I am excited to announce that after 15 years in print, my book about how I debt-proofed my kids has been completely revised, expanded and released for a new generation of parents and kids. Here’s an excerpt from Raising Financially Confident Kids (Revell 2012), which is still my favorite book of all time.
Something amazing happened on my way to getting a financially confident life. My kids got one too.
While our two boys, Jeremy and Josh were still young, I awoke from a twelve-year-spending coma to discover we were in the fast lane to financial ruin. I had done terribly with money and credit cards. We were in a horrible jam.
But even worse than the debt was this terrifying thought: What if our kids turn out like me? Clearly, I was setting my kids up to become powerless pawns in the hands of an eager credit industry that is poised to enslave them to a lifetime of debt.
We had so many hopes and dreams for our children but if things didn’t change we were about to mess them up. Big time. We had to find a way to teach our boys the truth about consumer debt and money. They had to learn that if they opened their lives to it, unsecured debt could prevent them from reaching their potential. Debt could negatively impact their adult relationships, diminish their options, ruin their futures and destroy their dreams.
The following years proved to be remarkable in the Hunt home. I had a lot to learn and a huge financial mess to clean up. And the boys? They learned about personal finance right along with me.
We designed an aggressive, yet simple, kid-sized financial plan. In a nutshell, we assigned to each of our children a portion of the family’s financial resources to manage—an amount commensurate with each son’s age, needs and ability. They had to go through Basic Training. They had rules to obey about giving and saving. They had expenses to cover, decisions to make and consequences to suffer.
Because money management was something that required lots of responsibility, our boys eagerly learned the fundamentals of personal finance. They learned that to whom much is given, much is required. Sure they were just kids, but they weren’t play-acting. This was the real thing. And these kids rose to the occasion.
If our plan had been a miserable failure, you can be sure I wouldn’t be asking you to buy my book. And had I known I would someday tell the story and offer the plan to you, I would’ve taken notes.
Thankfully, I have something better than notes or lesson plans. I have the living results in Jeremy and Josh. I am eager to let you get to know them better.
If I’ve learned anything from the stacks of mail I’ve received over the years, it’s that America’s kids—from all demographics—are leaving home and going into the real world knowing a lot of things. But money management is not one of them.
No matter your level of financial confidence, the amount of debt you may be carrying, or the mistakes you have made in your own life, teaching your kids about money management will be surprisingly easy. Even if your own financial house could use a bit of tidying, you can start right away to debt-proof your kids!
Question: What are you doing to raise your kids to be financially confident? Let’s discuss in the comments section below.