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What Do Kids Need to Know About Finance? Review by Jennifer Smeltser

Leslie Anne Perry and Timothy T. Perry, Ph.D.
Perry Productions

Our civilization began with self-sufficient people. A person was able to collect, grow, hunt or make whatever they needed to survive. As individual needs grew, alternative ways to acquire personal items were implemented. What Do Kids Need to Know About Finance? takes readers back to the beginning before the use of paper money and coins. Authors Dr. Leslie Anne Perry and Dr. Timothy T. Perry, tell the history of our financial system, its transformation and the benefits of understanding how it works for people.

The Perrys have backgrounds in education and finance. Leslie is a former elementary school teacher and a professor emerita in the Clemmer College of Education at East Tennessee State. Timothy is currently an assistant professor of finance in the College of Business and Global Affairs at the University of Tennessee Martin. Illustrations by Nathan Dunnavant, a 2015 honors graduate from the University of Tennessee Martin, are included throughout the 34-page, paperback book and bring the study to life.

Spending money is much easier than saving money. And most kids would probably agree it is a whole lot more fun.” ~ The Perrys

That statement holds true for children as well as adults. It is because of that reasoning this book is one to read. Having an understanding of how money works and the proper way to manage it will equip a child, one day an adult, to make better financial decisions.

The book opens with the discussion of bartering, which is defined in the book as the “trading of goods or services between people when no money is exchanged.” The practice was acceptable for a while until people were not able to agree on equivalent values for their different bartered items. A solution was to create a universal means of payment that would be accepted throughout the country.

Along with explaining the familiar phrase, “saving for a rainy day”, topics like “want versus need” and “banks versus credit unions” are covered. Financial terms like compound interest, mortgage, investment and foreclosure are also discussed. There is a glossary in the book of additional financial terms. Although there are more than 30, they could be considered basic terms people should know. If you earn or have money, your comprehension of these terms is necessary for gaining a true understanding of how finances function. Once they have read the book, children will have a general understanding of what they need to know about finance.

“To be financially healthy, you need to work toward developing good habits.” ~ The Perrys

Parents may use the book as a read-aloud, so they can offer their opinion on the subject as well as engage in conversation with their child. The book is written at a level for younger children to understand. This is good, because the topic of good money habits should be taught as early as a child can comprehend the concept. Most children are not introduced to finance until high school. Middle school students may also benefit from reading the book as a precursor to a formal study in finance.

The book may easily be read in one sitting. I shared the book with my third through seventh grade children as a read-aloud. All three were able to easily understand what was presented. Most of the financial terms were unfamiliar to my third grader, but he benefited from the conversations I had with my sixth and seventh graders as we read the book.

What Do Kids Need to Know About Finance? provides a great introduction to finance for your children. Educate them early on this very important topic.

-Product review by Jennifer Smeltser, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September, 2016