I’ve read a lot of financial books, especially those focused on helping women increase their financial literacy. But Smart Mom, Rich Mom, a new book by Kimberly Palmer, the former senior money editor at US News & World Report, really struck a chord with me. It focused on a woman’s changing role as she starts and continues a family, and with Palmer’s relatable voice and actionable tasks, I can say that I highly recommend this as great reading for any Moneywise Mom.
Each chapter is devoted to a time of life, and the book is quite thorough in covering all financial issues that arise–from negotiating work hours and pay before and after a baby arrives to adult children returning home. Palmer suggests, “The path to becoming a smart mom starts long before the birth of your first child.” She includes interviews and stories from moms from all walks of life and in all stages of career and motherhood, and there is much to be learned from their perspectives. The early parts of the book had me reminiscing about our early years, first married and overspending, and these sections would have been so helpful to me as a newlywed or even beforehand.
Right in the first chapter, one thing that hit me hard and set my mindset for the rest of the book, was this concept:
Penny-pinching…keeps us focused on small, short-term savings instead of working on the far more significant financial strategies that can really build our family’s wealth over time.
Bam. That sums up my financial history, at least until recently. I was definitely stuck in penny-pincher mode through the early years of children, when we should have tackled those bigger strategies in the 10 years we were married before we had our children. Digging out afterward was hard. We did it, but we’re still playing catch up.
She shares strategies that are essential to any family’s financial security, such as how to handle short-term dips in income that occur during prime child-raising years and how to tackle insurance and estate planning. I can see any smart mom using this book as a guide, since each chapter ends with Action Steps that break the larger tasks into smaller parts. By reading it all the way through, it could have felt overwhelming, but since I am personally midway through the life stages (in the middle literally–balancing raising children with assisting an aging parent), it did not.
The chapter on investing shared statistics that were not surprising, that women tend to feel uncomfortable investing money compared to men. But what did surprise me was the research that shows that even young girls report talking less with their parents about money and investing than boys. This led to a great discussion between my husband and I about how we’ve been talking about money with our three children, and we’ve already had several conversations with the kids because of it. We’re also now modeling better by having them involved in budget discussions and long-term planning.
No matter where you are in your motherhood journey, even if you’re pre-pre-kids, this book can help set a tone for wealth and security in your life. I think it would make a great gift for a bride-to-be who plans to have a family so she can utilize the career advice within. Find Smart Mom, Rich Mom at Amazon and other booksellers. That’s my referral link; thanks for supporting MoneywiseMoms at no additional cost to you!
Win a copy of Smart Mom, Rich Mom
Kimberly Palmer is graciously sending a copy of her new book to one lucky MoneywiseMoms reader! If you’re reading this in an email or RSS feed, you’ll need to click over to the blog to enter on the Rafflecopter widget.
This giveaway is open to the US and ends at 12:00 midnight ET on June 23rd. I’ll email the winner, who will have 24 hours to respond and accept their prize. The winner will need to provide their mailing address.