Another unsolicited recommendation: Beth Kobliner's Make Your Kid A Money Genius (Even If You're Not)

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81unrdRtXaL.jpgNot long ago I saw an ad for Make Your Kid A Money Genius (Even If You're Not) in the NYT book section and it was blurbed by Cass Sunstein, whose name came up while I was researching my UChicago Law School story I peeped the book on Amazon and the blurbs backed up by real people's good reviews. 

I don't particularly have aspirations for my kids to grow up to be rich people (not in debt, however, absolutely) but I do want them  to be smart about whatever amount of money they have. Also I have been shy of math for most of my life and have definitely tried to avoid it where possible, which I'm not proud of. So maybe this book could fill in some gaps in places I'd normally feel too intimidated to talk about for fear of doing it wrong. (It has made me feel better, by the way, to hear the message that people in finance WANT you to be intimidated by what they do because if more people understood it they'd make less money. Screw them! Knowledge is power!) 

I've been recommending Kobliner's book to my friends. She is firmly on the side of encouraging your child to go to college (simply because from an economic perspective, the lack of a college education is so limiting in the job market) so if that's an issue for you, then skip the book.

The nice thing is that the book is organized into advice for kids in preschool, elementary school, middle school, high school, college, and even young adulthood so I felt okay about zooming over to the parts that were most relevant to me now (although I learned that everyone should apply for financial aid in college because you never know.) And the tips she gives are things that are very manageable, like making sure my kid has an idea of how a credit card works (so he doesn't think it's just a magical toy) or how many pennies are in a quarter, etc. 

Kobliner wisely chooses which research to incorporate into her book--she cited, for instance, studies that show how much more likely kids are to attend college if they've heard their whole lives how carefully their parents have saved for their tuition. Sometimes in books like these authors don't always know what's interesting or memorable. I recently read an advice-type book where the author relied on swaths of blocked off "expert" quotes and it just looked like she was eating up contractually obligated pages in the book. 

Kobliner's voice is great, too. She's funny and casual but, happily, not in some corny, chirpy way. You can tell she is a geek for this stuff (and blends it well with the trials and tribulations of parenthood--she acknowledges what a drag it is to work on one's will, for instance.) Frankly I was loathe to read this book at first because it never seemed like what I wanted to dive into but once I started I realized it was easy, even fun reading. If you only have time for like 1-2 parenting books a year (or even every few years) I'd say this one is worth that scant amount of time.