Book Review: Raising Financially Fit Kids by Joline Godfrey
There is a strong call for well written and informative texts that parents can use to teach their children about financial literacy. However, there are few books that are as in depth and practical as Raising Financially Fit Kids by Joline Godfrey.
Twenty years ago, Godfrey started a project called Independent Means, Inc. This organization offers financial education for parents and kids. Having spent many years doing this work, Godfrey has amassed a large amount of information that can help parents conquer the complexities of raising children to be financially literate and generous individuals. Additionally, Godfrey is very aware that it’s not just about money. She makes a point in her introduction to say that her book goes far deeper, and supports parents who want to raise wonderful children who are “independent, balanced, and able to exercise good judgment, practice responsible habits, and live independent lives as contributing members of both family and community.”
There are some very unique components to Godfrey’s book, particularly in how she chooses to lay out stages of financial literacy. In her book, she covers “Apprenticeship” – or ages 5-18, where she says individuals “Develop financial vocabulary, establish early financial habits and values, practice saving, spending, earning and philanthropy.” Within the Apprenticeship stage, Godfrey says there are four stages that children go through. Clearly well-versed in psychological development, she lays out social and emotional development during a specific age range and what are the appropriate financial skills to master in those age groups.
- Stage One (5-8): Counts coins and bills; begins to develop a sense of ethics
- Stages Two (9-12): Can make change; can balance checkbook and keep up with savings account
- Stage Three (13-15): Can shop comparatively; can read bank statement
- Stage Four (16-18): Actively saves, spends, invests; shows developing capacity for economic self-sufficiency
It is important to note that Godfrey is also practical and realistic; she recognizes that financial literacy can sometimes come later, and that some skills are developed at different ages, depending on the child. The important thing, she says, is to remember that “this is a developmental, not a chronological, approach to raising financially fit kids” so she does encourage parents to backtrack if the skills still need to be developed by the child.
Additionally, this book is unique in its approach because it has practical, clear, and creative ways to work with children of all different skillsets. Some of the ways Godfrey explores approaching financial literacy with children are:
1.) Common scenarios in each developmental stage that can provide teachable moments for parents.
2.) Some very basic money skills that individuals in each age group should have or develop and how to help them develop these skills.
3.) Books and websites that inspire the entrepreneurial spirit.
4.) Inspiring quotations about independence, financial literacy, and happiness.
5.) Detailed activities that a parent can do with each age group in order to teach children how to make smart financial decisions.
If you have been searching for an easy-to-read, hands-on, and practical guide to aid you in teaching your children about generosity, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy, I would highly recommend this book as a resource to you and your child.