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A very good book, but just a few things I had concerns on.
on August 11, 2012
Raising Financially Confident Kids by Mary Hunt is a book for the parent who wants to start teaching their child how to handle money. It's the in's and out's of the world of consumerism, and giving you tips on how to avoid debt, and increase ones awareness of finance in general.
Ok... I grew up with this. My Dad was a financial planner and I have been told (by many finance and money planning books) that this is very rare. For a child to learn from their parents how to be able to save. For me it was second nature, because my parents fully immersed me. I had to work for everything I wanted when I was young, and then as I grew older more and more financial responsibility was handed to me. I never accrued credit card debt, or jumped off the deep end with a major spending spree. So this is my back ground and why I have such an opinion on this topic. I do not have a degree by any means in finance. I do have a Bible that talks about it often, and I was raised to pray through anything financial.
Mary Hunt does a great job at giving a very easy to do practice for the family with kids. I especially liked the Uncle Harry chapter and the chapters listing age appropriate finance. The book was all around a really good book for parents looking at wanting to teach their child about finance and not knowing how. I did have some concerns about it, please understand that I'm trying to not bash the author and her book. She put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into it, but there were a few things that made me stop and think.
1. I know Ms. Hunt's background and that is why I wish she had put more scripture in the book. She is an awesome woman of God so this fact was a little confusing to me. Money is the biggest thing talked about in the Bible and I can only remember her using scripture twice in the book (pg. 80 and pg.115). If I am wrong please, please correct me. I'm fine with that :)
2. Another point not really discussed was, being content with what God has given you. I don't think a child will understand finances until he/she learns contentment. If there is no contentment the need to buy will happen. This need to buy was discussed in the beginning, but not contentment. As Paul says he is content in any situation, and so should we. There was a time in our marriage where the only way we had food on our table was because of God. We had to be content that God would provide, and He never let us down.
3. The idea of being poor was portrayed as something to be not discussed with your child. I want to address that. I don't think being poor is a bad thing (I don't think Ms. Hunt thinks that either). God takes care of all of us, and when we look at it from God's perspective I feel it is something you can discuss with an older child. The moments when Todd and I struggled the most were the moments we fully leaned on God's understanding. Other scripture is brought to mind; of the widow in 2 Kings, she had one jar of oil left and God provided Elisha. Or the widow who gave her last two pennies to God. These are stories of poor people that in their greatest need they trusted God and were blessed.
4. Ok, now on to every financial author's biggest fear... Credit cards. This is all I'm going to say about it. Before I got my first one my dad said this to me "Breeze, that credit card is like a gun. It can be helpful or it can kill you". I never forgot that statement. Do I promote a person who is addicted to spending to go out and get a credit card NO! But I don't think they're evil either. The Bible talks about the borrower being a slave, but also in the Old Testament there are checks and balances for people to take out loans, and even says that parents shouldn't charge interest to their children. Credit cards are like that in some ways, with checks and balances it can be helpful. Don't forget what my dad said, "it can help you, but it can also kill you". Again don't forget that statement dear readers, you'll be more apt to not spend if that's in the back of your head. Death is not pretty.
5. Lastly, with all of this heady stuff Mary Hunt truly does a great job, but for me the one big thing that was left out in all of it is God. I was really hoping that God and His plan for us would be talked about. I'm not sure why, maybe because she was hoping to reach a bigger audience, but even then God is too important to ignore, and that is something I feel really needed to be addressed. So I leave you with this verse to remind you how important your finances are, and how important it is to include God in them.
Philippians 4:6 ESV
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
*This book was given to me via Revell a division of Baker Publishing Group for my honest opinion and I honestly gave it. It is also available August 2012.