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A Comprehensive Guide to Making Sure Your Child Understands Money Better Than You Do

Image used by permission of The Beth Kobliner Co.

It was my birthday earlier last year when a former colleague of mine sent me word that Beth Kobliner was going to promote her new book at a nearby library. I'll admit that I hadn't heard of Kobliner at that point, but given that the title of her book was Make Your Kid a Money Genius (Even If You're Not), there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to meet the author and buy a copy. Kobliner gave a great presentation, and I told my friend that notifying me about the event was the perfect birthday gift for a non-money-genius father who was just about to start his own journey to teach his children about money.

Beth Kobliner's book is a great resource for anybody who is serious about financial education, whether for their own children or in the broader educational sense.

On a parenting level, the book provides readers with ideas of activities they can do with their children that teach them all about saving money, working hard, avoiding or getting out of debt, spending smart, protecting assets, investing, and giving to those in need. There's also a whole chapter about preparing for college and the heavy costs associated with getting an education. Even separate from the book, Kobliner is serious about getting parents and their children to converse about college and has launched a website to further that cause. I look forward to reviewing its content.

Each chapter in the body of Kobliner's book is organized according to the age or grade level of the children for whom activities are being suggested. Is your child three years old? Great! Kobliner has some ideas just for you. About to finish college? She's got you covered there, too. But be warned. The book does not have a narrative to push things along. Rather, it's a collection of helpful information that readers need to sift through thoughtfully to glean the full value of what the author has produced. My suggestion is that you skim through the book in full once so that you completely understand its guiding philosophies and format. Then revisit relevant parts of the book when you're looking for meaningful ways to teach your children how money works.

The final chapter of her book is advice for parents who are struggling to grasp personal finance. Kobliner gives a great overview of principles that we would all be wise to understand and implement. That being said, Kobliner sticks to generalities and would likely agree with me that one of the best things parents can do to learn about money is to find a financial advisor who will take the time to explain money's more difficult concepts. Certainly, children would benefit from seeing their parents' examples of seeking expert advice regarding one of life's most important challenges.

Not only is Kobliner's work useful for parents, but professionals in financial capability will also benefit from reading it. In making her case for best practices in teaching kids money, the author relies heavily on surveys and studies. She includes her notes so that professionals can dig in more deeply if desired. The nerd in me (maybe I'm just all nerd) cannot wait to read these studies to more fully understand a child's process of acquiring financial capability. Kobliner's notes may be my favorite part.

Make Your Kids a Money Genius is just about as comprehensive a work as there is in the field of children's financial capability. Moving forward with Kobliner's book, I'm optimistic that my kids will have a leg up that I did not.

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