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Prodigal Sons and Material Girls: How Not to Be Your Child's ATM Hardcover – May 2, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Financial advisor Dungan has written an informative guide to dealing with possession-crazed kids. Sure, young people are wooed by advertisers-those 18 and under spend $150 billion in the U.S. annually-but they can still be "savvy consumers who make decisions based on their values." Part one of Dungan's book paints a scary picture of the current state of affairs (e.g., the fastest-growing segment of those filing for bankruptcy are people under 25), while part two explains what to do about it, including having financial discussions with kids, learning to say "no" and teaching them how to save. Dungan's advice is sound, and he supports it with eyebrow-raising facts on everything from how kids value money (he cites a survey that found that 58% of young people aged 12 to 17 "wouldn't bother to pick up off the sidewalk anything less than a dollar") to how they deal with financial woes (more than 63% of American college students "know someone who dropped out or reduced their class load so they could earn more money to resolve financial problems").
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Inside Flap
"I want it, and I want it now!"
"But, Mom, everyone else has one!"
"Dad, can I please have it? It will make me so happy!"
If these phrases sound familiar, dont fret; youre not alone. In todays possession-crazed society, the average child has unrealistic expectations about money, and expensive taste! From the preschooler who begs for another toy to the college student who graduates buried in $10,000 of credit card debt, todays youth lack a sense of financial responsibility. The old-time values of sacrifice, thrift, and satisfaction have been swept aside, replaced by a need for more and pricier possessions.
Luckily, as a parent, youre in a position to influence and shape your childs financial habits, and Prodigal Sons and Material Girls: How Not to Be Your Childs ATM has been written to help you on this long and sometimes arduous journey. Within this book, author Nathan Dunganan expert on family finances and the effects of mass marketing on young peopleshares the numerous lessons hes learned as a long-time financial advisor on this topic. By blending real-world stories with the tools and techniques needed to teach your children the real value of money, Dungan offers a practical road map for instilling within your children a sense of financial responsibility that will last a lifetime.
Prodigal Sons and Material Girls is divided into two comprehensive parts. Part I outlines the disturbing facts about Americas possession-crazed youth and the consumer-oriented society that has distorted their views. Youll be introduced to everything from the "three-headed monster"a high-powered triumvirate of consumer product companies, media conglomerates, and advertising agencies that has a tremendous influence over your childrento the distorted view of the American Dream as shaped by principles known as "The Teen Commandments." In learning what youre up against, you can teach financial responsibility from a position of strength.
In Part II, Dungan offers creative and convincing examples on how to leverage his highly successful "Share-Save-Spend" approach to moneycritical elements for you to help your children break free from the materialism that has become ingrained in our society. Through insightful anecdotes and simple exercises, you will learn how to:
- Talk to your children about money
- Understand the difference between wants and needs
- Increase the probability of your children having a prosperous life
- Raise your childrens marketing IQ
- Maintain healthy financial boundaries
- Set a positive example for your children to follow
The "Share-Save-Spend" method will help your children establish healthy financial habits and will undoubtedly become their foundation for making a lifetime of responsible financial decisions.
Top customer reviews
Let me be the first to say I too am part of the problem; I've indulged my child and mis-taught my son with illusions that spending is happiness. Mr. Dugan describes how I/culture are misleading our children, if not selling them out, for the sake of marketing gain: business profit over our children's happiness. We're allowing business advertising to be the stewards of our children's spending/financial health. Mr. Dungan shows us how to take back that stewardship and how not to abdicate our child-rearing responsibility (about spending) and what to do to raise wise-spending young adults.
I have a few years to try to undo whatever harm I may have wrought. Of course, it's hard to rectify a bad habit once started, so I envy those of you who get to Nathan's book early. For those of us who can't, I advise we buy a copy for each child, tell them upfront what we intend to do & why, and then go about the task of raising spending responsible children, and in doing so, healthier, happier young people.
Thank you Mr. Dungan for writing such a sage, concise prescription for our self-inflicted woes: Share, Save, Spend.
His share/save/spend philosophy is a good one from a 50,000 foot view, but I would have appreciated more concrete actionable plans. Don't get me wrong, there are specific suggestions and exercises (some of which I plan on impleenting), and discussion topics for dialogs with your kids, just not to the level I was expecting. There are also plenty of anecdotes about what other families have done, both good and bad, but I'm always a little uncomfortable with "advice by anecdote" vs. advice by research. There are plenty of citations, and I may be wrong, but it seemed to me that most of the citations regarded the impact of our materialistic society and the current state of affairs with young people getting into financial trouble, rather than studies regarding specific advice and how kids react to the peer pressure and financial environment. Also, a lot was said about peer pressure, and a lot was said about not caving in to it, but not a lot was said about helping kids cope with it in their daily lives.
In the end, I suppose this is a very difficult subject to write about. Every family situation is different, with different levels of income and affluence. Even if I can afford to buy certain things for my kids, where do I draw the line? The world is certainly different than the world I grew up in, but I think it's unrealistic to say "this was how it is when I grew up, so you should live in that world too.