How to Teach Kids about Credit

teach kids credit

Teaching kids about credit is crucial to their financial education. An excellent credit score can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars. Good credit will help keep lower interest rates with mortgages, student loans, and car loans.

Typically credit is a lesson best learned when they are teenagers. That’s when they may start to apply for credit cards for themselves. However, before we get to the teens, let’s cover a few credit thoughts for younger kids.

Credit for Tweens

My kids are now eight and ten years old. They’ve had a credit card to build a credit history for several years. They don’t know about it, but each is an authorized user on my Amazon Prime credit card. Sometimes credit card companies need kids to be a minimum age, but I didn’t run into this problem with the Amazon Prime card. I keep the physical cards in a desk drawer. Perhaps I should use them to make sure they are building credit. Maybe I should even look at my kids’ credit reports. There are some horror stories about identity theft of kids’ information. At this point, I’m just trying to get them a headstart. I’m probably the weird parent who is nutty enough to think of this stuff when they are so young.

Secondly, I have recently gotten them FamZoo debit cards. These will get them used to using a card instead of cash. I’ll post a FamZoo review soon, but I want to learn more about how it works. I explained the difference between debit vs. credit cards. The FamZoo debit card seems like a credit card if you are a kid, though. It’s physically the same thing. Perhaps more importantly, I like the FamZoo solution because it automates giving an allowance and kids can start making money mistakes. Too often, kids think that money is “locked” in a bank.

Credit for Teens

Young adults in high school should start using their first credit card. Don’t let their first credit card experience be in college. Teaching kids good money habits are impossible when they are on their own. They’ll be swamped in college, and it will be tough to avoid late payments. You’ll want a couple of years to review credit card bills together and ensure they are paid in full each month to avoid fees.

One way to get kids to move from a debit card to a credit card is by introducing them to rewards cards. When I was a teen, I got interested in credit cards because I could earn points on Sony stuff. If credit cards didn’t offer me generous reward perks, I’d probably just use a debit card.

Credit card companies probably won’t give your kids a very high credit limit – lenders don’t want to take a big risk. That’s what you want – teens shouldn’t be making many purchases. Building credit can be done slowly.

Parents should explain the risks of credit. It’s not just about the late fees but how compound interest works against you. Before you teach kids about credit, they should be taught compound interest. When teaching them the risks, give them examples of how 15% interest grows over time. You might want first to show off how great earning 15% interest would be. We’ve all seen charts showing how 7-8% interest grows over many years. Chances are that seeing 15% grow will get them excited. Then you can pull the rug out from under them and say that they’ll be PAYING all that money for nothing if they don’t pay off their card every month. Maybe they’ll want to become a loan shark.

Final Thoughts

When parents think about financial literacy, they rarely think about teaching kids credit. Instead, they focus on saving money. Saving money is very important, but there’s a lot more for kids to learn to round out their financial education. Take some time to give your kids an understanding of how credit works.

Kids’ Money Books

Last April, I put together a quick list of money books for kids to read for financial literacy month. Today, I’ve published a new version with a quick synopsis, money, lessons, appropriate ages, and a rating system.

I recommend kids read at least one money book every couple of months. Warren Buffett once said:

“Sometimes parents wait until their kids are in their teens before they start talking about managing money — when they could be starting when their kids are in preschool.”

As you’ll see, this list is far from complete. I still need to review a lot more of these books. I recommend starting with an age-appropriate book, then reading the quick synopsis to see if it sounds interesting. From there click the book title to read my review or the Amazon link to check out the reviews there. For the books that I haven’t read, the title takes you directly to Amazon.

Title/ReviewAgesStarsMoney SkillsSynopsisAmazon
M is for Money3-6⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Money WordsThis alphabet book introduces kids to money words. There are multiple money scenarios. Kids featured are from many nationalities.See at Amazon
How Much Is a Million?5-8⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Coins, Banking, Interest, Financial IndependenceThis books takes readers on a trip from the basics of coins, through how banks make money, to financial independence of living off of interestSee at Amazon
Grandpa's Fortune Fables7-13⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Comprehensive Variety of Money SkillsFourteen chapters cover a variety of financial topics such as saving, investing, taxes, debt, charity, and home ownership. The book has a code at the end of each chapter that can be used on the author’s website.See at Amazon
The Golden Quest8-12⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Smart Spending, Savings, Compount Interest, Philanthropy, Financial IndependenceThe Golden Quest is unique because it is a graphic novel. Kids will generally want to read it if you leave it lying around. Most kids can finish it in a couple of hours.See at Amazon
American Girl’s Guide to Money12-16⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐EntrepreneurismAmerican Girl’s Guide to Money is perfect for a teen girls who are interested in starting their own companies.See at Amazon
Rich Kids12-Adult⭐⭐⭐⭐Few Money Skills, Life SkillsRich Kids is not the typical book to teach kids about money. Instead it teaches other traits for success. It’s a great supplement book for when your kid has read too many money books. The target audience, whether it is for kids or adults is unclear.See at Amazon
A Boy, a Budget, and a DreamKidsSee at Amazon
A Chair for My MotherKidsSee at Amazon
Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last SundayKidsSee at Amazon
Curious George Saves His PenniesKidsSee at Amazon
Give It! (A Moneybunny Book)KidsSee at Amazon
Growing Money: A Complete Investing Guide for KidsKidsSee at Amazon
Harmoney & the Empty Piggy Bank: A Book about Money, Budgeting, Entrepreneurship, and PersistenceKidsSee at Amazon
If Money Doesn't Grow on Trees, Where Does it Grow?KidsSee at Amazon
Make Your Own Money: How Kids Can Earn It, Save It, Spend It, and Dream Big, with Danny Dollar, the King of Cha-ChingKidsSee at Amazon
Malik's First Job: Financial Tips for Teens and Young Adults KidsSee at Amazon
Milton the Money Savvy Pup: Brings Home the BaconKidsSee at Amazon
Molly Earns Her PieKidsSee at Amazon
Money PlanKidsSee at Amazon
Moneytopia: Earning: Financial Literacy for ChildrenKidsSee at Amazon
No, No, Sonny, Save That Money! A Fun Rhyming Book about Money, Saving, & InvestingKidsSee at Amazon
One Cent, Two Cents, Old Cent, New Cent: All About MoneyKidsSee at Amazon
Pennies for PiggyKidsSee at Amazon
Rock, Brock, and the Savings ShockKidsSee at Amazon
The Berenstain Bears' Trouble with MoneyKidsSee at Amazon
The Four Money BearsKidsSee at Amazon
Three CupsKidsSee at Amazon
Ultimate Kids' Money BookKidsSee at Amazon

(Originally Published: Apr 4, 2022)

Ten Ways to Make Your Kid a Millionaire!

Make Your Kid A Millionaire

Most of the articles at Kid Wealth are designed to make your kid a millionaire. However, here are ten specific ideas. One of the significant advantages of writing for kids is that they’ve got time and moldability. It’s harder for adults who have responsibilities, less time, and are more set in their ways.

1. Learn and Use Compound Interest

Regular readers know that teaching compound interest was going to come first. In particular, a kid Roth IRA can compound for five or six decades and be withdrawn tax-free.

If you don’t want to wait several decades, there are some ways to speed up the process.

2. Choose a High Paying Career

I love teachers. Unfortunately, their pay very much compared to architects and engineers. Some studies show that engineers have lifetime earnings of $4 million, while teachers are half that.

When you make more, you can save more and invest more.

3. Avoid Debt

Debt is compound interest working against you. You can’t save and invest while paying off a mountain of debt.

Not all debt is bad. Some debt, such as starter homes or state school college, can pay off down the line. Be very cautious about six-figure student loan debt – make sure it’s a top-earning career like a doctor or lawyer.

Avoid McMansions.

4. Limit Your Biggest Expenses

Why avoid McMansions?

Housing and transportation typically combine for half of people’s expenses. Big houses lead to more furniture, have higher property taxes, and require more energy to heat and cool. There are more maintenance costs.

McMansions also typically cost more money. That means taking out a bigger mortgage and more debt. A smarter money move would be to buy a tiny house and invest the savings. That may be a little extreme, but there are many types of house hacking, from getting roommates to live-in house flipping.

Buying an older used car without all the bells and whistles is also intelligent.

Most kids don’t need to worry about big expenses until they are legally adults, but it’s wise to build this foundation at a young age. I know many young adults who get their first job and spend too much on a first house. Similarly, many kids spend too much on a car when they get that first paycheck.

5. Maximize Assets and Limit Liabilities

Kids should learn the difference between assets and liabilities. For me, this was like flipping a switch in my brain. I stopped buying a lot of “stuff” unless it was shares of stock.

If you had $400 when Apple released the first iPod, you could have bought an iPod that would most likely be in a landfill – or you could have bought Apple stock that would be worth nearly $180,000 today.

Of course, no one knew that Apple would be the fantastic success story it is today, but it’s a strong example. Kids may not know what an iPod is, but this is an excellent chance to give them a quick history lesson.

6. Start a Business

Get kids motivated to start a business. Once they start thinking about how businesses work, they’re more likely to explore side hustles.

7. Increase Social Capital

I have helped a few friends find jobs, and I’ve had a few friends help me find employment. Some jobs are paid well, and we’ve all been happy with the arrangement. In fact, I’ve almost always been hired through word of mouth.

So teaching kids how to network can certainly pay off.

8. Learn More by Getting a Book

Here’s a list of kids money books. I’ve written several reviews to help you decide which book is best for you.

Of course, you could also get the book, Make Your Kid a Millionaire. I haven’t read it, so I can’t recommend it.

9. Learn More by Watching a Video

Looking for more ideas on how to make your kid a millionaire? Check out this video:

10. Be Lucky

Let’s end on a fun one. There will always be stories about someone who made it big through some quirk. Maybe they won a lottery. Perhaps they created a YouTube that went viral. Okay, that takes much more than luck, but luck is involved.

There’s a famous quote: “Luck is the residue of design.” All the above items are part of a design. When you have a good plan, good luck is likely to follow you.

The most likely way to make your kid a millionaire is a combination of the above. Maybe your kid isn’t getting a full scholarship to Harvard Medical School. Perhaps your kid is better suited for live-in house flipping. Since you are reading this site, I know you can set your kid up with investing and compound interest at an early age.

The Golden Quest (Book Review)

The Golden Quest
The Golden Quest by David Delisle

I recently went to a financial literacy conference and met many fantastic creators. One of them is author David Delisle who was selling his book, The Golden Quest.

It caught my eye more than any other book at the conference for one reason. It’s a graphic novel. My kids, ages 8 and 9, love graphic novels – especially Captain Underpants and Dog Man by author Dav Pilkey. They prefer graphic novels so much that getting them to read standard books can be challenging. I don’t mind, because any reading is good reading.

David Delisle has a great trick… taking personal finance to a format that kids are happy to read. As much as I like all the money lessons in Grandpa’s Fortune Fables, it’s hard to get them to read “Dad’s money books” (Ugh!) A graphic novel eliminates that pain point.

Not only will the kids want to read it, but they’ll also probably do it in one sitting.

The Golden Quest Good

Getting the kids to read a personal finance book is 80% of the battle in my experience. What kind of book review doesn’t cover the remaining 20% – the concepts that the kids learn. Fortunately, The Golden Quest excels in this area covering the following:

  • Spending on the important stuff

    This is a lesson that even adults could use. By adults, I’m talking about the man in the mirror, at least. I have bought way too much less-than-awesome-stuff.

  • Pay yourself first

    I’ve always been good at saving. I’m not sure if my kids are more savers or spenders at this point. We’ll have to experiment more. I’ve got some ideas, and they’ll be part of an article in the future. In the short term, we’ll continue with giving an allowance and letting them make money mistakes

  • The power of compound interest

    The day after reading the book, my 9-year-old said he could be a millionaire by age 77. The book explained that savings could double in 7 years through investing. I wish I could say that he did the math to learn that $500 doubling 11 times is a million. The book did the math for a half million in 10 years and then made the leap of the next year.

    It was incredible that he brought this up to me! It started a conversation, and I explained that he could invest another $500 yearly to get there even faster. I also said that while $500 seems like a mountain of money at his age now, he’s already had much more than that saved from his birthdays. He also has a lot more in his kid Roth IRA. He’s already got a couple of decades of $500 doubling done.

  • Giving back

    Many books talk about giving but don’t cover some of the advantages of giving. This book explained that not only do you become emotionally rich when you give, but you also build social capital.

  • Financial Freedom

    What good is only spending money on important stuff and saving and investing if it’s just a number in a bank account? The answer is that you can buy your time and experiences… and, of course, that awesome stuff.

These are some of the most important money lessons.

The Golden Quest Bad

One of my kids said it was about a five on a scale of one to ten. The other kid rated it a four. At first glance, those aren’t good ratings. However, these are kids, and they don’t live in a world where nearly everything from Amazon to Uber to Rover dog sitters gets perfect grades for delivering on basic expectations. They look at it as Dav Pilkey novels earning nines. If you grade on the curve of personal finance books, I’m sure it’s their favorite.

My oldest had a notable nitpick – the hero didn’t have a name. He said, “How can you name the dog and not name the main character?” I didn’t even notice it. I think it was intentional so that the reader can imagine themselves as the main character.

I had a minor nitpick as well. A page showed an Albert Einstein cartoon character with the chapter heading “Compound Interest – The most powerful force in the universe.” This phrase is often attributed to Einstein, which is heavily implied on this page. However, there’s no evidence that he said anything like that in his lifetime according to this extensive Snopes research. This minor criticism probably says more about me and has nothing to do with teaching kids about money.

Final Thoughts on The Golden Quest

When I first read The Golden Quest, I thought, “That’s great, but now there needs to be a sequel to teach everything else that it didn’t cover.” After re-reading it and writing this review, I’ve changed my mind. It covers the most essential points of what kids need to know about money entertainingly. I can’t understand what a huge win it is.

The Golden Quest is the kind of book that should probably be re-read at least once a year for a few years. It has tremendous value with a time commitment of about an hour. I would recommend reading it before Grandpa’s Fortune Fables to pique kids’ interest in money.

Buy This… or That?

We got back from a Disney cruise a couple of weeks ago. My kids thought it was the best time of their lives. They couldn’t wait to do it again next year.

The only problem is… Disney cruises are very, very expensive. Going every year isn’t in the budget. I explained to them that it costs us nearly $1,000 each day when you count the cost of flying, excursions, ground transportation, and other incidentals. They were able to understand that it is a big number. However, they don’t have a reference to compare it to.

That’s when I realized I had to give them a comparison they’d understand. I explained that Great Wolf Lodge, a long weekend they loved before the pandemic, was closer to $250 a day. I said that we could spend nearly two months at Great Wolf Lodge for what we spent on the Disney Cruise. My oldest responded that he’d prefer that longer vacation at Great Wolf. My youngest disagreed – he liked visiting Norway and the other countries.

I often like to ask them about alternative ways to spend money. In this case, I said we decided on the Disney cruise because mom and I haven’t traveled to Europe for more than a decade. We get more value from visiting Westminster Abbey than the cute upselling wolf. We also can’t take two months off from work. I also explained that we chose Disney because we knew it would be a good vacation for them too. Everyone gets a little of what they want.

I’ve been looking into next year, and it seems that Royal Caribbean has a cruise that costs only about one-third of the Disney one. We found some videos online, and they looked like they had fun stuff for kids to do too. They said that they’d be interested in that cruise too. We’d be able to go on that cruise, a road trip to Hershey, PA, and have some money left over for a weekend or two at Great Wolf Lodge.

As we ended the conversation, I explained that one of my jobs is to write about making money choices. Spending money wisely is as important as earning it.

It’s hard for young kids to know about all these options. They don’t have the life experience and access to the tools to evaluate costs. These “buy this… or that?” conversations are critical for helping them grow their money skills.

Rich Kids (Book Review)

Rich Kids ReviewHappy Labor Day! This is a great weekend to watch the Teen Titans Go episode Labor Day. It’s perfect for teaching kids the value of hard work. (Of course, we’re big fans of the Teen Titans Go!’s money lessons, so check those out too.)

In other news, we are back from our vacation. One great thing about having wealth is that we can take our kids on a European Disney Cruise. I bet there aren’t too many American kids who get to see Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Scotland, and England. Disney cruises aren’t cheap; we’ll probably do Royal Caribbean next time. I’m extremely grateful that my parents helped me learn about money from a young age. There wasn’t much downtime, but I did manage to read Rich Kids by Tom Corley.

I learned about the book while reading CNBC’s website one day. The author had studied the habits of a few hundred millionaires and distilled them into a book called “Rich Habits.” I looked into that book briefly, but when I saw he had a book, “Rich Kids,” I focused my attention there instead.

The Structure of “Rich Kids”

Rich Kids has an unusual structure. The author is taking his 12-year-old son on a long road trip. His son confesses that he looked in his dad’s secret journal that he carries everywhere and is curious about it. That begins the author’s story about his summer when he was 12 years old. That summer was the best summer any kid had in the history of the world. I’m barely exaggerating.

When Tom was twelve, his parents sent him to spend the summer with his grandfather, J.C. Jobs, who seems to be a fictional character. You can think of him as a Tony Robbins figure – an inspirational speaker with more money than he can ever spend.

The book is 180 pages, but it reads very quickly because there are about 40 chapters, each making at least a blank page. The story goes back and forth between various life lessons and tall tales of J.C. and Tom’s adventures – dinner with the President of the United States with J.C.’s picture in the Oval Office. Emeril Lagasse made Tom and all his friends dinner after they traveled to New Orleans from New Jersey. There are helicopter rides, hot air balloon rides, etc. J.C.’s so rich and doesn’t work all summer – except for that one speech for the President at the White House.

If you remove the filler entertainment parts, there are probably about 70 pages of helpful content. Because the chapters were short, it felt like a series of great list-based blog articles. One example is a four-page chapter on health covering diet and exercise. It’s a good enough summary of the main points and helps emphasize that diet and exercise are essential to living a life of wealth*. There are also a lot of chapters on positive thinking and attitude. There’s a chapter on rich emotions like love and gratitude. There’s a chapter about avoiding poor habits like watching television and playing video games for more than one hour.

One chapter that I particularly liked has you write detailed letters to yourself about what your life looks like in one year, five years, ten years, and an obituary. The obituary might be too far for a kid, but long-term planning is important. I found that keeping and maintaining a “things I like” list can help as well.

Nitpicks of “Rich Kids”

I found only two things a little annoying in Rich Kids.

  • One brief mention of multi-level marketing (MLM) as a way to make some extra money. Over 99% of people in MLM lose money. Rich Kids was written in 2014, a little before the gig economy started to take off. A kid could make more money mowing one lawn than the vast majority of people will ever make in MLM.
  • There wasn’t much mention of financial literacy or personal finance. With an author who is a CPA and CFP, you would expect some basic information about investing or compound interest. Many more pages are spent on the fictional J.C. Jobs’s luxurious spending than explaining how he built and managed his wealth.

Final Thoughts about “Rich Kids”

Every book for helping kids with money has been evident in who its intended audience is… except for Rich Kids. The subtitle is “How to Raise Our Children to be Happy and Successful in Life,” so one would think it is aimed at parents. However, the material about J.C. taking Tom on trips seems aimed more toward keeping kids interested. Some parts of the book have detailed lists that may be better suited for posters or another medium that can be reinforced repeatedly over time.

Rich Kids is a very good book for supplementing the financial literacy books we typically cover at Kid Wealth. When we focus so much on money, we can lose sight of the character traits that are important in anyone’s definition of a successful life.

Top Ten Things Kids Should Know About Money

“What should my kids about money?” That’s one of the first questions I get when I tell them that I run this Kid Wealth website. It’s a fair question, but I had never set down and tried to make a comprehensive list… until now. Here’s the obligatory “Top Ten” list of what your kids should know about money.

  1. Create a Budget
    Tracking where you spend money is crucial at a young age. Budgeting is more challenging to teach than I initially thought it would be. Kids generally don’t have to be responsible for many needs (clothing, food, transportation) that adults do. It’s easier to “budget” when allocating your allowance to wants like Pokemon cards.
  2. Being Frugal for Frugal Sake
    Developing a frugal mindset at a young age will pay off for a lifetime. Kids that learn this are less to spend more than they can afford on their house and car. Those two purchases alone can be significant setbacks to the goal of financial freedom.
  3. Make More Money
    It can be either through entrepreneurism or focusing on a career that has a high average salary.
  4. Compound Interest
    I’ve covered this a lot recently. It’s important to teach kids compound interest. Making your money work for you is when personal finance becomes fun.
  5. Get Your Head in the Money Game
    Grit, motivation, having a positive attitude – it’s all important.
  6. Avoid Bad Debt
    Usually, I like to teach compound interest as a positive – how to make it work for you. However, bad debt like credit card and payday loan interest work powerfully against you.

    There’s a gray area of debt, like mortgages and student loans. Generally, they are good debt, but sometimes they can spiral out of control.

  7. College Planning
    It’s easy to get caught up in the big business of college. That can leave you with a lot of debt and a degree that doesn’t make enough to pay it off quickly. To learn about the inner workings of the college business check out The Price You Pay for College. The subtitle is appropriate: “An Entirely New Road Map for the Biggest Financial Decision Your Family Will Ever Make.”
  8. Insurance
    It’s easy to forget about insurance until a disaster happens. We teach kids about preventing dangerous situations, from avoiding strangers to using crosswalks. Most kids don’t need insurance, but they hear parents talk about it. Protecting their hard-earned money may be the most important thing on this list.
  9. Tracking your Net Worth
    There’s an old saying, “What gets measured gets improved.” I started tracking my net worth in 2006, and it was motivating to see that good money decisions like saving and investing were paying off. Tracking your net worth can take a little time to set up, but once you have a system, it’s quick. I have a dozen accounts, and I can update my monthly net worth spreadsheet in half an hour.
  10. Spend Less Than You Make
    I saved the most important one for last. It’s a combination of the first three items on the list. If there’s one golden rule of personal finance, it’s this. This topic easily flows into discussing savings rates and investing/compound interest.

Here are a couple of bonus topics that I felt fit just outside the top ten.

  • Automate the Process
    This is a top candidate to move into the top 10 in a future update. Everyone is busy and managing various aspects of their lives. Few people want to add more to their to-do list. A surprising amount of money management can be automated. I never think about writing a check to a credit card company or paying a cable bill. The kids’ college 529 plan gets new money invested every month. Our mortgage and rental properties get paid automatically, and we build equity without action. Saving money in a retirement account is a “set it and forget it” event.

    I wish I could automate the dishes, laundry, and cooking as much as I can money management.

  • Adulting
    While on the topic of dishes, laundry, and cooking, there are a lot of general “adulting tasks” that kids should be aware of. They can help with all those, but we can add anything that requires running a home, such as fixing stuff, getting health care (not as easy as it seems in cases), and anything in between.

    Kids don’t need to know much about this; they’ll pick it with their life experience.

  • How Taxes Work
    Kids should know that adults pay taxes and what they are used for. Older kids should know how tax brackets work. Too many adults wrongly believe that it’s financially disastrous to land in a high tax bracket. Growing up, I had a friend whose father had a saying, “I don’t mind paying a lot of taxes – it means I made a lot of money.”
  • Investing 101
    You can get kids started with investing by explaining how one fund, a total market index fund is all you need. In most cases, it will have low expenses and beat all the professional stock pickers.

This list is useful for more than kids. That may make sense since kids become adults and have to work with adult money situations. Preparing kids for those situations earlier is usually fine as long as the explanations aren’t too complicated.

Escape Poverty by Friending Up

A recent article in the NY Times details research on how children can rise out of poverty by making friends with rich people (not paywall – available with a free NYT account).

In particular, they cite three things:

  1. Education

    Education is always important. That includes all the way back in pre-K and continued through college. While the article didn’t call it out specifically, I thought it was worth noting that education counts, even at the Pre-K level.

  2. Money

    It seems like money is a great way to get out of poverty. Wait, that’s a sentence that is so common sense that it doesn’t make any sense. The article says, “Longer, deeper bouts of poverty can affect children for decades.” Now that makes sense. It also pointed out that avoiding adverse life events like eviction and having good health care is important. As you might imagine, two parents raising a child is much better than one. I don’t truly know what it’s like to be a single parent, but sometimes my wife is deployed for 4-6 weeks, and I get a glimpse of what it is like. It is not good.

3. Friendships and Social Capital

A study in published in Nature (a very respected journal) found that friendships with wealthy people tends to lift lower-income people up the income ladder. This makes sense because I’ve read for years that you are likely to have an income around the average of your five closest friends (generally credited to Jim Rohn).

Here’s how friendships are generally grouped:

Escape Poverty

The NY Times article suggests three ways that friendships can help boost someone out of poverty. The first is motivation or ambition. You see a friend with money and think, “Hey, I can do that.” The second way is simply basic information, such as sharing money tips (buying a house, applying for college). Lastly, there’s general networking which can lead to increased job opportunities. When I was a kid, I was able to get a high-paying job* as a pharmacy technician at a local hospital because my mother was a nurse there. When we needed more people, I asked a friend, who came on board.

The article ends with a path forward. If we can increase the amount of cross-class interactions, we can lift more people out of poverty. That’s certainly a big part of the puzzle.

If you low-income and are here and reading this, you are also more likely to move up a class. You’ve shown an interest in education and specifically the kinds of basic information that you might get from rich friends. You know how compound interest works and how kids can make money.

* The pharmacy technician job paid $8.41/hr, which was tremendous for a 16-year-old in 1993.

Get Your Kids Motivated with Papersalt Books

Motivation Papersalt Books

(Today, I’m taking another detour from kid money to “kid life.” However, like my other detours, these topics can also come back to money. For example, we’ll cover a book on grit today, which is a quality that will help a kid make money. Of course, grit is essential outside of the world of money. There’s one more thing before we get started. Papersalt did not sponsor this article, but it may seem like they did. I may make some money, at no cost to you, if you buy these books.)

We were on a family trip to Lake Winnipesaukee when a book in a gift shop caught my attention – Grit for Boys – Empowerment Book for Tweens, Teens and Young Men.

I opened it up and thumbed through a few pages. I was amazed by the quotes. Here are a couple of examples:

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.”

and

“Don’t be fearful of what could go wrong. Get excited for what may go right.”

Each page was one excellent quote after another. The pages are thick (130# stock) and seemingly waterproof. I don’t want to test it, but they have a plastic feel. With the spiral binding, it is clear that they’ll last a long, long time. That binding also lets me open it to display a different daily page.

There’s nothing magical about quotes about courage, grit, and perseverance. I’m sure you can find dozens with a quick Google search. There might even be many of the exact curated quotes in the book. However, the presentation and being able to put it in my sons’ hands is essential. I was going to try to get it from the library, but I didn’t see it available in any library in Rhode Island.

So I bought the book. But I didn’t just buy the grit book. I bought two more books: Papersalt’s Being a Big Brother and Papersalt’s Being a Boy.

These books remind me of Life’s Little Instruction Book, but aimed at the things that matter for kids.

I bought these books because I have boys, but there are versions for girls too. For example there are Being a Girl and Grit for Girls. I didn’t buy either of these two books (again, not having girls), but from the pictures on Amazon, it looks like they have the same content as the books for boys. Maybe some of the pages are different, but the example pages they show are the same, but with different art.

There are also books aimed at teens, but I haven’t looked at these. I know I will in a few years as my kids get older. If you have older kids and buy one of these books, leave me a comment. I’d like to know how they are.

In my searches for other Papersalt books, I found one more that intrigued me – Becoming Fearless. However, the Papersalt website didn’t have it. I wrote Papersalt, and they said it was out of print and wouldn’t know when/if it would be available again. It was still available at New York Puzzle Company, so I ordered that one. It’s just as good as all the others. There seems to be some overlap in concepts with the Grit book, but that’s to be expected. They are both about overcoming obstacles.

Teach Your Kids to Be a Loan Shark

Raise your hands if you are having a great Shark Week so far? I know I am.

Kids love sharks. Especially baby sharks (do do do do-do-do). I hope kids are learning lots about sharks. Did you know that sharks can teach you about money?

I found a shark who will teach your kid (or you, if you are a kid) how interest works. I’ve got an easy job of putting just a few words of an introduction together. The great people from Nex Gen Personal Finance are doing all the work. I love it when I can work smarter, not harder. Thanks, Nex Gen Personal Finance!

A couple of weeks ago, I was searching for something unrelated on the internet and stumbled upon this gem from the Nex Gen Interactive Library. You get to play the “bad guy” as you try to maximize profits from all the delicious victims that enter your office looking to borrow money.

Shady Sam Loan Shark

I made it so that you either click on the title or the image to play the game. It isn’t as easy as you think. I got a few wrong. I think it might be best for kids in the 4th grade or higher, perhaps ideally in the 5th or 6th grade.

I’m keeping it short today. It gives you more time for learning.