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Book recommendation for teens
Old 04-17-2010, 06:33 PM   #1
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Book recommendation for teens

I'd like to recommend a book for a couple of teens (ages 15-19). Both teens are
- not interesting in finances
- grew up in financially responsible family and themselves are very responsible with money (did not even want a credit card when offered); although I would not say they are too frugal.
- don't know much about investing, compound interest, inflation, etc.

Main purpose of the book is to get them interested in financial topics or at least to present some decent advice in such a way that they will not throw the book to the side after a few pages... (perhaps an impossible task... ?)

You suggestions are greatly appreciated!

I heard a couple of good reviews for "The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens: 8 Steps to Having More Money Than Your Parents Ever Dreamed Of" but have not read it myself. Then there some some classics that I heard of too ("Your money or your life" & "Millionaire next door"), but I am not sure if it would be really targeted towards such audience. (I had not read them.)

One request: please do not recommend books devoted to "don't get into debt" / "debt is bad". As I mentioned, they are past that part already. A book that stresses savings and suggest to take on more risk in early years would be nice. But even that is not a requirement. Main goal to get them interested which might inspire them to learn more then...
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Old 04-17-2010, 06:50 PM   #2
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I'm interested in responses as well. My kid opened a Roth IRA last week. I asked her what she wants to invest in and suggested she read "The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing". She said she has no time to do that until school finishes. I said, "OK, but when you are ready, let me know and I can help you with some ideas if you want."
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Old 04-17-2010, 08:17 PM   #3
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You suggestions are greatly appreciated!
I heard a couple of good reviews for "The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens: 8 Steps to Having More Money Than Your Parents Ever Dreamed Of" but have not read it myself.
That was a good book for our kid to decide that she wasn't interested in the actual mechanics of investing. Her Roth IRA's in international & small-cap index funds.

The other two books that were a big hit in the Nords family are:
Marshall Brain's "A Teenager's Guide To The Real World" (Marshall is the creator of the website & books "How Stuff Works"). It's a classic that's aging well because it's snarky enough to keep them interested.

A surprise hit was Robert Cialdini's "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion". I told her that college researchers do a lot of experiments on unwitting college students so it was only right that she learn how to defend herself.

An early chapter has a letter written from a college girl to her parents explaining her dorm fire, her injuries, her new boyfriend, her pregnancy, her dropping out of college, their new life together, and so on. It ends by admitting that she made all of it up to break the news that she's getting bad grades that semester... doesn't seem so bad now, does it?

The book goes on to explain how advertisers and the investment industry attempt to manipulate consumer & investor psychology. Cialdini really does use college students as subjects or investigators in most of his studies, which our kid found fascinating.

She's also much more aware of our parental mind-control techniques, a sort of family jiujitsu that still gets the chores done.
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Old 04-18-2010, 04:50 AM   #4
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Peter Lynch's "Learn to Earn" is a wonderful book to start with for teenagers. He explains "how it all started in America", "Why to save", Why to invest in stocks" etc.
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Old 04-19-2010, 08:57 AM   #5
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Thanks for recommendations.

Nords, it sounds like the couple of books that you mentioned are not so much about finances but are rather more general, true?

Nonetheless, I think at least one of the teens will really enjoy "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion". Thanks!

Any other recommendations on getting teens interested in financial matters?
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Old 04-19-2010, 11:58 AM   #6
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Nords, it sounds like the couple of books that you mentioned are not so much about finances but are rather more general, true?
Cialdini specifically mentions investor psychology in a couple of places-- "loss aversion", "social proof", and "paying a high price for a cheery consensus". Good springboard for further family discussion.

The "Teenager's Guide" is more about "When you got money, you got choices. No money, no choices" which segués into "Kids, stay in school" and "Learn to imitate a grownup's behavior".

"TMF Guide" really helps your kid decide whether they're hardwired to be Warren Buffett, Jack Bogle, or Suze Orman...
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Old 04-19-2010, 12:04 PM   #7
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My daughter read Personal Finance for Dummies when she was in high school and sucked up every word. I think she might have liked it because it isn't particularly teen oriented and some teens (like her) did not want to read anything targeted at teens (those crazy kids).
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Old 04-19-2010, 02:49 PM   #8
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You suggestions are greatly appreciated!
All the suggestions so far (that I've read) are excellent. This got me thinking about what one book, more than any other, do I wish I'd read when I was a teenager. In other words, which one would have been most accessible, and would have distilled everything I wish I'd known from the outset. Lord, do I wish I'd known it. Anway, its

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Your Money Or Your Life
Old 04-19-2010, 11:01 PM   #9
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Your Money Or Your Life

I read Your Money or Your Life when I was 19 and it's what got me believing that financial independence was not only possible, but also not really that difficult to achieve. I think basically any great book you would recommend to an adult can also be appreciated by a teenager. There's nothing more discouraging than the feeling that you're being talked down to.
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Old 04-23-2010, 06:35 PM   #10
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I read Your Money or Your Life when I was 19
Thatīs the book that, maybe more than any other, changed my life. But I read it in my 30s. Iīm trying to think if it would have sunk in when I was 19. I donīt think it would have. The reason is I hadnīt yet experienced the drudgery and humiliation of the typical 9-5 existence, and they definitely have to be experienced to be "appreciated." At 19, when I believed that everything would always go my way, I would have read YMOYL and said, "Nice thoughts, but they donīt apply to me."
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Child Labor
Old 04-24-2010, 12:20 AM   #11
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Child Labor

I suppose it depends on how much you had worked. I had a job working in the family business since I was 12. Always worked at least 30 hours/week plus school. 40-60 hrs in the summer. Parents thought they were raising a real hard-worker but instead they just ingrained into me a love of leisure since it was always so rare.

So I suppose it depends on the teenager. One 19 year old can be ten years ahead of another 19 year old.
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Old 04-24-2010, 12:15 PM   #12
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I suppose it depends on how much you had worked.
Good point. I was raised pretty soft.
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Old 04-24-2010, 02:03 PM   #13
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"The Millionaire Next Door" is an excellent book for gaining actual insight into typical lifestyle decisions people make - which determines their "perceived" path to happiness. It's an easy read. I also like "The Wealthy Barber" for the same reason. Most financial books I've read (and I've read quite a few) are somewhat dry (equivalent to watching grass grow)...
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