Book Review

Books are one of the best ways for kids and parents to learn about money.

Kids can read stories about how characters handled money and learn how the actions, good or bad, impacted the outcome. Parents can read tips from money experts and help guide their children to better money success.

This page contains all the books I’ve reviewed at Kid Wealth. You may find this kids money books chart with brief book summaries helpful.

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.

Just Saving My Money (Book Review)

Just Saving My Money

Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter books have been famous for nearly fifty years. When I was a kid, I had the PC Game Just Grandma and Me, an adaption of the popular book. Much like Berenstain Bears’ Dollars and Sense, the series has added a personal finance book for beginning readers.

Just Saving My Money is an I Can Read book. It’s at the “My First” level, which is best for “Shared Reading.” In short, it’s good to read with your kids. The sentences are short. Most of the words are short too. It’s 30 pages, but there are only a couple of those short sentences on each page. The illustrations help bring additional context to the story. I’d recommend it for a bedtime story.

Just Saving My Money Summary

Little Critter’s skateboard is old and broken. He wants a new one, but he hasn’t saved enough money for one. Little Critter does chores with varying levels of success. He earns a little money and some more from a lemonade stand.

When Little Critter thinks he has enough money saved, his dad brings him to the bank. They set up an account, and the bank steals all his money. Little Critter doesn’t like this at all. His dad tells him not to worry, and Little Critter trusts him. Little Critter has a book from the bank to keep track of his money. However, he doesn’t have enough for the skateboard. He does more chores to finally be able to buy the skateboard…

… but he doesn’t want the skateboard. He wants a robot dinosaur now. He has the money for the robot dinosaur and thanks his dad for teaching him how to save his money.

Just Saving My Money Lessons

Much like the Berenstain Bears book, there is only one main money lesson in this book. That’s enough for a four or five-year-old, especially one focusing on reading. The money lesson is very obvious. It’s mostly in the title: Save money for large purchases.

You could take a step further and point out that thinking about a purchase for an extra long time can help you evaluate if you really want it. In this case, Little Critter changed his mind about how he wanted to spend his money. The only thing that’s a little odd is that he went from wanting a replacement skateboard, which he could use for many years of fun, to a robot dinosaur. I love robots more than anyone I know, but I bet it gets boring once you finish with the 7-10 things it does. I feel like the skateboard was a more practical decision.

Just Saving My Money Read Aloud

Final Thoughts on Just Saving My Money

I like this book because it’s very age appropriate. If you are getting a beginning reading book, a money lesson is a good bonus. Unlike the Berenstain Bears book, the lesson seems relevant today. It’s priced at a dollar less ($4 vs. $5), so I consider that a great value.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Berenstain Bears: Dollars and Sense (Book Review)

Berenstain Bears Dollars and Sense

I grew up in the late 1980s with the Berenstain Bears stories. I forgot a lot about the specifics of their books. I certainly don’t remember Berenstain Bears books about money. Fortunately, this isn’t a case of my mind forgetting things. Stan and Jan Berenstain didn’t write Dollars and Sense until 2001. It was one of the last books that the creative team wrote about the famous bear family in bear country.

Before we start on Dollars and Sense, I uncovered an interesting detail in my research about Jan and Stan Berenstain. One of their first published books in 1952 was about how to fill out your tax form. It’s called Tax-Wise: A Pictorial Romp Through the Tax Form.

Is that as interesting as their 1960 book “And Beat Him When he Sneezes” ? I don’t know. Nonetheless, the Berenstain Bears is a best-selling children’s book series.

Let’s get to reviewing the book:

Berenstain Bears’ Dollars and Sense Summary

Books aimed at four and five-year-olds need to be focused on the basics. That means starting with physical coins and dollars. Dollars and Sense doesn’t disappoint. It draws in kids with the physical fun of coins (flippable, stackable, etc.) and transitions into more valuable dollars. Unlike many other early reader books, Dollars and Sense doesn’t explain why dollars are much more valuable than cents.

Instead, we have dad going on a rampage that he can’t give Brother Bear and Sister $5 and $10 for baseball cards and doll wedding dresses. Mama Bear comes to the rescue and suggests they give the cubs an allowance. I strongly suggest giving kids an allowance. Brother and Sister Bear proceed to make money mistakes. They spend all their allowance on the first day of the week and never save any.

One day, they notice that Papa Bear is balancing the checkbook for the family. Mama Bear explains that balancing the checkbook allows them to review how they spent their money and how much they have left. Mama Bear teaches the kids how to write checks, and the cubs suddenly decide to make a better spending decision. The book ends very abruptly after that.

My version of the book includes a series of tear-out checks and bonus stickers.

Money Lessons from Berenstain Bears’ Dollars and Sense

The big money lesson is to create some barrier to make kids pause and think about spending money. The book uses writing checks to accomplish this. I’m not a fan. I’m 46 years old, and I’ve never balanced a checkbook. I rarely write a check nowadays. I could write two or three a year. This feels antiquated. Not only that, but it’s spending a lot of time learning a system they may never use in real life.

Give Berenstain Bears’ Dollars and Sense a Try

The good news is that you don’t have to buy the book or go to the library to see if the book is right for you. I found a video on YouTube of a person reading the book out loud. I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t comment on the legality of essentially “giving away” the book’s contents, but YouTube hasn’t taken it down. There are several others, but I liked this one.



Additionally, I found that it may be free to borrow digitally on Archive.org. If you have an account (it’s free), give it a try.

Final Thoughts on Berenstain Bears’ Dollars and Sense

I really wanted to like this book, but I just can’t. There’s one important money lesson, think before you spend, but kids will probably learn that best by making money mistakes themselves. Getting kids to write checks for their allowance will likely make them equate managing money with chores/work.

There are better children’s finance literacy books to teach kids the value of a dollar.

Rating: ⭐⭐

I know this glowing review is going to make you want to spend your money right away. That’s sarcasm, but I always have to include the obligatory link to the book Amazon. If you do make a purchase I may make a few pennies to pay for hosting.

Investing for Kids (Book Review)

Investing for Kids

This article is about the book “Investing for Kids: How to Save, Invest and Grow Money” by Dylin Redling. If you are interested in the topic, in general, visit teaching kids how to invest

I had been meaning to pick up a copy of Investing for Kids for some time. It first caught my attention due to the incredible number of Amazon reviews. Check it out: over 2100 reviews as of mid-October 2022. More importantly, the reviews are excellent.

I finally took the plunge when I saw the author, Dylin Redling, at a financial conference selling the book. My kids now have an autographed copy, much like The Golden Quest and M is for Money. I hope that will make them want to read it more. I don’t want to give them too many money books. The next one that I want them to read is Grandpa’s Fortune Fables. The good news is that while this book says it’s for ages 8-12, I think it’s a better fit for 10-14.

Let’s get started!

First Impressions of Investing for Kids

Investing for Kids is 120 pages long, which may seem slightly intimidating for an eight-year-old. However, there are a lot of illustrations which helps make it a quick read. The illustrations aren’t fluff; there are graphs, work pages, and infographics. With seven chapters, a kid could reasonably do one chapter each night. More advanced readers could do a couple of chapters daily and finish it in a few days.

The chapters are:

  1. Money 101
  2. Save Your Money
  3. Introduction to Investing
  4. Low Risk/Low Reward
  5. High Risk/High Reward
  6. Diversify Your Investments
  7. Grow Your Money

A section at the end includes a brief glossary, a resource list, and an index.

Here’s a little bit about each chapter and what your child will learn:

Chapter Guide

1. Money 101

Money 101 starts with a history of money and its physical appearance. I always find this boring, so I was happy to see that this was short. The book explains how to earn money, how interest works, and was debt is within the first ten pages. Before the first fifteen pages are over, there’s a concise description of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), certificate of deposits (CDs), internet banks, credit unions, and brokerages. It ends with a great story about entrepreneur Debbie Fields and her famous cookies.

My favorite part of this chapter is the section on earning money, which asks two specific questions: “What do you like to do?” and “What are you good at?”

2. Save Your Money

This chapter stresses the importance of budgeting and savings accounts so that they can earn interest. It explains what principal is along with simple and compound interest. I’ve seen compound interest taught a lot, but never simple interest.

The part of budgeting dedicates significant space to charity. There’s a brief introduction to passive income, the Federal Reserve Bank, Warren Buffett, and the Rule of 72. I love a page that will inspire you to go on a field trip to different banks to ask them about the interest rates they have on their products.

Unfortunately, this book makes the classic mistake of crediting Albert Einstein as saying that compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He most likely DID NOT say any such thing. That doesn’t make it any less great.

3. Introduction to Investing

This introduction to investing section was interesting because it didn’t go into various types of investing. Instead, it mentioned the value of investing early. It covers risk and reward and Return on Investment (ROI). It teaches kids to think about whether they should be risky or safe investors in a way that makes it about their own risk tolerance.

This chapter also covers liquidity, which is something that I often overlook myself. In Bank of Dad, we learned that kids might understand a lot about liquidity because their parents whisk their birthday money away to a savings bank where they can’t easily access it.

My favorite part of the chapter is the short section on evaluating a company’s main attributes: earnings, growth, competition, consistency, and management. This is a terrific way to evaluate individual stocks.

Another notable part of the chapter got a book the top negative review on Amazon. Three pages are devoted to investing in companies that “Make the World a Better Place.” It’s mostly about investing in a company that does good. As part of this, there’s a concise section, about a page, on ESG investing. The vast majority of this section is about the environmental aspect of companies. The review (unfairly, in my opinion) described this section as “woke ‘virtuals’ and ‘morals.'” Many kids are very concerned about the environment, and they should be. They are looking at eighty years of climate disasters, and reversing the damage that has been done can’t come soon enough for them.

This chapter included a page about the Great Recession of 2008. That’s a complicated historical note. It’s one example of why I think this book is better suited for older kids.

Low Risk/Low Reward

This chapter is where the reader learns about specific types of investments. The lower-risk investments covered in this chapter include treasury bills, certificates of deposits (CDs), highly-rated corporate bonds, and high-yield bonds.

This chapter covers corporate credit ratings, bond yield, and expense ratios. I would typically associate an expense ratio with a mutual fund or exchange-traded funds (ETFs), but it does have a place when investing in bond funds.

High Risk/High Reward

The high risk/high reward chapter starts with investing in the stock market. It includes information about individual stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs. It has concepts of avoiding gambling and lotteries as well as understanding bears, bulls, and black swans.

This chapter also includes information on how to open an investment account with online brokerages such as Vanguard, Fidelity, Charles Schwab, or Robinhood. It walks you through buying your first stock, including placing a market or limit order. There’s a section on dividends. Finally, the ultimate mantra is covered, “Buy low, sell high.”

This chapter includes three other types of high risk/high reward investments: private equity, venture capital, and angel investing. I don’t know many kids who can use these investment options. Not many adults have these in their investment portfolios. There are some fun mentions, such as Pets.com’s failure.

There’s one page that mentions investments in “real estate, art, and collectibles.” I think giving real estate investing only part of one page is a big disservice. It’s worse that it is grouped with art and collectible investing. Imagine grouping owning an apartment building in Manhattan with having a few Beanie Babies.

Diversify Your Investments

Diversifying all the investments mentioned in the previous two chapters is essential. This chapter goes into asset allocation in detail. There’s more about exchange-traded funds, investing in funds with low fees, and dollar cost averaging.

This short chapter (10 pages) also includes a short mention of Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE), and the rule of 25. The section is about two-thirds of a page. I would have liked to see this be at least a few pages.

Grow Your Money

This final chapter brings it all together by starting with entrepreneurism. There are a few more pages on FIRE. I’m not sure why there was the short section in the previous chapter when it’s covered more here.

Finally, there’s some coverage on adult topics like having a retirement account. There’s more coverage of 401ks than kid Roth IRAs. There’s a brief mention of taxes, which is fine. Kids probably don’t need to get into long-term capital gain taxes.

Final Thoughts on Investing for Kids

The lack of real estate investing information is disappointing. I think it deserves its own chapter in any general investing book. One way to supplement this omission is by watching Teen Titans Go!’s episode of Finally a Lesson

Despite that minor nit-pick, Investing for Kids is a great book for a tween or teen learning how to invest. I’ve read quite a few books for children, and this is the best one on the singular topic of investing.

For topics other than investing please these kid books about money.

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 SkillsSynopsisAmazonWords
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 AmazonGeneral
If You Made a Million5-8⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐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 AmazonGeneral
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 AmazonGeneral
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 AmazonGeneral
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 AmazonGeneral
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 AmazonGeneral
Investing for Kids10-14⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐InvestingInvesting for Kids is a great book for tweens and teens looking to learning one thing: investing. It covers bank, stock, bond, and start-up investing well, but barely touches real estate investing.See at AmazonGeneral
A Boy, a Budget, and a DreamKidsSee at AmazonGeneral
A Chair for My MotherKidsSee at AmazonGeneral
Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last SundayKidsSee at AmazonGeneral
Curious George Saves His PenniesKidsSee at AmazonGeneral
Give It! (A Moneybunny Book)KidsSee at AmazonGeneral
Growing Money: A Complete Investing Guide for KidsKidsSee at AmazonGeneral
Harmoney & the Empty Piggy Bank: A Book about Money, Budgeting, Entrepreneurship, and PersistenceKidsSee at AmazonGeneral
If Money Doesn't Grow on Trees, Where Does it Grow?KidsSee at AmazonGeneral
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 AmazonGeneral
Malik's First Job: Financial Tips for Teens and Young Adults KidsSee at AmazonGeneral
Milton the Money Savvy Pup: Brings Home the BaconKidsSee at AmazonGeneral
Molly Earns Her PieKidsSee at AmazonGeneral
Money PlanKidsSee at AmazonGeneral
Moneytopia: Earning: Financial Literacy for ChildrenKidsSee at AmazonGeneral
No, No, Sonny, Save That Money! A Fun Rhyming Book about Money, Saving, & InvestingKidsSee at AmazonGeneral
One Cent, Two Cents, Old Cent, New Cent: All About MoneyKidsSee at AmazonGeneral
Pennies for PiggyKidsSee at AmazonGeneral
Rock, Brock, and the Savings ShockKidsSee at AmazonGeneral
The Berenstain Bears' Trouble with MoneyKidsSee at AmazonGeneral
The Four Money BearsKidsSee at AmazonGeneral
Three CupsKidsSee at AmazonGeneral
Ultimate Kids' Money BookKidsSee at AmazonGeneral

(Originally Published: Apr 4, 2022)

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.

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.

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.

The Lemonade War (Book Review)

The Lemonade War

A couple of weeks ago, the whole family was at the local church fair, when my oldest son saw a book – The Lemonade War. He snatched it and said, “I’m getting this for my brother.” My kids often read similar books – they are 15 months apart in age. Usually, their love of books revolves around graphic novels such as Captain Underpants, Dogman, or Wimpy Kid. This was different. I HAD to figure out what it was. For 75 cents we picked up three books in the Lemonade War series with The Lemonade War being the first book (obviously).

I would soon find out that it was part of the third-grade curriculum at school. Author Jacqueline Davies somehow wrote about our family 15 years ago. Here’s her brief video trailer for the book (we’ll cover a lot more than what’s in this video):


The Lemonade War trailer from Jacqueline Davies on Vimeo.

Lemonade War Plot Summary

The Lemonade War is a story of sibling rivalry and entrepreneurial spirit. (You knew it had to be about money and business to be featured on Kid Wealth, right?) Ten-year-old Evan Treski is having a bad summer ever since he found out his younger sister, Jessie was going to skip a grade. That would put her in Evan’s class. The two siblings are 14 months apart and Evan doesn’t want to share his fourth grade with his little sister. Jessie is a math wiz and Evan can hear it now, “Evan, why can’t you do math like your little sister?”

So that’s why my oldest son, entering the fourth grade, wanted his brother to read it. They both get great grades, but there are some things that our youngest is just a natural at. It drives his older brother batty. Just like Jessie in the book, he’s just trying to live his life and do his best. Fortunately, they’ll be in separate grades, so we don’t have the problem that Evan and Jessie do.

This sibling rivalry leads the Lemonade War characters to make a bet. The person who sells the most lemonade in 5 days gets the other person’s money. The book’s fourteen chapters alternate between the two characters’ perspectives. In the battle of the lemonade stands will Jessie’s math-smart skills win? Or will Evan’s people-smart skills make him the Lemonade King?

Jessie has savvy marketing tips, while Evan has to resort to diagrams to solve math problems that Jessie could do in her head. Evan’s people skills help him get to a nearly insurmountable lead. Jessie creates a franchise model to quickly close the gap. The different approaches to the siblings’ lemonade sales make it a fun read.

The chapters start with definitions of business terms. They are named Slump, Breakup, Joint Venture, Partnership, Competition, Underselling, Location/Location/Location, Going Global, Negotiation, Malicious Mischief, A Total Loss, Waiting Period, Crisis Management, and Reconciliation. The chapters aren’t designed to teach you about the business term. It’s a fictional book that’s mostly about sibling rivalry, so it would be up to the parent or teacher to reinforce the concepts. There is The Lemonade War Teacher’s Guide, but it doesn’t focus very well on the business topics.

Perhaps the best money lessons come at the end of the book:

Ten Tips for Turning Lemons into Loot

Ironically, the kids never actually used real lemons, just cans of lemonade. Nonetheless, they learned these ten business lessons:

  1. Location – It all starts with where you put your lemonade stand.
  2. Advertising – Make sure your lemons stand out.
  3. Underselling – Cheap! Cheaper! Cheapest lemons in town!
  4. Goodwill – How to make people love your lemons.
  5. Value-added – Giving your lemons that something extra.
  6. Business Regulations – Be sure you know your local lemon laws.
  7. Profit Margins – How to calculate the limits on your lemons.
  8. Franchises – How thirteen lemons can earn more than one.
  9. Going Mobile – Take your lemons on the road.
  10. Employee Appreciation – Don’t be a sour boss – always say thank you to your workers.

The book ends with one loose thread that isn’t resolved. That serves as the cliff hanger for the next book in the series, The Lemonade Crime. The rest of the series is The Bell Bandit, The Candy Smash, The Magic Trap, The Bridge Battle (pre-order). I’ve only read The Lemonade War so far, but in reading reviews of the other books it doesn’t seem like they help kids develop money skills. There are other things to learn in the other books, and as long as my kids are reading, I consider that a win.

Overall, the best thing about this book is that it’s an enjoyable read and the topic is perfect for the start of summer vacation. It didn’t even occur to my 9-year-old to mention it to me as a “money book” such as American Girl’s Smart Guide to Money. It’s a subtle way to sneak some extra business lessons. Add The Lemonade War to your book collection today.

The Lemonade War’s Official Book Description and Awards

I hope my review was helpful to you in figuring out if The Lemonade War is right for you or your kid. Sometimes, I find that the author’s back-cover blurb is useful.

For a full hour, he poured lemonade. The world is a thirsty place, he thought as he nearly emptied his fourth pitcher of the day. And I am the Lemonade King.

Fourth-grader Evan Treski is people-smart. He’s good at talking with people, even grownups. His younger sister, Jessie, on the other hand, is math-smart, but not especially good with people. She knows that feelings are her weakest subject. So when their lemonade war begins, there is no telling who will win – or even if their fight will ever end. Brimming with savvy marketing tips for making money at any business, definitions of business terms, charts, diagrams, and even math problems, this fresh, funny, emotionally charged novel subtly explores how arguments can escalate beyond anyone’s intent.

Awards 2009 Rhode Island Children’s Book Award, 2007 New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, North Carolina Children’s Book Award 2011, 2011 Nutmeg Award (Connecticut) Check out www.lemonadewar.com for more information on The Lemonade War Series, including sequels The Lemonade Crime, The Bell Bandit, and The Candy Smash.

If You Made a Million (Book Review)

I’m on vacation, so I’m going to resurface this early article from Kid Wealth. Check back for fresh content later in the week.

Have you ever heard of If You Made a Million by David M. Schwartz? It’s illustrated by Steven Kellogg who happens to have written and illustrated one of my wife’s favorite books, The Mysterious Tadpole. My wife read it when she was a little girl. Our kids are very familiar with Alphonse.

By now you may have realized that If You Made a Million is not about helping adults understand money. It’s about helping children. But please don’t click away just yet. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last 2 years, it’s that adults can learn quite a bit from children’s books.

Let’s dig into what makes If You Made a Million so special. (By the way, I was not paid to write this review. I simply saw it at the library. I will however make a small commission if you purchase the book from the above link.)

If You Made a Million

Before I get started with the review, let’s get a very important number out there: 1989. That’s when If You Made a Million was written. Yes, the book is as old as Taylor Swift. It is also three years older than Your Money or Your Life, which is often considered the first FIRE book. It was also written 6 years before Suze Orman wrote her first book.

Being old doesn’t make things good. (This blog is living proof of that.) Let’s get to the actual content.

Overall, the book takes a child on a journey of earning and spending money. It starts with feeding a fish a penny, which will allow you to buy one of a shyster’s pebbles. It continues to educate children about coins with increasingly more difficult jobs and ways to spend the money. These first few pages are fairly boring, but they go quickly since there’s only a sentence or two on each page. It’s important to build that foundation.

Once you get into earning a dollar, the book tells the story of compound interest. Here’s the first one:

At ten dollars, the compound interest story gets a little more exciting:

At one thousand dollars, the idea of checks and how they work is introduced. It’s simply much easier than carrying around a wheelbarrow of coins or even a bunch of bills.

At fifty thousand dollars, we learn about how mortgages work:

There’s a little more to mortgages. Specifically, it shows how you keep giving money to the bank year after year for 40 years. The illustrations show the old man still physically bringing his check to the bank for his castle payment. It also explains that this time, you are the one paying interest to the bank.

Finally, we get to the FIRE part of the book. It only takes six sentences. The first four are:

“If you have some very expensive plans, you may have to take on a tough job that pays well.
If you think ogre-taming would be an exciting challenge, you can have fun and make a great deal of money, too.
Of course, you may not enjoy taming obstreperous ogres or building bulky bridges, or painting purple pots.
Enjoying your work is more important than money, so you should look for another job or make less expensive plans.”

Remember what I wrote before about adults learning from children’s books? That last sentence is “Exhibit A” of that.

I promised you six sentences. Here’s two more:

Did you catch the financial independence message there? Having that kind of passive income gives you the option to not work at all, but maybe you should choose the work that interests you because doing nothing could be boring.

There’s a quick concluding page after that to get children’s minds thinking about what they’d do if they made a million dollars.

Final Thoughts on If You Made a Million

I found it surprising how well the math from 1989 holds up today. The banks aren’t paying 5.25% interest like the examples. However, we often work with similar (or even larger) interest rates assuming more risk and different asset allocations.

Also, the one million number at the end might not seem like enough today. However, it is $2,034,157.94 in 2018 dollars. You’ll often see $2 million as the target number for FIRE, so the one million number from 1989 is solid.

After the story ends, there’s a significant section of “A Note from the Author.” Here you get about 1500 words on each of the themes in the book: why money, how banks work, interest and compound interest, checks and checking accounts, loans, and income tax.

Finally, there’s a huge explanation of how he calculated some of the amazing numbers used in the book. These are things like a million dollars in pennies will stack 95 miles high and a million dollars in quarters would way as much as a whale. If you love geeky math, this is fun, but you could choose to skip it and still get all the financial lessons.

I loved If You Made a Million so much that I decided to buy it. We’ve read it about every year for a few years now.

Originally published on: Jan 11, 2022 at 13:39