Money Books to Read with Tweens

It is quick, easy and usually fun to read books about money, saving, spending, giving and managing to our little ones under the age of 7. But once kids enjoy reading on their own, it can be difficult to wade through those longer chapter books without all those colorful pictures in a read-aloud environment.

The books must be engaging, teach a relevant lesson, be easy enough for ages 7 – 9 to read, yet not so simple that the middle schoolers feel insulted.

Tooth Paste Millionaire by Jean Merrill

This is a classic book written in 1972 touches on many themes, diversity, tolerance, cooperation, math and money.

In it young Rufus is sent to the store by his Mom to buy some supplies, among which is a tube of toothpaste. Rufus takes his new friend Kate who has just moved to Cleveland with her family and doesn’t know anyone. Rufus considers the toothpaste too expensive, remembering that his Grandma had showed him how to brush using just baking soda. He goes home without a tube and invents his own paste, complete with flavoring. He and a growing group of helpers proceed to make gallons of the stuff and to sell it in recycled baby food jars.

With the help of Kate, they switch to tubes, find a factory and a machine operator and proceed to build a business.

In my 2015 Grandma Rie’s Money Camp, the other Grandma and I read this book to our two grandchildren each night of camp and finished it off that week. I also made up my own board game to go along with the book to help the kids internalize the messages of thriftiness, the rewards of having your own business, and the rest of the lessons that run through the book without lecture.

Kid Zillionaire by Raymond Bean

This is the first in a series of Kid Zillionaire books.

The book provides an out sized example of the benefits of starting your own business, which should plant an idea or two in your tween’s head, but I tempered that vision by having a discussion about the risks that can come with having your own business and in talking about the success (or failure) rate of many businesses.

Benji’s class is given an assignment to create some kind of an app. At home, Benji and his Dad love to work on inventions of all kinds and to test them out. They are in the middle of a crucial test when his piano teacher arrives to give Benji a lesson. Benji tries to find an excuse to get out of the lesson but his Dad holds him to it.

This makes Benji think that there must be a better way to come up with excuses, so he writes an app to do just that. When he demonstrates it at school, as required by the teacher for this lesson, classmates begin trying it out out on their smart phones under their desks, but the teacher is apprehensive that it isn’t morally right. Benji puts the app up for sale on an app store and instantly makes millions and zillions of money. He goes on in the book to do heroic and charitable things.

In my 2016 Grandma Rie’s Money Camp, we read this book each evening until complete. Since the grandkids are both old enough to read, they took turns with me reading the book together.

The Young Investor by Katherine R. Bateman

This non-fiction book was written by a grandma to help her own grandchildren know what to do with a gift she planned to give when they were teens.

It covers many relevant concepts, starting with an explanation of money – coins, bills, currencies, etc.

Chapters cover saving, investing, stock market concepts, reading stock prices, researching stocks, a bit on the economy and additional resources for the kids to use.

At the end of each chapter, she includes a fictional account of a young investor, to show how he applied the concept in that chapter. For example, in the chapter on saving Billy Ray started putting Christmas and birthday gift money into a bank account. One day he realized that the money in the account was growing more quickly than just the money he was adding. The compound interest word problems he had done in school now came alive and he saw the power of compounding on his own money.

Each chapter builds on Billy Ray’s money experience.

This is a great resource book. So far, I have been using it in Money Camp to get ideas to teach to the kids (now 12 and 9). I plan to gift a copy of the book to each of them when they reach the age of about 14 or when they are high school sophomores.

Do you know of some interesting books for tweens to help them learn about money and finances?

Successful Investing

Even the most successful investors’ journeys took longer than a few days. You need to learn all of the ins and outs of the world of finances as well as your personality as a new investor. This also takes a bit of trial and error and a whole lot of patience. Here is a quick look at investing and what to look out for.

What Should You Invest In?

There are too many people who will just buy the first type of investment product that gets shown to them. It is much better to look at all of your options and determine which one will meet your goal. You also need to determine the pros and cons of each one. This will allow you to narrow the options down to just a few that you will be confident about. 

Some investments are fantastic for long-term money that you can use for retirement – such as bonds or even bitcoins like you would get with Genesis Mining. Other types are more speculative, meaning that you will have to take more of a chance on them – like stocks. It isn’t a good idea to put all of your money on these investments. 

Diversity is Important

That being said, the level of knowledge, resources, and your personality should all play a role in determining the path that you should choose. Typically, when you are trying to diversify your retirement portfolio, you will adopt one of these strategies:

  • Be sure not to put all of your eggs in the same basket, or
  • Put all of the eggs in a single basket, but make sure that you watch that basket like a hawk.

You can even combine these strategies if you make tactical bets on a portfolio that has a passive core. Typically though, most investors will begin with portfolios that have a low risk diversity and learn as they go.

Know Your Goal

When you are trying to build a good investment plan, it is important to know what your goal is. This is something that is too risky to just approach willy nilly. The thing about investing is that it is more of a journey as opposed to something that will only occur once. You need to be prepared just as you would be if you were going to take a long trip. You need to know where you are going, how long it will be before you reach your destination and the resources that you will need. You can start by determining your destination and then, once you have that goal in mind, you will be able to makes plans for your journey of investment accordingly. For example, would you like to be able to retire 20 years from now when you are 55? How much money do you think you will need to be able to do this? These are the kinds of questions that you need to ask yourself. 

Do What Works

It is always a good idea to either take a course or read books about modern ideas in the financial world. The people who are responsible for theories like the diversification and optimization of portfolios and market efficiency were awarded the Nobel prize for a reason. You might not realize this, but investing is a combination of art – because of the qualitative factors – and science – due to the financial fundamentals. When it comes to the scientific aspect of things, this is a good place to start and should never be ignored. Science isn’t everyone’s strong suit though, and if this describes you, don’t worry. There have been quite a few books that have been written that explain finance ideas that are high level in a way that is simple to understand. 

Once you have a good idea of what works when it comes to the market, you will be able to make decisions about simple rules that will work for your investments. Warren Buffett happens to be one of the most successful investors alive and one of his rules is that if he can’t understand it, he will not invest in it. This rule has served him quite well and you can come up with the rules that will work best for you.