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Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Even though I took high school English many years ago, I still remember our teacher requiring us to memorize many quotes from the books we were required to read. One I still remember was by Virgil, “As the twig is bent, the tree inclines.” I suspect that the first time I read the quote I did not fully appreciate the meaning. It is readily apparent that if a twig is bent in a certain direction, the tree will grow that way. What I failed to see was that the philosopher Virgil was not really talking about trees but about people. The behavior and lessons children are taught early in life, will have a significant impact on their adult lives.

Unfortunately, most people are doing a rather poor job of teaching their children smart money habits. Dave Ramsey and his daughter Rachel Cruze, the authors of Smart Money, Smart Kids have written a very comprehensive guide to help parents teach children smart money habits.

Dave Ramsey is a financial expert, NY Times best selling author and host of the nationally-syndicated Dave Ramsey Show. In the book, Mr. Ramsey shares his path to becoming a financial expert. He actually learned the hard way – by doing a lot of things wrong, going bankrupt and then struggling to get his life back on track. After bankruptcy, one thing that was not on his list was to re-establish credit. He was keenly aware of what got him into financial trouble and equally well aware of how to avoid trouble in the future. He made a commitment to live debt free.

Rachel Cruze had the good fortune to be born right around the time he was emerging from his financial troubles. She got the benefit of being raised according to her fathers newly discovered financial principles. As a child, she was not “given” an allowance. She was allowed to earn money by working, doing chores. She learned the connection between working and money. She was taught how to save and the proper ways to spend money. Part of the smart money education was setting aside a portion of all she earned for giving to others.

There are some extremely good examples of teaching/modeling smart money financial lessons beginning at ages 3-5 and all the way through college. By teaching them while they are young, before they have become a slave to the credit card trap, Mr. Ramsey’s children have started life with no debt – including no student loan debt. This is a very enviable way to start life. Rachel and her father show step by step how it is done. The lessons are simple and straightforward, but they do require discipline.

Mr. Ramsey and Rachel have a strong religious faith that is woven throughout the book. It is not necessary that your share their faith in order to gain the enormous benefits offered throughout the book.

I think most parents have a strong desire to provide a great life for their children. There is probably no better gift you can give your child/children than to teach them about the debt trap. This book is a real how to guide to give your children that gift.

I was provided a review copy of this book.
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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Synopsis:

Financial guru Dave Ramsey and his daughter, Rachel Cruze, team up to teach parents how to “raise money smart kids in a debt-filled world.” Starting with how to teach your children to work, and continuing through what your child should do with their hard earned money (spend, save, give), Dave and Rachel talk about the principles of good money management for children as well as giving the reader plenty of stories of what life was like for the Ramsey kids. The second half of the book dives into more advanced issues such as how to be debt free for life, including how to go to college debt free.

My Thoughts:

I’m a huge Dave Ramsey fan and I’ve read a lot of his books, but this is his first book written with his daughter, Rachel. As usual, Dave presents a no nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is guide to raising money-smart kids. However, the addition of his daughter as an author changes the feel of the book. She offers story after story of what life was like growing up as “Dave Ramsey’s daughter.” The stories she adds give the book humor and somewhat soften Dave’s usual writing style.

Reading a book with two authors can sometimes feel disjointed. Not so with this book. Dave and Rachel identify themselves before each section that they write. They also use two different fonts in the book (one for Dave and one for Rachel) to help the reader remember who is writing at that point. It’s a nice touch that helps make the book feel more connected.

The information presented in Smart Money, Smart Kids is the same information that Dave Ramsey has been preaching for years, but it’s tailored to apply to children. Not only do we get stories of how these principles were applied to Dave’s own children growing up (which are the best parts of the book, in my opinion), but we find out specifically how to implement them in our own families. After talking about each concept in the book, Dave and Rachel break it down by age group and tell us how to apply that concept to our own children. For instance, in the chapter on saving, we’re told that kids younger than 6 need to see their money so it should be kept in a clear container. Six to thirteen year olds need to set small savings goals such as saving for a toy. And children ages 14-18, need to learn how to save for something big, such as a car or college. What you end up with is a very practical guide for how to train your children to handle money at every age.

This is a very well written book. The information presented in it is practical, timely and opposite of what the rest of the world may teach your children about money. And best of all, it’s fun to read. I highly recommend Smart Money, Smart Kids for parents of children ages 18 and younger. Your children will thank you one day for reading this book.

I received a complementary PDF version of this book to review as a member of the Smart Money, Smart Kids launch team. All opinions are my own.
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Whether you constantly struggle with debt and finances or feel you have a good, godly grasp on the subject, you may wonder how to pass on skills for handling money, that will not only prevent your children from the stress of debt, but teach them how to use their money in godly ways. Smart Money Smart Kids is written by Dave Ramsey and his adult daughter Rachel Cruze. The book does one of the best jobs I have seen of not only explaining what money skills you need to teach your children, but exactly how to do it.

While written from a Christian perspective, this book is not a Bible study. Ramsey and Cruze make no attempt though to hide their beliefs or how those beliefs influence their decisions in life. My only minor disagreement with them from the faith perspective, is that they believe the common Christian idea of tithing ten percent. I wish they had done a little deeper study, because they would have discovered that in the Old Testament people actually gave much more than 10% and in some instances in the New Testament, Christians were selling everything they had and sharing it to help others. Personally, our family tries to operate from the viewpoint that everything is God’s and we try to spend it in ways we believe please him, which generally means giving away much more than ten percent. This is a stretch goal for many and our slight disagreement on tithing does not negate my enthusiasm for the book as a whole.

Perhaps my favorite part of the way Ramsey and Cruze give their suggestions for teaching good money skills to our children is that they have really thought through all of the possible angles. I have seen many parenting books trashed by critics who misunderstood the advice or followed it in ways not promoted by the authors. Ramsey and Cruze address this more than once. They give concrete examples of people they have met who have misunderstood and followed advice they never actually gave. The authors are even more helpful because they explain why going to that extreme is actually harmful to your child and re-emphasizing what the original advice would look like in practice.

From how to teach saving and budgeting to how to handle paying for college, this book is a great how-to manual for teaching your children about money. Strangely enough, my husband and I found Dave Ramsey after we had already instituted many of these same ideas with our own daughter. We executed a few of them in a slightly different fashion, but the principles were the same.

Our family has not done everything perfectly with money, but I will say whenever we stick by the basic principles the Ramsey clan promotes, things go smoothly. The principles work – we can testify to it. Not only do my husband and I avoid financial arguments, but we have raised a child who is incredibly hard working and extremely money savvy, while also being extremely generous. (I was given a free sneak peek at this book by the authors in return for my honest review. This is a must-have parenting resource in my opinion.)
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze (Dave's daughter) co-authored Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money, which BookLook Bloggers was kind enough to give me a copy to review.

Right off the bat, I need to lay my cards on the table. First, individually and as a church, we have utilized Dave's Financial Peace University curriculum (hereafter referred to as FPU). Second, I am the father of two children (ages four and six). Third, I'm not a financial guru. Fourth, and finally, I'm not one to read books on parenting or finances, let alone books about parenting and finances.

My biases disclosed, we now turn to the book. From a stylistic standpoint, while I'm used to reading academic journals and books that include chapters from a variety of authors, I've never been a huge fan of books that have co-authors. Personally, I find that many co-authored texts lack flow and can be incredibly disjointed, especially when attempting to tackle a main topic. In this case, I feel that Dave and Rachel's book is incredibly successful. Despite the minor annoyance of 'Dave: or Rachel:,' to notify the reader of who is responsible for a particular section/thought, the book flows quite naturally and, overall, is quite cohesive with respect to the overarching topic––raising kids who are smart (and/or 'win') with money.

As far as content is concerned, if you've gone through FPU (or, I assume if you have read Dave's books or listened to his radio show) there's quite a bit of overlap. One main difference, with respect to content, are the anecdotes and stories that Rachel brings to the table. As one reviewer on Amazon noted, 'Rachel softens Dave's rough (and at times abrasive) edges.' A second difference is a more detailed discussion of teenage finances, college debt, and weddings. (At least it was far more detailed than what we've encountered in FPU. I can't speak to Dave's books or radio show as I am unfamiliar with them.)

Three exceptionally strong pieces of advice, both in this book and in FPU, come in the form of:

An encouragement to save, delaying gratification and cultivating patience (chapter 4).
Giving...money, time & talents (chapter 5).
Teaching children about contentment––a strange thing in our have it now, have it my way, always better world (chapter 9).

The budgeting forms––geared toward older children and teenagers––are pretty handy as well.

That being said, while there's much that I appreciate about Dave Ramsey and the approach to finances that he teaches both in this book and elsewhere, there are some things that really goad me. First, the use of the NKJV. Why?! Second, here and elsewhere, Dave has constructed a theology of money––a theology, in my opinion, that is rooted in the American Dream more than anything else. Third, the advice that he (and Rachel) provide purport to help the next generation 'win with money.' Winning with money seems to equate to living the American Dream––wealth, financial stability, etc. This, once again, is part of the theology of money that Dave constructs both in this book and elsewhere. But, quite frankly, it's a theology that diminishes and/or dismisses the fact that the biblical text and its authors make no such promises.(And in reality, that's just the tip of a very big iceberg.)

So, here's the million dollar question: Would I recommend the book? Yes. It contains some good principles and advice, especially when it comes to having a conversation with one's kids regarding such things as savings, contentment, generosity, etc. However, it should (like everything else) be read judiciously. As a Christian, I'd be especially careful to weigh what Dave and Rachel have to say against the biblical text––with a keen eye toward the context of the passages that are quoted and what other passages, that may not have been quoted, have to say about the topics of money, success, poverty, etc.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <[...]> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <[...]l> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2014
Format: Hardcover
When you rise to the top of your field, the world proclaims you an expert. Many experts then turn their position and power into an untouchable level of wisdom. Mistakes of your past are swept aside and an unapproachable cult of personality arises. This is not the case for this work. Dave Ramsey and his daughter Rachel Cruze instead bring a message of hope to families hoping to instill wisdom into their children. Accentuating both their familial success and failure with finance, this book is punctuated with grace from start to finish.

No family is perfect - including the Ramseys. Dave and Rachel readily admit that there were points in this family's journey where they fell short. However, the key to raising money smart kids is found in consistency, boundaries, and allowing your children to both win and fail when it comes to both finance and life.

The foundation of the book is filled with philosophical wisdom and tips on the principles of Work, Giving, Saving, Spending, and Debt. Having read many of Ramsey's works I wasn't surprised with the content but loved Rachel Cruze's personal stories bringing context to these pillars of personal finance. An entire chapter is devoted to helping your child attend college without debt, which in the eyes of most of the world is seemingly impossible. The two shining chapters of the book dealt with contentment and familial relationships. "Money is never just about money." Cruze quips and the truth shines through our lives every day. Positioned near the end of the book, these were my favorite of all of the work.

Both Cruze and Ramsey are boldly humble throughout the entire book. I was honestly surprised at this consistent thread throughout the work. Dave Ramsey's bigger than life sometimes brash personality steps aside to share wisdom from a parental viewpoint through his mistakes. Rachel Cruze provides a grown child's point of view of having been raised in a financially savvy home and yet she isn't too proud to share her own missteps - like bouncing three checks as a young teen. The co-authorship flows seamlessly back and forth between the father and daughter, painting a clear complete picture of how families can raise kids who know their way around hard work and a dollar.

So many parenting books have left me feeling hopeless, like I was a lost cause as a mother. This work was empowering - filled with grace and encouragement from start to finish. The calling of passing on a solid financial foundation to my children has been redoubled and I'm excited about helping them learn more through daily "teachable moments." I'm thankful for the wisdom of this book as well as the energy it's provided to fuel my own journey.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I'm not going to lie to you here. I don't have any kids. I do have a dog though. What's that? You don't care that I have a dog?! Okay fine.

Well, I do have three nieces and one nephew and God willing one day, we will add a real homegrown child into the mix.

All of that to say, I really got a lot out of this book. There are real-life applications here that I can apply with my nieces/nephews, and tips to hide away for future parenting decisions. This book will inspire you to try harder and want better for your kids, but at the same time give you practical, step-by-step ideas on how to implement change. Many books are good at the "inspiring part," but not so good at the "how" to actually do it. Luckily for us, Dave and Rachel's book delivers on both fronts.

Obviously with 20 years of experience, Dave is an expert in the field of personal finance, and it's neat to see him open up a bit on how they raised their children through that filter. Rachel's perspective as a child being raised in such an intentional family gives a really unique and meaningful perspective as well.

This book is a gem, and I recommend it for anyone... grandparents, uncles/aunts, dog owners, and of course parents.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 25, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Raising money smart kids certainly doesn’t happen by accident. We know this is true because we can look around and see college graduates crippled by debt, families living payment to payment for everything from couches to handbags, from cars to homes, and even for necessities like food. Debt is ordinary...regular, yet not something that most Americans, given a choice, would hope for their children.

Perhaps that is why the newest book by Dave Ramsey and his daughter, Rachel Cruze, Smart Money Smart Kids, feels a bit like a life raft in choppy waters. It is written in the uniquely engaging narrative of a father and a daughter sharing thoughts in a game of ping pong. Dave shares the perspectives of a parent who admittedly and dramatically failed at finances before overcoming and raising money smart children, while Rachel presents the view of a child who was raised to be competent with money, one who skipped all the “ordinary” snares that so many of her generation get tangled within, one who represents what we hope for our children.

However, Smart Money Smart Kids, while full of anecdotes of their experiences (some that are laugh out loud humorous), is more than an encouraging and entertaining narrative about one father raising one daughter. Rather, it’s true strength is in the very specific parenting strategies that can help CREATE money smart kids. Some topics include;

- Steps to Intentionally develop a positive attitude toward work through chores and commissions at developmentally appropriate times.

- Showing a heart-change about the uses and purposes of money, teaching that saving, giving, and spending can all be virtuous in their time and place.

- How to demonstrate and require self-discipline from children in saving for purchases.

- Budgeting for kids starting when they are young and giving more independence as they grow and demonstrate competence.

- Developing hearts of gratitude and contentment within children.

This book was both mind blowing and encouraging. Oh, the heartache we can save our children if we can be open and honest in teaching them how to have a heart of gratitude, a belief that it is all God’s anyway, and a sense of the sacred responsibility we have as stewards of resources, both financial and otherwise. Money is never just about money.

Really, Smart Money Smart Kids is all about intentionality. While accidentally raising money smart kids may be impossible, INTENTIONALLY we CAN and WILL change our family tree.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This book has been such a blessing to me and my family. As alumni of Financial Peace University, we knew our next step was to teach our children what we had learned. The only problem was we had no idea how to do it. Smart Money Smart Kids came at the perfect time for our family and I believe it can bless yours as well. I learned the difference between allowance and commission and so many other tidbits, but most importantly, I learned how my attitudes and feelings toward money had now affected our children. What I love most about this book is that you get both perspectives-parent and child. You get to hear what Dave and Rachel thought about different situations that arose in their household. I could picture the conversations that Dave and his wife were having with their children. This book is real. Expect to be challenged, and changed.

If you want to change the course of your family's lives forever, I highly recommend buying this book!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
As a long time Dave Ramsey fan I knew that chances were slim that I would glean a lot of new information from this book. I've read all of his books, gone to FPU and listen to podcasts regularly. With that said it was still worth the read. Yes, most of it I had already heard and understood and applied but there were a couple of ideas to implement with my teen that I hadn't considered before. I liked the idea of putting money into his checking account and letting him be responsible for paying for things that I normally would like school lunch or marching band fees. This would give him practice in writing checks or using his debit card and reconciling his account. It would also give responsibility to pay on time and pay accurately. Pretty simple I know but it was a new idea for me. I like that the book is biblically based too but I'm not crazy about the NKJV - I prefer the translation from the KJV (who translates the NKJV anyway?!). I found the interpretation of one of the stories of Jesus as found in Luke 9:59 somewhat a strange one because for me it was about our willingness to sacrifice so I guess you'll have to read the book to get the details of what I'm talking about. Overall I recommend the book but for long time followers don't hold your breath for new light!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Excellent book. I actually listened to it on the Audible app on my iPhone on my drive to work each day. I am happy that Dave and Rachel actually took the time to do the audio version themselves.

Majorty of this book is common sense. That being said, common sense is not common practice. I try to teach my kids about money and being respectful. I believe that I have done a good job so far. I was always told to take out a loan for college. I didnt even know there was an alternative. I am paying back a huge college loan now because of this.

The one word that comes to mind after listening to this book is "discipline". If you apply the ideas in this book and live by them you will be successful. The parent has to be disciplined in order to get this across to the kids. Discipline creates displine.

WARNiNG: If you already know you are a bad parent, this book may offend you.
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