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Buffett suggests teaching kids about money before they're teenagers; these 5 books can help


It's never too early to start teaching your children about money. In fact, one big mistake parents make is starting too late, according to legendary investor Warren Buffett.

"Sometimes parents wait until their kids are in their teens before they start talking about managing money — when they could be starting when their kids are in preschool," the Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO said in 2013.

If you need more of an incentive, research shows that kids who learn about money are better equipped to handle their finances as adults.

While Buffett didn't recommend any particular reading list, these five bestselling books can make important money lessons fun and easy to understand starting when your child is in preschool and going all the way up through high school.

1. 'Rock, Brock, and the Savings Shock,' by Sheila Bair and illustrated by Barry Gott

Age range: 4-8 years

Although "Rock, Brock, and the Savings Shock" was written nearly 15 years ago, its lessons stand the test of time. 

The author, Sheila Bair, is one of the world's leading financial experts. After serving as chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Company, or the FDIC, during the 2008 financial crisis, she recognized the need for financial education for all ages.

Bair, who has written three children's books, focuses specifically on the power of compounding interest in "Rock, Brock, and the Savings Shock." The book is about twin brothers Rock and Brock, who accept a challenge from their grandfather. He says he'll give them each a dollar in the next 10 weeks and will double the total each brother is able to save.

"Kids learn that they need to start saving early, that the power of that money will grow just by sitting there, in addition to what they add," Bair said in a 2014 CNBC interview. "I think [that] is a very important early lesson."

2. 'Finance 101 for Kids: Money Lessons Children Cannot Afford to Miss,' by Walter Andal

Age range: 8-12 years

"Finance 101 for Kids," by Walter Andal, is one of the bestselling children's money books on Amazon. The author's background may have something to do with the book's success. Andal, who has degrees in international finance and management economics as well as career experience in insurance, banking, and real estate, covers a lot of ground in this 114-page paperback. 

Andal says he was inspired to write "Finance 101 for Kids" after being "frustrated by the lack of resources that apply the concept of finance to real life situations for his own children to learn from."

His book explains the fundamentals of personal finance from investing to credit card debt, and even the importance of giving to charity. Andal also provides answers to questions parents may have a hard time explaining, like, What is the stock market? 

3. 'Neale S. Godfrey's Ultimate Kids' Money Book,' by Neale S. Godfrey

Age rage: 8-12 years 

Just like Sheila Bair, Neale S. Godfrey, the author of "Neale S. Godfrey's Ultimate Kids Money Book," has extensive experience in the world of finance. 

Godfrey was one of the first female executives at Chase Bank. In 1989 she left banking to start Children's Financial Network, Inc., with a mission to educate children and their parents about money. Her first book, "Money Doesn't Grow on Trees: A Parent's Guide to Raising Financially Responsible Children," reached #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list.

Inspired by her success, Godfrey decided to write her "Ultimate Kids Money Book" for a younger audience. 

Godfrey touches on a broad range of topics including budgeting, supply and demand, and even taxes. To make the information more approachable and easier to retain, she uses trivia and puzzles.

4. 'How to Turn $100 into $1,000,000: Earn! Save! Invest!' by James McKenna, Jeannine Glista, and Matt Fontaine

Age range: 10-14 years

From the creators of Biz Kid$ and Bill Nye the Science Guy, "How to Turn $100 into $1,000,000" is a comprehensive guide to everything pertaining to money from earning, saving, spending, and investing.

Bill Nye the Science Guy says "How to Turn $100 into $1,000,000" is both fun and important: "As you follow their plan, your interests will grow – and so will your money. Meanwhile, excuse me, I've got to re-read a few sections."

Unlike the other books on the list, this read takes a more actionable approach to teaching lessons in personal finance. It includes a personal budget tracker, a business plan template, and even a guide for planning to become a millionaire.  

5. 'Go! Stock! Go!: A Stock Market Guide for Enterprising Children and Their Curious Parents,' by Bennett Zimmerman and illustrated by Kathy Kamel

Age range: All ages

This book is geared specifically toward younger people who are interested in learning about the stock market. It follows the Johnson family as they learn the fundamentals of stocks and bonds, the mechanics of investing, and the ups and downs of risk and reward.

"Go! Stock! Go!" author Bennett Zimmerman is a former strategy consultant with Bain & Company who holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. 

In one review, Susan Mashiyama, a science and medical writer and a Yale University graduate, calls Zimmerman's book "quite readable and nicely illustrated!"

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