their allowances to buy their next cool gift. It is important for them to be part of the family in fun time as well as chores time. It is not necessary for parents to give allowances for chores as doing chores is part of being in the family.
- She says it is important to teach them to live a debt free life. The books has tips on how to help them spend better and smarter. For example, when you are taking your pre-school kids to the market, you can tell them that you are going there only to buy Item A, Item B and Item C. No other item would be purchased. In this manner, they are prepared that they may not get what they ask for in the shop. They will learn how not to spend on an impulse or delayed gratification. Slightly older kids can be asked to make decisions. In one example, a dad decided to give his son a gift card to a sporting goods store. The card allowed him to decide whether to spend the entire amount on the pair of sneakers he wanted or get a less expensive pair so that he could also buy a basketball,The son ultimately opted for the less expensive shoes.
- She gives practical recommendations charity, taking loans, moving home and college education. The examples are based on life in United States but most of them can be adapted in other countries.
- There are numerous lists of rules and tips, explanations of complex issues, and illustrations of financial documents. We can apply them in daily life.
- Moreover the book can be used for reference. It is not necessary to read the book from start to end in one go.It can be used at different times. When you are explaining to your children about interest or investments, you can pick up the relevant section and talk about it.
- The last section gives some financial advice to the parent so that the financial situation of the family is in control. The advice includes getting insurance, estate, investing in the right manner and practicing what one is preaching to their kids.