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Review: The Opposite Of Spoiled

How would you answer the question: "Mommy, are we rich?"

How would you answer the question: "Mommy, are we rich?"

While flipping channels (does anyone do that anymore, or do we just fast forward the commercials?!?) we stumble upon Keeping up with the Kardashians and mercilessly judge the extent of privilege with a shrug and an eye roll...meh. But in a world of excess, how would we stack up as parents if we were judged by our children's abilities and tendencies towards money as they enter adulthood. Are we unknowingly raising our kids to be spoiled? What's the opposite of a spoiled kid, anyway? 

Ron Leiber did us all a huge favor and answers this question in his new book aptly titled, The Opposite Of Spoiled.


Kids ask a lot of questions...

"Mommy how did that baby get in your tummy?" is a common one outside the realm of family finance and it may even seem that money questions would be much easier to answer, but how would handle the following question....with a 4 year old?

"Why did you choose your job when you could have chosen something else that would have let us have a nicer home and go on better vacations?"

Or what about: 

"Are we rich?" "Who do we know who is rich?" "Are we poor?" "Why is that person asking us for money at the red light? "Shouldn't we give our second home to someone who doesn't have one?" "Do you make less money than Daddy?" "Are people without clothes lazy?"

This can often be a heavy burden but all to familiar situation for parents of curious children. And let's be honest, the words child and curiosity go hand in hand.

Every conversation about money is also about values.

A Universal Problem, Rich or Poor

The central theme of the book is to show us that imparting financial wisdom is interlinked with that of teaching moral character. The way parents approach the subject and consistency with which they do so, irregardless of their socioeconomic background, carries a ton of weight.

Lieber talks about the fact that conversations (or lack thereof) about money with children can run the gamut. At one extreme you have children who are totally aware of money and the day to day decisions as their family is living paycheck to paycheck. At the other end of the spectrum, you have children of affluence whose reality of financial constraints is merely (artificially) imposed by their parents to prevent "spoiled" behavior. Both situations prove to be extremely complex and impactful on a developing child.

Kids are growing up in a NEW worlD

Lieber goes on to discuss that the world our children are growing up in is drastically different than what their parents knew in the 70s and 80s. For one thing, employers no longer provide what they used to. Two main examples revolve around the fact that the burden of health insurance and retirement savings have shifted from the employer to the employee. Pension, what???

The job market has gotten increasingly challenging and then when they do finally land a job, hundreds of dollars are being pulled from their paycheck from day one. Not to mention the cost of living going up year after year, it makes it nearly impossible to begin saving early on.

And we've yet to discuss the surmounting costs of secondary education which are soaring into the six figures for a reputable institution (and god forbid they don't choose a reputable institution, their job prospects plummet). Most parents with or without the wherewithal are leaving the decision of how to finance their education to a 17 year-old who "has never purchased anything more expensive than a bicycle". Lieber calls it "lunacy" and we agree.

And if they can’t afford to save anything during their 20s, the effect of those lost savings can mean many more years on the job when they’re in their 60s and 70s

THE LIGHT at the end of the tunnel

It's not a lost cause. There's plenty we can do as parents to help provide our children with the know-how to operate in this complex new world. A lot of it has to do with not treating the topic of finance in your house as though we were addressing a taboo subject like sex or alcohol. Do not shelter children from the money conversation, instead equip them with sound information. Also, do not gender bias your conversations, girls need to be included just as much as boys. Lastly, remember that in this day and age kids have access to everything. A simple Google search of Zillow can give a curious child access to the value of your home. Help provide them the context of how to interpret that information. 

The book gives an example of a young man named Jacob who speak at a conference of educators and students outside of Seattle. Even though just a high school Sophomore, Jacob calls it completely irresponsible, an act of "institutional adultism" that on the one hand we tell our kids that they are the future of this country but on the other hand we don't teach them about money, which is there future. He goes on to say, let's "make money a focus, not a fetish".


Priya @ MC

Stash Wealth, 142 N 6th St, Brooklyn, NY, 11249, United States

Priya Malani left Wall Street to reestablish a new norm for what it meant to work with a Financial Advisor. As a Registered Investment Advisor based in New York, Stash Wealth educates and empowers Millennials and Gen Y'ers to take control of their financial future. Stash Wealth hosts monthly talks on personal finance topics called Financial Cliffnotes: LIVE. Also, it puts out a biweekly Financial Cliffnotes Newsletter. On the planning side, Moderna Capital has found the best way to execute successful financial plans is to deliver them in bite size pieces rather than the industry norm (one hefty document) that only leaves the client further confused and overwhelmed. By delivering modular planning on topics relevant to the needs of this generation, Stash Wealth helps individuals and couples secure their financial future and end the guilt that comes with not knowing where they stand.