Patti Handy, Money Coach for Teens, has written a book to raise
awareness and to increase the financial literacy of young adults.
Mrs. Handy is a parent as well as a money coach, and she is dedicated
to educating teens on money matters. The author received her bachelor's
degree in Accounting, followed by a combined 25 years in the banking
and mortgage industry. Currently, she holds a California Real Estate
Brokers License and is a CTA Certified Life Coach.
This 135-page paperback book is divided into 9 chapters, or "wealth
building tools," that walk readers through just about everything
they need to know about handling money matters. I liked the fact
that the book also includes a topic Bible verse related to the
subject of most chapters.
The first chapter, "Money Mindset," sets the stage with the idea
that our thoughts are powerful tools. Handy says, "As a result
of your thoughts and beliefs, you have certain feelings (emotions),
which in turn move you to take certain actions, which then give
you your results. So, if you don't like the results you see, whether
it be money, career, relationship or health oriented, change your
thoughts." She also gives suggestions for further reading, authors
such as Napoleon Hill and Joseph Murphy. One suggestion that I
particularly appreciated was to be consciously grateful. Making
a daily habit of "taking inventory" of all the blessings in your
life and acknowledging them, never taking those things for granted.
Chapter two explains how to spend you money wisely, with suggestions
such as tracking your spending, avoiding impulse buying, how to
write a check, keep a checkbook register, and using a debit card
(and keeping track of those receipts!). Followed by a chapter on
debit and credit, wealth building tool #3, young adults are introduced
to the concepts of that little plastic card! The Scripture verse
for this chapter is one of my favorites: "The rich rule over the
poor and the borrower is servant to the lender." (Proverbs 22:7)
Thorough explanations are given on the differences between credit
and debit, how to build a credit history, and what really is considered
an emergency use for credit cards, as well as how to choose a bank.
She describes her idea of "good debt" and "bad debt."
On the topic of saving, Handy explains what it means to "pay yourself
first." She goes into some depth with concepts like compounding
interest but also includes simple budget plans, such as how to
allocate savings based on age. Handy advises that if a child is
12-16 years of age they should allocate 30% to "plain old fun" spending,
30% to short term savings including things they want to purchase
in the near future, 30% to long term savings for things like your
first car or even college and 10% to giving back. She goes on to
explain how the allocations shift for children 16 and up.
In following chapters details are given on investing basics, credit
scores, and--the biggie--the chapter about "your first home." This
chapter is really geared toward adults who are ready to make that
first step, but it would be advantageous for younger adults who
want to be (and should be) prepared for one of the biggest investments
of their life. Concepts such as down payments, closing costs, realtor
commissions, adjustable rate mortgages, and so on are discussed
with brevity. Last, but certainly not least, is "Give it away:
it's the greatest gift of all." The final wealth-building tool
deals with a subject that should be high on everyone's priority
How to Ditch Your Allowance is a great educational tool
for children; however, readers in my family found the title misleading.
The title gave us the idea that we would be learning how to replace
or start an income for young adults. The idea that a child could give
up their allowance and still have money to spend and save is implied
by the title. "Where the money comes from" is not really addressed
in the book, and there must be a source of income before a child
can really implement any wealth-building tools. Some parents do
not give allowance, leaving children with the question "Where will
the money come from?" While the book doesn't give us the answers,
the author's website does have some tips and job suggestions for
young people. At www.teenscashcoach,com children
(and adults) can sign up for a free weekly video series called "The
Money Minute for Teens." So, enjoy the book, but realize that the
contents are not necessarily what the title implies.
Reading this book opened up communication about money in our home--topics
such as how we feel about storing up treasures on earth, how much
money is enough, where our happiness should come from, where and
how to give, not only of your possessions but of yourself. I sincerely
wish I had read a book like this one when I got my first job at
age 15. The advice would have been very useful. Truthfully, children
old enough to read chapter books should have a copy of this book
on their "most read" bookshelf, and it should be highlighted and
worn out! Not only is the book educational, but it is written in
everyday language that is easy to understand due to the fact that
the author wrote the book based on conversations with her son.
The book was given the "Teen Approved for Radical Parenting" seal!
The book might be a bit pricey ($17.95) for some budgets; however,
you can download an e-book version for about half the price.