By Mary Hunt
Have teens? Are they always hitting you up for money? The next time they come sweetly beseeching you for cash, place this book, The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens: 8 Steps to Having More Money Than Your Parents Ever Dreamed Of, in their hands. These financially savvy authors, creators of the award-winning site Fool, came up with this hip, funny and right-on book. Unlike their other great reads, though, this one is geared to teens.
The Brothers Gardner give teens the wherewithal to make some serious money by the age of 21. There are numerous testimonials by teens who have followed the Fools’ advice and have built up impressive portfolios! These are not rich kids dipping into daddy’s till, either. For the most part, they are high school kids working part time. The difference between them and their peers who work and never seem to have a dime is that these kids are investing in the stock market, not blowing all their hard-earned cash on the latest Jay-Z CD or trendy footwear.
The authors do a great job of getting teens excited about saving money. That alone is worth the price of the book. Starting off by helping them set goals, they explain the glories of compounded interest. Your teen is reminded that by setting goals he can achieve his dreams. No goal is too large or too small; whether it’s to retire at age 40, pay for college, buy a car or a cool stereo, this book will convince your teen that he can realize his dreams.
After firing up your child’s enthusiasm, the authors explain the virtues of working. They offer some fine ideas for your child to brainstorm when it comes to getting a job. They encourage teens to tap into their areas of interest and look for ways to create a job from that (see chapter 2).
Chapter 3 gives a wide-eyed look at the realities of life out on their own. Remember how little you knew about the “real world” before you left your parents’ home? Most teens don’t have a clue how much it costs to pay for rent, groceries, car expenses, insurance, etc. Chapter 4 steers your teen away from huge financial blunders, namely: smoking (a one-pack-a-day habit is roughly $1,095 a year), gambling, lotteries, bad purchase decisions and the D-word (debt).
The rest of the book is a goldmine of information on how to start investing. That’s where the real money is—making money work for you. The Fools can teach your kid to invest with confidence even with just a little startup money. Throughout the book are dozens of testimonials and advice from smart-as-a-whip kids who have successfully tested the authors’ advice. Whether your kid is 11 or 18, it’s not too late.
Here’s an idea: Challenge your teens that if they’ll read this book and provide you with an oral report, you’ll give them their first $50 of seed money to get them started. (OK, it’s a bribe. Let me know if it works.)
Bravo to the Motley Fools for making learning about capitalism way cool. Totally.