Brian MacFarland

Brian MacFarland has reached more than 10 million people on his personal finance journey to financial independence.  He's been featured in the Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, and Lifehacker. Read more on the About page. If you enjoyed this article please [su_button url="https://patreon.com/KidWealth" target="blank" style="soft" background="#85bb65" color="#336633" size="6"]Support Kid Wealth[/su_button]

A Chair For My Mother (Book Review)

A Chair For My Mother

A Chair For My Mother is a children’s book written and illustrated by Vera Williams. It is a heartwarming story of a young girl, her mother, and her grandmother, who work together to save money and buy a comfortable chair for their new apartment after losing all their possessions in a fire. The story highlights the importance of hard work, perseverance, and saving money to achieve your goals.

A Chair For My Mother Summary

The story is told from the perspective of a young girl who lives with her mother and grandmother in a small apartment. The family lost all their possessions in a fire, which also destroyed their apartment. They had to move to a new apartment, but it was empty and needed furniture. The mother worked hard as a waitress at the Blue Tile Diner, saving all the coins she earned to buy a big comfortable chair for their home. The girl and her grandmother also helped by earning coins and storing them in a jar. The family’s goal was to save enough money to buy a chair that they could all sit in and be comfortable.

The touching story covers the family’s journey and the many obstacles they face along the way. They persevere through hard work and grit. They encounter financial setbacks and difficulties in their new apartment, but they learn to work together to overcome them. The young girl also learns the value of community and how people can come together to help each other in times of need.

Kid Money Lessons

One of the book’s central themes is the importance of saving money. The mother works hard to earn coins she saves in a jar. The girl and her grandmother also contribute to the family’s savings by making money from various sources. The story teaches children about the value of money, the importance of saving, and how to work towards a financial goal. It is an excellent book to teach children about financial literacy concepts such as saving, budgeting, and earning money.

Finally, it’s possible to use the fire in the apartment as a warning of what happens when people don’t have adequate insurance. However, this topic may be too advanced for the book’s intended audience.

Reading Level and Awards

The book is appropriate for children in grades K-3. The reading level is approximately second grade, with simple sentences and easy vocabulary. The book’s illustrations are colorful and captivating, drawing the reader into the story and helping to convey the characters’ emotions. The book’s length is just right for young readers, and the story is engaging and easy to follow.

A Chair For My Mother has won numerous awards. The biggest one is that it is a Caldecott Honor Book. It also has won the Notable Children’s Book by the American Library Association and the Parents’ Choice Award. These awards recognize the book’s literary and artistic excellence and its ability to engage and educate young readers.

A Chair For My Mother Read-Along

A Chair For My Mother has a few read-alongs on YouTube. This one seemed to be one of the best:

Other Books to Consider

Similar books to A Chair For My Mother include The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills, The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch, and The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. These books also teach valuable lessons about resilience, community, and the importance of kindness.

Brian MacFarland has reached more than 10 million people on his personal finance journey to financial independence.  He’s been featured in the Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, and Lifehacker.

Read more on the About page.

If you enjoyed this article please Support Kid Wealth

Real-Life Money Spending: The Parents Never Saw It Coming

I’ve been on a planned vacation for a little while. It’s the unplanned time before and after that made it so long since I’ve written. I hope to be back more consistently like I was last year.

Just before I left, my 4th-grade son was invited to a bowling play date with classmates. A great time was had by all. He even scored higher than I usually do (with guardrails) and got the confidence to try without guardrails. At least, this is what he told me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make the play date.

He told me he bought his friends cards to play video games and a little candy (with the kids’ parents’ permission). He went over with his Famzoo card put it in the reader and typed in his pin. He’s bought about a dozen things with me, so it’s easy for him now.

He said the parents of the other two 10-year-old kids couldn’t believe it! I’m starting to think that I’m in the minority in wanting to teach kids money skills. Maybe other parents are busy with other things. In any case, that’s why I have this blog, and they don’t.

I was hoping that the other kids would ask their parents to be able to do it, and the parents would ask me about it. Unfortunately, I have yet to receive a call.

The whole event made me very proud. I always say that kids should be allowed to make money mistakes. It’s even better when they don’t make mistakes and spend their money to generously give to friends.

While we were on vacation, the kids bought souvenirs, carefully budgeting their money. My nine-year-old hasn’t gotten as much practice using his FamZoo card. I had forgotten the pin, but his older brother helped out. He has the benefit that I tend to do similar things for both of them at the same time because they are close in age.

In the future, I’ll look to share more of these real-life money stories whether they are good, bad, or ugly.

Brian MacFarland has reached more than 10 million people on his personal finance journey to financial independence.  He’s been featured in the Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, and Lifehacker.

Read more on the About page.

If you enjoyed this article please Support Kid Wealth

Can Your Kids Pass The Parent Test’s $20 Hustle Challenge?

I’ve been watching The Parent Test on Hulu over the last couple of weeks. It’s pitched as a competition of parents with specific parenting styles to see which one comes out on top. This shouldn’t be a spoiler, but there’s a lot of “it depends.” My parenting style mixes almost all styles at one point or another. Most often, the parents praise the other parents’ style – the opposite of what you see in most “competition” shows.

The show puts parents and kids through tests to see how they do in certain stressful situations. In episode eight, there was one that caught my eye:

The $20 Hustle Challenge

The $20 hustle challenge is a test to see if your kid(s) could make $20 in an hour without their parent’s help. I KNOW my kids would fail. That is quite sobering, given that I have this website, and they’ve read a number of financial books. Most of the kids that passed this test ended up calling family, friends, or neighbors and asking if they could do something. In one case, it was baking them some cookies. In another case, it was washing an RV.

The successful kids had a mix of four or five kids of various ages working together. One only child was successful, but only because his father failed the test and guided him through the process of coming up with ideas.

I felt that much of the success depended on having a network to sell to. My kids sell popcorn for the Boy Scouts, which is similar, but not the same, as that’s a very controlled situation. We know a few neighbors well enough to try something like this, but I’m not sure my kids would know who best to go to. I imagine that they might try a Lemonade War style lemonade stand.

It’s an interesting challenge. Do you think your kids could pass? If they couldn’t do it in an hour, could they do it in a day?

Brian MacFarland has reached more than 10 million people on his personal finance journey to financial independence.  He’s been featured in the Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, and Lifehacker.

Read more on the About page.

If you enjoyed this article please Support Kid Wealth

Baby Bonds: A Guide To Saving For The Future

If you’ve read a few basic personal finance articles, you’ll soon come across the power of compound interest. Often, an article will show that contributing a little money consistently from ages 25 to 35 and stopping yields a bigger retirement net egg than contributing from ages 35 to 65. It doesn’t sound like contributing ten years should be worth more than 30 years, but that’s often how the math works.

Whenever I see graphs like that, I think, “If starting ten years earlier makes such a big difference, imagine what starting 25 years earlier would do!”

That’s the rough idea behind baby bonds.

What are Baby Bonds?

Baby Bonds are government-sponsored savings accounts for newborns. The idea is that each newborn would receive a seed deposit from the government, which would grow over time thanks to compound interest. The funds in the account would be available for the child to use when they reach a certain age, typically 18 years old, for expenses such as education, buying a home, or starting a business.

The purpose of baby bonds is to promote financial stability and security for families, particularly those with lower incomes. The hope is that by providing a financial foundation for children, they will be better equipped to pursue their goals and overcome financial challenges later in life.

Baby bond programs are starting to be developed now. Each program has different specific details, such as the amount of the seed deposit, the interest rate, and the conditions for withdrawing funds.

Which States Offer Baby Bonds?

Starting July 1, 2023, Connecticut will be the first state to offer baby bonds. There are a lot of little details, so if you live in Connecticut, I recommend reading the official baby bond documentation. For everyone else just trying to understand how it works, the state will deposit $3,200 at birth into a baby bond trust invested by the Office of the Treasurer.

At age 18, a young adult can withdraw money to start or invest in a Connecticut business, buy a home, pay for higher education, or save for retirement.

The participating young adult must complete a financial literacy course to be eligible for the money. If you are reading this website right now, you will likely have no problem with that.

Massachusetts may be next to offer baby bonds

How Much Will a Connecticut Baby Bond be Worth?

Typically the stock market returns 8% a year. Using the Rule of 72 (as explained here, the money should double every nine years. That means the $3,200 will likely double to $6,400 and then to $12,800 at age 18 – or $25,600 at age 27. In reality, it may turn less than that because I expect the Office of the Treasurer to invest in very low-risk investments. So I would put the target at between $10,000 and $20,000 depending on when they are withdrawn to be used.

What the Difference Between Baby Bonds and a 529 Plan?

Some states offer to give babies money for enrolling in a 529 Plan at birth. A 529 Plan helps save for college expenses. Typically states will provide a small incentive such as $50 or $100. Baby bonds are significantly more and can be used for much more than just college expenses.

How do Baby Bonds Help Fight Poverty?

Baby Bonds programs help fight poverty by giving young adults a head start. Having assets, such as savings accounts, can help families weather financial shocks and provide a safety net during times of need. Furthermore, by requiring financial literacy courses, young adults will have more tools to lead them to financial success.

It’s important to note that while baby bonds may be a valuable tool in addressing poverty, they are not a silver bullet solution. They must be combined with other initiatives and policies to reduce poverty.

Final Thoughts on Baby Bonds

People can’t depend on the government for baby bonds today. Even in the future, the money to fund the program will need to come from somewhere, which likely means higher taxes.

In the meantime, the only thing you can do is fund baby bonds yourself. Unfortunately, parents don’t typically have thousands of dollars to put aside when a baby is born. It’s often quite the opposite, with many baby expenses coming all at once. It should go without writing that it’s also useless to fight poverty if one has to have the wealth to save for them in the first place.

If you are fortunate enough to have the money, and your kid has some income (when they are older than babies), you may want to look into kid Roth IRAs as a way to do something similar to baby bonds.

Brian MacFarland has reached more than 10 million people on his personal finance journey to financial independence.  He’s been featured in the Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, and Lifehacker.

Read more on the About page.

If you enjoyed this article please Support Kid Wealth

Schoolhouse Rock: Money Rock Teaches Kids about Money

Decades ago, Schoolhouse Rock famously taught millions of kids how a bill became a law and how parts of speech work. I’m Just a Bill and Conjunction Junction are in the Pop Culture Hall of Fame (if there was one). Don’t forget Three is a Magic Number because it rounds out the three most popular Schoolhouse Rock videos.

However, did you know that Schoolhouse Rock also taught kids about money? It was released in 1994, over two decades after the Multiplication Rock that started it all. It’s not very well-known. When ABC does it’s Schoolhouse Rock! 50th Anniversary Singalong on February 1st, there, sadly, will be no money songs.

I found the DVD of Schoolhouse Rock Money Rock in my library. If you are a Disney+ subscriber, it’s easier to stream it for free. Another option is to watch it on YouTube. The quality of the videos is poor, but better than nothing:

Each of the Money Rock shorts is three minutes long. In about the time that you’d watch a half-hour sitcom, you have a personal finance education. Well, it’s more complicated. The videos go quickly to fit it all in three minutes. The explanation of Dollar Cost Averaging in the investing video is good, but the concept can’t be addressed in only fifteen seconds.

The best thing to do is watch these with the kids and talk about them afterward. My kids had questions about each one. It’s a good hour spent and makes for an easy transition into other Schoolhouse Rock seasons.

Here’s a summary of each episode:

Dollars and Sense

Becky Sue realizes that her ukelele isn’t going to work if she wants to be a country western star. She needs a guitar, amps, speakers, microphones, etc.

The banker is there to help. He explains that if Becky deposits her money, the bank will pay her interest, and she’ll have enough for the equipment in a year.

Becky doesn’t want to wait a year, so the banker explains that she can take a loan and get the equipment immediately. The catch is that she now has to pay the interest.

Dollars and Sense is one of my favorite lessons. Kids learn that interest can either work for you or against you.

My 9-year-old didn’t understand why someone would have to pay the bank interest on the loan. I tried to explain that the bank has to make money. Giving money and just hoping to get paid back in the future isn’t helpful to the bank.

Tax Man Max

Tax Man Max explains taxes. It went quickly, and I had to pause and reply a few times to catch the different types it portrayed: Income, property, sales, utilities, and licenses for dogs and cats.

This does an excellent job of explaining that taxes fund the city, state, and federal governments so that we have schools, roads, train tracks, libraries, police, firefighters, and mail carriers.

There was a quick explanation that people get upset about paying taxes, so they rightfully want to know that the money is being used well.

Finally, there’s a quick explanation of how tax deductions work. While accurate, a one-liner on tax deductions does not provide much education for kids.

Where the Money Goes

Kids learn where the parents’ money goes: taxes, mortgage (house), groceries, car, etc.

This did an outstanding job of telling kids that they can help by saving money on the phone bill, electricity, and even the laundry by not making a mess.

One part I didn’t like is that it mentioned, “If you plan to inherit a million dollars, then there’s no reason to save.” Even in 1994, that may not have been retirement money. You never know what can go wrong with inheritance plans.

$7.50 Once a Week

How does a kid budget his allowance of $7.50 a week? At the beginning of the week, he feels rich.

He budgets an ice cream sandwich after school lunch at $0.50 a day or $2.50 per week. However, he spends the rest of money his money too quickly. He missed opportunities to compare prices and save money.

The kid decides he can do other jobs to make some more money from his parents.

Tyrannosaurus Debt

Why do kids need to learn about the National Debt? I’m not sure.

My kids had questions, and I explained that we borrowed money and should pay it back. However, I didn’t want them to be concerned that the United States owes 31 trillion dollars. Japan’s GDP to Debt is twice the United States. I also didn’t want them to think it was okay to borrow money and not pay it back. It’s probably best to avoid this topic with kids.

Despite the success of I’m Just a Bill, there are many adults who don’t know how a bill becomes a law. Nonetheless, it’s videos like this (and I’m Just a Bill) are useful tools to send to adults. As a bonus, Bill from I’m Just a Bill appears at the end.

This for That

This episode is about the history of how bartering worked with cavemen.

It’s hard to trade yaks for cows because they are big and bulky. Shiny shells are easier.

Mesopotamia invented metal coins. China invented paper money. Columbus bartered beads with Native Americans.

We still barter today. Sports teams barter players, and kids barter Pokemon cards.

Walkin’ on Wall Street

A pigeon teaches kids to buy low and sell high. Using your money to make more money is called an investment. Kids learn about what a stock is. There’s a very quick explanation of Dollar Cost Averaging.

One fun part of this video is that the pigeon gets stock quotes in fractions from a newspaper. Nowadays, stock prices are in decimals, and I don’t think papers publish the prices.

The Check’s in the Mail

Overall, this episode wasn’t very useful. We don’t use checks too much nowadays. We use electric transfers, debit cards, or credit cards.

There’s a little interesting part about how your bank transfer money through a central bank to the receiver’s bank.

Final Thoughts on Schoolhouse Rock Money Rock

To write this article, I sat down with my kids to watch it for the second time. I put it on for them around two years ago. My 10-year-old remembered it well, but my 9-year-old did not. I think it’s helpful for this age group because they asked questions, and we could discuss. The discussions were quick, though – they wanted to move on to the next one.

I don’t know if that’s a sign they were looking forward to the next one or if they just wanted to plow through them and get to another activity they enjoy more.

If Schoolhouse Rock moves a little too fast or if you are looking for another television show to learn about money, see teach your kids about money with television.

Brian MacFarland has reached more than 10 million people on his personal finance journey to financial independence.  He’s been featured in the Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, and Lifehacker.

Read more on the About page.

If you enjoyed this article please Support Kid Wealth

Kiplinger’s Tips for Raising Money-Smart Kids

Raising Money Smart Kids

I love whenever anyone’s best tips for raising money-smart kids. However, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine holds a special place in my heart. I’ve been reading Kiplinger’s since I was a kid. My mother subscribed to it, and I was interested. She had explained compound interest to me a long time ago. In ancient times (around 1988), banks paid a real interest rate – about 7-8%, if my memory serves. I had some money saved from my paper route and first job at Papa Gino’s Pizzeria, so it seemed like a good idea to learn more about investing worked.

A lot of personal finance is now online (such as this site), but I’ve been a Kiplinger’s subscriber since college. You can get a couple of years of it for around $40, which is a great deal compared to the cover price of a whopping $6.99. I’m all for recognizing the value of financial advice, but that’s a lot of money for 72 ad-filled pages of often out-of-date information. It shows how challenging the print world is nowadays.

Today, I’d like to cover Kiplinger’s tips for raising money-smart kids, spread out over two issues last year. Specifically, I’m talking about Janet Bodnar, who runs the Money Smart Women column. Fortunately, the column covers some fathers with tips about raising money-smart kids. Personal finance should be something for the whole family. My family is a real-life example of it. It’s just that I have a crazy obsession.

Part 1: Kiplinger’s Tips for Raising Money Smart Kids

In the first article, Janet Bodnar covers What Kids Need to Know About Finances. She’s written the book Raising Money Smart Kids, but to be fair, there are more than a few books with that title.

The article points out that high-net-worth women have jumped into estate planning due to COVID. These families with a lot of money want their kids to know how to handle it. We fit that profile too. However, I’m far from the stage of worrying about how my nine and 10-year-old boys will manage money years from now. I want to help them to build a foundation now rather than be disappointed later. Personal finance is what I know and what I’m passionate about, so I might pass that knowledge on.

The article continues that spending and saving are the two most important things to teach. I agree, especially for young kids. Older kids have more opportunities to focus on earning more and investing. However, schoolwork comes first, so making more has to be about “working smarter” rather than “working longer/harder.” At least investing can be very quick. An automatic investing plan can be set up in just a few minutes.

The next tip was to have younger kids use cash and let older kids use an ATM account attached to a bank – avoid credit cards. This tip is reasonable. Although, my kids have been authorized users on my Amazon card for a few years. They have yet to learn about it and wouldn’t know where or how to use it, but it will help them earn credit whenever needed.

The final tip was that young kids don’t need to know about family income. That’s obvious. Young children are still learning place value, and numbers like hundreds of thousands don’t make much sense.

Part 2: Kiplinger’s Tips for Raising Money Smart Kids

As a follow-up to that article, Bodnar shared some reader tips on raising money smart kids.

One reader shared a “parent matching” strategy. That’s where a parent will reward a child for saving with more money, similar to how a 401k match works at many companies. Another reader made it simple, “Live below your means.” Finally, one reader stressed the value of saving over earning because you pay taxes on money earned.

Some readers disagreed with the above tip about not giving kids credit cards. Like me, one reader wanted their children to establish excellent credit at a young age. Another reader required kids to pay it off in full every month. I love that last tip, as it builds a habit and establishes the importance of it before the kids are on their own in college.

Finally, Bodnar recommended two books for helping high school students with investing, The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens: 8 Steps to Having More Money Than Your Parents Ever Dreamed Of and How to Turn $100 into $1,000,000: Earn! Save! Invest!. For younger kids, I have my own opinion on the best book to teach kids about money.

Aside from books, I would add a podcast for teens, NPR’s Planet Money’s Summer School on investing.

I found all these reader tips (along with Bodnar’s book recommendation) better than the original article. Over both articles, there are plenty of good tips – definitely worth a few minutes of your time.

Origanlly published 1/24/2022

Brian MacFarland has reached more than 10 million people on his personal finance journey to financial independence.  He’s been featured in the Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, and Lifehacker.

Read more on the About page.

If you enjoyed this article please Support Kid Wealth

16 Cheap Sleepover Ideas

My kids are just getting old enough for sleepovers and I’m not 100% sure if I’m ready for it. With these cheap sleepover ideas, at least I don’t have to worry about spending a lot of money. There are so many fun things for tweens and teens to do that are cheap or even free. In the end, slumber parties are all about spending time with friends.

Get Prepared

Before we get to the sleepover ideas, let’s get prepared.

If your child is going to someone else’s house, they’ll need pajamas, pillows/pillowcases, blankets, sleeping bags… and some tips on how to win a pillow fight. My strategy is to block first, then swing while their pillow is down.

The Main Event

1. Movie night

Set up a movie marathon and invite friends over to watch some of their favorite films. Pair it with a popcorn bar. Everyone gets to flavor their own popcorn. This great popcorn popper is around $15. As a bonus, you’ve already got snacks covered.

2. Game night

Have a variety of board games, card games, and video games available for everyone to play. Everyone can bring their favorite and the group can vote. You’ll certainly have more than enough options.

3. Make Friendship Bracelets

Making bracelets is one of my favorite cheap activities. In fact, you can start a business making bracelets.

4. Makover Party

I don’t have teen girls, but I’ve seen enough movies to know that makeovers are popular with them. (Err, everything in movies is true, right?) Don’t tell anyone but even my boys have experimented doing their nails. As a bonus nail polish can be used in a lot of other crafts. Don’t forget lipstick, blush, face masks, eye-liner, or whatever make-up things that girls wear that I know nothing about.

5. Craft night

Have a variety of craft materials available for friends to make their own jewelry, bracelets, or other crafts.

6. Murder mystery night

Everyone loves a good murder mystery! This one takes a little planning. I’m sure there are dozens of articles just a quick Google search away to help you.

7. Time capsule

Kids can putting small mementos in a box, write letters to future selves, and then seal it up with a plan to open it in the future.

8. Baking party

Bake a batch of cookies or cupcakes and decorate them with frosting and sprinkles. As a bonus, you can skip the next section: “Snack Time”

9. Snack Time!

Don’t forget to plan a snack time (unless you are doing the popcorn bar from above. You can choose from all the classic sleepover food groups: candy, cookies, chips, and chocolate.

Fun Sleepover Games

10. Scavenger/Treasure hunt

Create a scavenger/treasure hunt around the house. Teams of two teens can solve puzzles and find the next clue until they get to the final destination.

11. Dance Competition

Dancing with friends is always fun, right? If there’s a friend who doesn’t like to dance, they can be the judge!

Dinner Ideas

Every good sleepover involves dinner.

12. DIY pizza

Get together to make homemade pizzas with a variety of toppings.

13. Pot Luck

Each guest can bring a dish that they made before the sleepover party

Sleep Time

14. Indoor camping

Set up tents inside and have a camping-themed sleepover complete with roasting marshmallows. You can create a spooky theme starting with a horror movies for the main event and following up with ghost stories.

Summertime Ideas

If it’s summertime (or you live in a warm area) there are a number of ideas you can explore.

15. Outdoor movie night

(This one may not be so cheap. It’s only cheap if you have the equipment or a friend who does.) Set up a projector and screen in the backyard and have a movie night under the stars. (Projectors are getting cheaper and perhaps a cheap bed sheet can be used.)

16. Pool party

Step one: Buy an expensive pool.
Step two: Have a cheap pool party.

I’m joking with this one. It’s obviously cheating to use an expensive pool. However, if you already have one, might as well take advantage of it.

Brian MacFarland has reached more than 10 million people on his personal finance journey to financial independence.  He’s been featured in the Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, and Lifehacker.

Read more on the About page.

If you enjoyed this article please Support Kid Wealth

What we Learned at Kid Wealth in 2022

Happy New Year, 2023! Before we completely say goodbye to 2022, let’s look back at what I learned in 2022. It was the first year of Kid Wealth, and it was mostly a soft launch as I tried to figure out what worked and what didn’t. Hopefully, you learned a few things as well.

Moderation in Financial Literacy is Important

If you’ve heard a kid say, “I hate math”, you probably know the worst thing you can do is force more math on them. Financial literacy can work the same way. If a kid is interested in money, you’ve got the green light to go crazy and throw all the resources on this site at them.

My kids know that I write about personal finance. I can get a little “preachy” in my excitement to share what I know. I’ve learned to back off and instead use tools to teach kids about money. A board game or even a television show makes learning about money fun. If you meet resistance, adding one of these “fun financial literacy” activities once a week is a good way to go.

Allowances

When I started the year, I didn’t know much about how to give an allowance. It sounds like it should be simple, but there’s a lot of complexity about whether to tie it to chores and how to guide kids to budget their money. I found that it’s crucial to let kids make money mistakes.

I found that dealing with cash can be challenging regarding allowance. I didn’t often have four one-dollar bills hanging around. It’s much easier to use FamZoo to load a debit card for the kids. They get their allowance every week, even if I forget. I can also set things up to give them a great interest rate to encourage them to save.

Kid Money Books

I wrote quite a few reviews of children’s books. There are books for teaching your kids investing, teach your kids about financial independence and retiring early.

There are great general-purpose kid financial literacy books like Grandpa’s Fortune Fables. I can’t get my kids to read that book, but I found one the kids did want to read…

The Golden Quest caught their attention because it’s a graphic novel. They wanted to read it and got through it in about an hour. It covers many major financial topics at a high level. The bonus with this book is that it helps when I need to clean their room. What’s your awesome stuff, kids? Which stuff isn’t so awesome?

Parents may want to read The First National Bank of Dad. I’ll be working on more books for adults to read in 2023.

Everything Else

This website is very focused on kids and money. However, it is important to develop skills beyond financial literacy. You may want to read about teaching kids grit. Grit will come in handy if you want kids to become entrepreneurs.

Parents, you might want to look into a kid Roth IRA. The compound interest could be worth millions. Imagine how much more money you’d have today if you saved enough for retirement by age 20 or 25.

Kid Wealth Website Stuff

I learned that people don’t like courses as a giveaway, even if they usually sell for over $150. I tried to get people to sign up for my mailing list, and very few people did. I wonder if other parents are too overloaded with other stuff to make their kids a millionaire. If they are as busy as we are with our kids, then it makes complete sense.

I want to do much more with the main age categories you see on the front page. Stay tuned for that.

Overall, I just scratched the surface of what I want to do with this website. I have many ideas that extend beyond the concept of a simple blog.

Brian MacFarland has reached more than 10 million people on his personal finance journey to financial independence.  He’s been featured in the Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, and Lifehacker.

Read more on the About page.

If you enjoyed this article please Support Kid Wealth

Money and Finance For Kids (Book Review)

Money and Finance for Kids by Thelma Ribeiro is a little different from other books I’ve reviewed. As best I can tell, it is self-published. It doesn’t have the typical copyright page with publishing details. There are no fancy quotes from famous people on the back. It’s just a book and story, which is very refreshing in its simplicity.

I discovered Money and Finance for Kids at a personal finance conference. The author, Thelma Ribeiro, was there selling the book. I’m always going to support authors of children’s books about money. A few dollars later, I had the copy in my hand that I’m reviewing now.

Money and Finance has another trick that sets it apart from other kid financial literacy books – it’s translated into Portuguese. Thelma Ribeiro is Brazilian, so you know it’s an authentic translation. I was tempted to pick up a Portuguese copy. That temptation didn’t last long. No one wants to read my book review when I don’t speak or read the language. I have some Brazilian friends, but their child is ten years old, which is a little too old for this book.

That’s enough of the back story, right?

Money and Finance for Kids Summary

The story revolves around 7-year-old Marlon spending one day with his grandfather. Marlon starts the day with his grandfather at the grocery store, where he spots a toy car he’d love to have.

This kicks off Marlon’s discovery of how money works. He learns that the barter system used to work, but it had some problems. It’s useless nowadays. He also learns that you can’t just copy money to make more. There’s real value behind money.

Marlon decides he will have to earn money by doing chores or starting a lemonade stand. He decides to go with the lemonade stand. The book walks the reader through his plan – what his costs and earnings will be. It’s not too far different from the classic video game Lemonade Stand. (For more lemonade entrepreneurship see The Lemonade War book.

Marlon doesn’t just sell lemonade. He adds value by telling a joke along with the lemonade. One could say that he’s selling smiles. It works, and Marlon makes almost enough money to buy the car. He’s close enough to finish it up by doing some chores around the house for extra money from grandpa.

It ends with a teaser of a sequel. What if there was a magical way that money could make more money?

The Bad from Money and Finance for Kids

There’s not too much to dislike about this book. I don’t like to point out negatives, but I feel that criticism, when due is helpful. I don’t know about other readers, but I get suspicious when all reviews are glowing. My eight-year-old loves to pick apart stories. I think he feels it’s a treasure hunt. He may have inherited that trait from me.

In this case, my son would have some questions about page 30, a few “Extra Questions to Readers.” This is a kid’s activity section. There is an image of chores and amounts that Marlon can earn if he performs them. The first question is, “Which two chores can he do to earn two dollars?” There’s no correct answer. There are three chores he could do, two for fifty cents and one for a dollar. However, no two chores add up to exactly two dollars.

Also, in nit-picky fashion two of those chores are worth “$0.5” instead of “$0.50.” For younger kids, seeing the 50 may be important, especially as they work with coins.

What Kids Will Learn from Money and Finance for Kids

Kids learn a lot about the history of money from bartering, to the invention of coins, and finally paper money. (No, Bitcoin isn’t in this book. For that, turn to the Teen Titans Go! episode about bees.)

Maybe every kid gets to a point where they say, “I want [X].” From time to time, parents can decide if they want to pay for it, but eventually, the item gets too expensive, and it’s time for kids to help.

Kids will also learn some basic budgeting, such as how to save for short, medium, and long-term goals.

Final Thoughts on Money and Finance for Kids

This book covers a lot of money basics that are perfect for a seven-year-old.

It’s extremely well-rated on Amazon. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen all five stars and one 4 star review. Click her to buy it now.

Consider this one more ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review.

Brian MacFarland has reached more than 10 million people on his personal finance journey to financial independence.  He’s been featured in the Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, and Lifehacker.

Read more on the About page.

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The Allowance Game (Board Game Review)

Allowance Game

Phew! The kids are back in school after a long Thanksgiving break. Before they returned, we had a lot of fun at home playing board games. One of the games we played for the first time was The Allowance Game by Lakeshore Learning. I bought this game a few years ago, but we never got a chance to open it and play it.

Before I get to the game, I’d like to introduce you to Lakeshore Learning. There aren’t too many physical Lakeshore Learning stores around, but if you have one near you, you are in for a treat! Many Lakeshore Learning products are made for teachers to use in the classroom. However, there’s so much for parents to bring home and educate their kids. If you are homeschooling, I bet it has nearly everything you’d ever need.

Lakeshore has two products that caught my attention. One is the Lakeshore Multiplication Machine and the other is, of course, the Lakeshore Allowance Game. I didn’t know much about The Allowance Game, but sign me up for any game that teaches kids about money. (The Multiplication Machine is outstanding. I’m a strong believer that solid math skills are a great complement to a kid’s financial literacy education.)

Enough about Lakeshore learning itself. Let’s move on to the review of the Allowance Game:

What is The Allowance Game

The Allowance Game is a Monopoly-style game board where players go around the board, landing on squares to make money. The first player to $20 is the winner. Unlike Monopoly, there is almost no strategy to the game. You land on an “earn” square or a “spend” square. For example, you could earn 50 cents for walking the neighbor’s dog, but you could spend $2.25 buying school supplies. Typically you earn for doing chores or getting good grades.

Some squares, like “forgetting your homework,” can cause you to lose a turn. That means fewer times passing “Home” and collecting $2.

There are a lot more earn or receive squares than spend squares. Otherwise, it would be hard for someone to get the $20 necessary to win. Our game centered around one of my sons getting lucky enough to land on the “birthday” square twice. That’s $5 each time. My other son and I missed it, and we couldn’t compete.

Two squares require a little strategy. There’s a bank square and a lemonade stand square. On the bank square, a player can choose to deposit $2 and earn 50 cents every time they land on the square in the future. The $2 deposit counts towards the $20 you need to win the game. I landed on the bank square early and never landed on it again to get my 50 cents. The son who won the game had the same experience.

The lemonade stand square acts more like Monopoly property. You spend $1, and you own it. Then you collect 40 cents when other players land on it. (They are buying lemonade from you.) My son, who lost, bought the lemonade stand, and no one landed on it again. That’s how business goes sometimes.

There’s one thing that’s a little different from most games. The instructions are printed on the bottom of the box. If you pick up a second-hand version, you may think the previous owner lost the instructions.

What Kids Learn from The Allowance Game

The strength in this game shines when each kid acts as their own banker. (Allowance is designed for everyone to be a banker with the money in the middle of the board.) As the banker, the kids do a lot of math, counting, and making change as they go around the board. They are working with coins (nickels, dimes, and quarters – no pennies) and making change with single dollar bills and five dollar bills.

I regret not playing it years ago when my kids were 5, 6, or 7. They still enjoyed the game at (almost) 9 and 10, but they may have been happy to play ANY game.

What’s Bad About The Allowance Game

There are not too many negatives about the game. The biggest one, I would say, is equating spending with negative consequences. You lose a dollar giving to charity. You lose $1.20 at a garage sale. Charity shouldn’t be a negative, and garage sales are generally frugal. Fortunately, there aren’t many of these squares.

A few spend squares are buying bubble gum, playing a video game, or forgetting a library book. I think it’s fine to associate these with negative consequences.

The lemonade stand experience of spending a dollar backfired in our game, which isn’t a great introduction to entrepreneurship.

Final Thoughts Lakeshore Learning’s Allowance Game

The Allowance Game is one of a few valuable first money experiences that I can recommend. The age on the box says 5+, and I’d say it’s good for 5-9 years old. You don’t want to go much younger than that because math can be difficult. You’ll want to keep it away from younger siblings as the coins could be a hazard – small parts that can wind up in a mouth.

It’s a fun way to learn the basics of cash and some ways that people can make and spend money. You can always buy a copy at Amazon. If this doesn’t seem like a game you are interested in, check out some of other games that teach kids about money.

Brian MacFarland has reached more than 10 million people on his personal finance journey to financial independence.  He’s been featured in the Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, and Lifehacker.

Read more on the About page.

If you enjoyed this article please Support Kid Wealth