[Editor's Note: Today marks the return of guest columnist Whitney after a sabbatical of almost a year. In keeping with our CFE Week, she will be doing a book review. However, it is not only CFE week for you, but also your children, so she will be reviewing a finance book aimed at kids. Don't forget that we're offering a 15% discount this week on our online courses (use code CFE2018) and a 57% discount off the WCI book if ordered in bulk ($13.99 each including tax/shipping for 25 or more.)]
Today I am reviewing the book Dad’s Guidebook: Finance A Kid’s Guide to Saving and Investing by Alex Molldrem, a veterinarian. This book is aimed at children and teens. It is a relatively small book that contains 25 chapters that build on themselves. Most of the chapters are between 1-5 pages. I would tell you how many pages there are but there are no page numbers. It's about a 1/2 centimeter thick. It currently sells on Amazon for about $7.
Major Features of Dad's Guidebook: Finance
One of the major features of this book that I can appreciate is the simplicity. It starts with the first chapter talking about habits to be successful before even discussing money and ends with talking about allocating stocks and using a financial advisor. This book is best for a child ten years old or older, although it could be adapted with parental help to younger ages, especially the first few chapters. Each chapter builds on the previous ones. It’s like the book that grows with you. Even though the first few chapters were just review for me, by the end of the book I was learning new things. For example, don't invest more than 5% of your money into the company you work for.
Another feature that I appreciate is that the author gives readers the facts rather than his opinion. For example, instead of telling you exactly how to use—say a hedge fund—he simply defines it, explains the pros and cons and uses of it, and then recommends that you read more books or see other information if you really want to know more of the details. It’s just a book that tells you where to start and how to get there.
My Favorite Parts
One of my favorite parts of the book was the beginning. In the introduction, it encourages you to write down activities you enjoy, your goals, and your dream job. I love being able to write and mark in books, as long as it’s not annotating the Iliad in my English class. Another thing that I didn't really expect in a financial book was a chapter on habits, discipline, and happiness. Alex Molldrem states in his discipline chapter, “Discipline is the cornerstone needed to obtain a positive trajectory in life.” He explains that with discipline it will be easier for you to face hard times and how to take them in stride. For me at least, I never really thought too much about how making your bed every day could affect how you handle your money.
I also appreciate that this book has a chapter on employment which discusses what to do and not to do when preparing for and attending an interview. This book gives directions right from square one, assuming no pre-existing knowledge about money. It doesn’t just explain how to handle money other than stuffing it in a piggy bank (I mean, it does that too) but it gives information for a child to be successful in their upcoming career and life. It even talks about how to live your life–“Live like a millionaire” as Dr. Molldrem puts it. Now, this is one of my favorite quotes from the book. One, because it sounds just like “Live like a Resident” and two because it means exactly the same thing. He goes on to explain that many people who are wealthy got that way because they lived below their means, so when he says “Live like a Millionaire” he really means live frugally. It’s that “fake it til you make it” attitude.
My favorite quote from the book is:
You have an ace up your sleeve. You may not even realize it, but you have an ace that not even some of the most powerful investors have. Many successful investors have stated that they would be willing to give up everything they have earned in order to have that ace that you have. What is that ace? Time.
- Connecting the Dots (a lengthy quote from Steve Jobs)
- I Just Want To Be Happy (Explains how money provides choices)
- The Power of Time (Compound Interest)
- College (Why it's important and how to pay for it)
- Multiple Income Streams
- Where to Stash That Cash (Savings Accounts)
- Investment Vehicles (one of the longer chapters)
- Value of a Stock
- Trading Stocks
- Market Corrections
- Stock Allocation
- Danger (Beware of politicians, options, margins, share buybacks, analysts, market fluctuations)
- Perspective (Giving)
- Who to Trust
Negatives of the Book
Now no book is perfect, therefore there have to be some negatives to this book. And I really couldn’t find many of them. The one that really bothered me was that there were no page numbers. I’m someone who ALWAYS loses my bookmarks so instead, I can usually just look at the page number and remember it when I come back to the book, even if I’m reading more than one book at a time. As my dad would put it, “Sounds like a personal problem”. Just use a bookmark I guess or read it all in one sitting. Other than that there isn’t very much bad I can say about this book. I would definitely recommend it to anybody with kids or teens because it is just a key book with all the information that your kid should know before they move out. I might even recommend getting one for each of your kids so they can write their goals in it and mark important details.
Thanks so much for reading! There will be more articles soon when I get around to writing them, but for now, I’m going to go finish all my homework. If you have any book recommendations similar to this book or containing any other financial information, please let me know in the comments below!
What do you think? What is your favorite financial book for kids and why? Have you written one for your kids? Comment below!