Saturday, March 10, 2012

Piggy Banks to Paychecks

Angie Mohr is a writer friend of mine, with whom I have interacted for a few years now. She has always been a beacon of information for myself and my fellow writers when it comes to managing our income. She is unselfish with her detailed answers in how to navigate various financial situations. Because she is so well versed in the finance world, I had faith that her latest project, Piggy Banks to Paychecks: Helping Kids to Understand the Value of a Dollar, would be just as clear and concise as the advice I have read from her over the years.

Piggy Banks to Paychecks is written to parents about how to teach their children about money. At the same time, parents are getting a crash course in financial matters. While I have no children of my own, I thought my high school and college courses in math and economics had provided me a solid foundation. Reading through this book, I realize I still have an awful lot to learn. Many parents who read this book will probably feel the same way. In order to teach, you must first have an understanding of the concept yourself. When that teaching is effective, you are demonstrating some mastery of it for yourself. In fact, Angie challenges you to take a hard look at your own financial habits prior to diving in with your children.

Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of being financially savvy with your children. Learn how to effectively teach about earning, spending, saving and the differences between using cash and credit. Each concept is demonstrated through clear definitions and anecdotes from Angie and other parents. She even relates money situations to others that seem to be unrelated. For example, a child wants to buy two different luxury items, but can only afford one. How he makes his decision in that situation is related to making the decision between getting tutored to avoid failing math and fulfilling his dream of being a musician with his current garage band. Analogies such as these speak to those who do not necessarily think of themselves as "money-minded."

Parents should not worry about burdening their children with money matters. Angie explains how much information is developmentally appropriate and how to share it. She also provides many activities that can be done in the home or in the classroom to help teach children about money. As a Montessorian, I appreciate the concreteness of her activities, such as using Monopoly money and cookies to demonstrate the problems with simply printing more money. I also appreciate how the lessons are implemented right in daily life, such as starting at the grocery store.

Common questions from children about banking practices has answers for both American and Canadian banking systems. Parents can bring their children to this book to look up the answers and read them together as a part of a joint learning process. You can also go through the section on creating your own small business for kids together.

The end of the book also has links to more resources in both the United States and in Canada, as well as a glossary of terms. Find more information and more activities on Angie's website for Piggy Banks to Paychecks. Share your feedback with her, as well!

While I did receive a free uncorrected proof of Piggy Banks to Paychecks for the purpose of reviewing, all opinions in this review are my own and unbiased. This truly is a book that I would recommend all parents and educators to read. It provides beneficial lessons to both adults and children.

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