by Kenny Brown, Heritage Trust
October Book of the Month: The Opposite of Spoiled by Ron Lieber
My wife, Erin, and I recently traveled to Denver, Colorado and visited a popular candy store downtown. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love candy and my inability to discipline myself, either when purchasing or consuming it. I paid for my lack of self-control later that evening when I consumed almost a pound of gummy bears. Why do we, even as adults, continue to make poor decisions when we know the consequences of our actions? My initial thought when we entered the candy store was “I am on vacation, I can spoil myself as I worked hard this week and I deserve it!” Unfortunately, for many of us it is this same attitude we have about our money. We make poor financial decisions, because we work so hard and the thought of having to wait to make that purchase makes it almost impossible. It wasn’t until I had read The Opposite of Spoiled by Ron Lieber did I realize my behavior as an adult was a reflection of the habits I developed as a child. The good news is that inside Ron’s book are great ideas and suggestions from other parents that can help to establish and reinforce the behaviors that can create long-term financial success for generations to come.
According to the author, “The Opposite of Spoiled is a generational manifesto first and foremost—a promise to our kids that we will make them better at managing money than we are and give them the tools they need to avoid the financial traps that still ensnare so many adults.” So, I have to fully disclose: I don’t have kids, which is sort of ironic that I would be reading such a book. But here is the thing: I really want kids. My role as a relationship manager at Heritage Trust and as a future parent led me to this book, and I knew I had to read it!
- The first part of the book does a great job of breaking down and analyzing why it is so difficult to even talk about money especially with our kids. The biggest take-away from reading this book was the reality that if I remained silent on the issue of money when I have my own kids, that someone else “wouldn’t” be. Now I feel much more prepared to answer questions about money and handle decisions regarding giving an allowance or teaching them to be disciplined and comfortable with delayed gratification.
- Overall, I highly recommend the book even if your children are already grown and you want to learn more about it yourself. I think it gives great insight in a practical sense of our own biases and views on money – especially the final chapter when the author ask the readers, “How much is enough?” I love the author’s final plea as not to overemphasize the topic of money, “So over the 20 years or so that our children live with us, we should try to have just enough conversations about money and the values behind our financial decisions. Only then will they have a complete picture of where we stand, what we stand for, and how we make financial decisions.”
As one who may be a parent in the not too distant future, I really appreciate the author’s decision to do this project and incorporate so many great ideas from others who have had to learn the hard way. Get the book here or your favorite book retailer.