Book Review: “The Opposite of Spoiled”

Many people who seek a sound financial life also have kids. Naturally, we want our kids to lead sound financial lives too. And we most definitely don’t want them to be spoiled.

Ron Lieber, personal finance expert for the New York Times, has written a timeless book for us parents. It’s called “The Opposite of Spoiled” and teaches how to raise money-smart, kind kids. You get the idea reading it that he’s been very successful as a writer and also as a parent!

At the heart of the book lies the three jar system. That’s not totally novel but it’s clear and it works. The idea is for kids to have three jars for their money: one for save, one for spend, one for give. This way, our kids see the need to set something aside for later. They are taught to enjoy life as it goes along, not depriving ourselves on the journey. And–crucially for this blog’s purposes–encourages them to give something away as they grow up. We love that!

In many ways, the subtitle of the book says it all: Lieber is giving you a blueprint for “Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money.” The book combines a ton of expertise gleaned from decades of studying and reporting on money with practical ideas for parents to bring to bear on their most important job: raising their kids the right way.

There are lots of parenting books out there. There are even a few that cover how to raise your kids with respect to their money habits. We recommend this one because of the sound balance that Lieber advocates, blending sustainability and money smarts with generosity–giving back as you go along.

The book came out some time ago, but Lieber keeps things fresh in his NYT column and also in a Facebook group devoted to The Opposite of Spoiled. See you there!

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