Q: Would you please give me the name or names of a book(s) on handling money suitable for a 14-year-old boy, and his 20-year-old sister who’s in college, also very bright and thoughtful, too, about spending? We, as grandparents, want them not to have to learn over a long time how to save and spend. Cecilia
A: I love making books suggestions, especially about personal finance and economics. I’ll start with a few personal finance books targeted at your granddaughter.
Probably the best-known money book for young adults is “Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties,” by Beth Kobliner. She has updated the book over the years and Kobliner offers sound information and smart advice. Another possibility is Erin Lowry’s “Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping by and Get Your Financial Life Together.”
My next two recommendations are guideposts for establishing a handful of good financial habits.
First is “Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn’t Have to be Complicated,” by University of Chicago social scientist Harold Pollack and journalist Helaine Olen. Pollack remarked in an interview years ago that you only needed a 4 x 6 index card to convey the best investment advice. He was challenged to make good on his observation. He did, and then he turned his insights into a co-authored book.
Princeton University finance Prof. Burton Malkiel (now emeritus) distilled his insights into ten rules. “The Random Walk Guide to Investing” is short and savvy about the money basics.
I would look at Michelle Singletary’s “What To Do With Your Money When Crisis Hits: A Survival Guide.” Singletary is an award-winning personal finance columnist with the Washington Post.
Her format is to offer a typical personal finance question or problem, followed by her answer and additional thoughts. Parts of the book won’t apply to your granddaughter, but she’ll find the basic information valuable. Singletary is a voice of wisdom about life, meaning and personal finances.
Two suggestions for your grandson. Jean Chatzky’s “Not Your Parents’ Money Book: Making, Saving, and Spending Your Own Money” is written for kids 12 to 15 years old. She offers not only smart insights on the basics of money management (not surprising) but also thoughts about the economy and the psychology of money.
And check out Kobliner’s “Make Your Kid a Money Genius (Even If You’re Not).” She helps parents teach financial literacy to their kids ages 3 to 23.
Farrell is senior economics contributor to American Public Media’s “Marketplace” and commentator for Minnesota Public Radio.