Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Money Lessons

It is never too early to learn about money.

If you expect your children to receive gift cards or other types of monetary gifts this holiday season, you may want to use the occasion as a teaching tool.

The American Library Association has created a list of children’s books on the topic of money.

“This list was developed in May 2012 by the Quicklists Consulting Committee of the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, in support of the Money as You Grow website, developed by the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability which provides essential and age-appropriate financial lessons that kids need to know.”

The Money as You Grow book list offers age-appropriate reading for years 3-13.  Many of the titles such as the How Economics Works series and Money Madness by David Adler are available at the Newton Free Library.


Once Upon a Dollar Bill

Parents who want to teach their kids to value and handle money often give them an allowance or pay them for doing household chores.

Alternatively,, working with Reading is Fundamental, has compiled a list of storybooks that can be a fun way to teach young children about money.

One recommended book is Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday, by Judith Viorst. The story begins with Alexander, who intends to save his three dollars, but instead wastes it on frivolous things, to his sorrow.

For each book, FamilyEducation includes a study guide with questions to ask your child both before and after reading the story. Each guide also includes activities –such as word problems to practice the math in the stories—and ways to motivate kids to save.

Here are some of the storybooks suggested:

Chicken Sundays by Patricia Polacco

Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chin

A Day’s Work by Eve Bunting

If You Made a Million by David M. Schwartz

For more ideas, see the list of suggested titles at the end of each study guide.

Recent Widows Should Take Care with Financial Decisions

As if losing a spouse weren’t traumatic enough, widows face financial hazards during the vulnerable months after their husband’s death.  Several recent resources go beyond the standard advice of  “take your time.”

A September 2, 2011 New York Times article by Ron Lieber, For the Recently Widowed, Some Big Financial Pitfalls to Avoid, cautions that widows may be approached by insurance sales people selling annuities, which provide a guaranteed lifetime income, but at a price.  Widows may also be asked by a grown child for an early inheritance. Lieber advices to best turn down both suggestions, at least initially.  If a grown child invites Mom to move near him or her,  she should test the idea with an extended visit before committing.

According to a survey conducted by the financial advisory firm, Timberchase Financial,  (see their online guide What Do I Do Now? A Guide for Widows) what concerns many widows is financial education and financial solutions for their heirs.  The hypothetical widow requests: “Teach me what I need to know to gain command of what I have to support my new life,” and, “Offer ideas and direction for how I can train, provide for, educate, and spend time with my children and grandchildren.”

For more information on the topic, check out these books:

Moving Forward on Your Own: A Financial Guidebook for Widows” by Kathleen M. Rehl PhD, CFP, Anne Lesser, Patrick J. Gaughan, and Stanley L. Moore, 2010.

On Your Own: A Widow’s Passage to Emotional & Financial Well-Being,” by Armstrong, Fleming, & Moore, Inc. 200o.

1001 Ways to Cut Your Expenses

Looking for new ideas for saving money by not spending it?  Flip through Jonathan Pond’s handbook, 1001 Ways to Cut Your Expenses:  Money-Saving Tips from an Expert on How to Find Hidden Money,  for a wealth of creative suggestions.

Organized by topic ranging from shopping, utilities, cars, college students, pets, your business, vacations, taxes, commuting, and more, each idea is numbered and briefly described, about five to a page.

The ideas are wide-ranging: “Find a good cobbler” (#241). “Buy the floor model” (#257). “Use capital losses to offset capital gains” (#597).  “Buy generic drugs” (#327). “Don’t buy extended service contracts.” (#357) “Don’t buy too much life insurance” (#536).

Some may strike you as impossible or irrelevant, but there are sure to be others that will help you cut expenses — and  meet your financial goals.

This book is available through the Minuteman Library Network.  Click here to reserve a copy.