In the spirit of Wendy Mogel’s The Blessing of a Skinned Knee and Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman’s Nurture Shock, New York Times “Your Money” columnist Ron Lieber delivers a taboo-shattering manifesto that explains how talking openly to children about money can help parents raise modest, patient, grounded young adults who are financially wise beyond their years.
For Ron Lieber, a personal finance columnist and father, good parenting means talking about money with our kids. Children are hyper-aware of money, and they have scores of questions about its nuances. But when parents shy away from the topic, they lose a tremendous opportunity—not just to model the basic financial behaviors that are increasingly important for young adults but also to imprint lessons about what the family truly values.
Written in a warm, accessible voice, grounded in real-world experience and stories from families with a range of incomes, The Opposite of Spoiled is both a practical guidebook and a values-based philosophy. The foundation of the book is a detailed blueprint for the best ways to handle the basics: the tooth fairy, allowance, chores, charity, saving, birthdays, holidays, cell phones, checking accounts, clothing, cars, part-time jobs, and college tuition. It identifies a set of traits and virtues that embody the opposite of spoiled, and shares how to embrace the topic of money to help parents raise kids who are more generous and less materialistic.
But The Opposite of Spoiled is also a promise to our kids that we will make them better with money than we are. It is for all of the parents who know that honest conversations about money with their curious children can help them become more patient and prudent, but who don’t know how and when to start.
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About the Author
Ron Lieber is the "Your Money" columnist for The New York Times. Before joining The Times in 2008, he wrote The Wall Street Journal's "Green Thumb" personal finance column, was part of the start-up team at the paper's "Personal Journal" section, and worked at Fortune and Fast Company magazines. He is the author or coauthor of three books, including The New York Times bestseller Taking Time Off. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, fellow New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor, and their daughter.
Table of Contents
Author's Note xi
1 Why We Need to Talk About Money 1
The responsibilities we never faced at their age and the power of real conversations
2 How to Start the Money Conversations 15
Curiosity, lies, and the single best reply to every hard question about money (and sex and drugs)
3 The Allowance Debates 45
Three jars, unpaid chores, and a whole lot of patience
4 The Smartest Ways for Kids to Spend 71
The hours-of-fun-per-dollar test, Grandma Dana's shopping ritual, and the importance of record-store pit stops
5 Are We Raising Materialistic Kids? 89
The tooth fairy, the travel-team dilemma, and the making of a more modest school
6 How to Talk About Giving 117
Narrating your way through gifts of $1, $1,000, and $1 million
7 Why Kids Should Work 147
Lessons from farm work, mandatory tuition payments, and a unified theory of tin can redemption
8 The Luckiest 169
Instilling gratitude, grace, and perspective in our sons and daughters
9 How Much Is Enough? 199
All about trade-offs
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Heard the buzz about the book, have followed the authors articles for years. Wanted to know what I did right or wrong. Always something to learn. Using the information on my grand kids,where I can. Sending a copy to my sons. So simple, so smart. Why didn't I think of it.. Lieber great read.