Jan 08, 2019

New Children’s Book from Acclaimed Author and Financial Advisor Ric Edelman Fills the Gap

SUNNYVALE, Calif. – January 8, 2019 – Nearly nine in 10 parents of 4-8-year-old children (89 percent) feel it is extremely important that their kids grow up with good financial habits, according to a new survey by Edelman Financial Engines. Nearly as many parents (91 percent) agree they should be the ones teaching their children these habits.

Yet, virtually half of parents (49 percent) say they don’t know how to discuss money in ways they think their kids would understand. Indeed, one in four parents (25 percent) never or almost never talk to their kids about household finances. The problem is particularly acute during periods of economic and stock market turmoil.

“Millions of Americans are not living healthy financial lives,” said Ric Edelman, a co-founder of Edelman Financial Engines. “Almost 60 percent of all working age Americans have no retirement savings[1]. And dealing with unexpected expenses can be a hardship for many families without savings. In fact, four in ten adults could not cover a $400 emergency expense[2]. We need to help future generations become better prepared. It starts by teaching kids at a young age how to have a healthy relationship with money.”

“Unfortunately, many parents think personal finance refers to the stock market,” Jean Edelman said. “In fact, the most important aspects of money have nothing to do with investing.”

Ric Edelman and his wife Jean wrote the illustrated children’s book, “The Squirrel Manifesto” to help parents engage their children in conversations about money and help them form good financial habits. It debuted as the #1 bestseller on Amazon’s list of children’s money books when it was published November 20th by Simon & Schuster.

“It’s easy to teach good money habits at very young ages,” Ric said.

The book offers four money principles for children:

  • Spend a little. It’s important for children to experience the joy that spending money can bring. Allowing children to purchase a toy, a piece of candy or comic book helps them develop a positive relationship with money.
  • Save a little. It’s equally important that kids learn to save for bigger-ticket items—like a bicycle or video game—to help them understand the benefits of delayed gratification and help them avoid impulse buying. The survey found that when parents talk with their kids about money, 86 percent usually talk about it in the context of saving.
  • Give a little. Money brings opportunity, and responsibility as well. Children should be taught to help others who are less fortunate. Studies show that children who are raised to be philanthropic grow up to be happier adults.
  • Tax a little. Children need to be taught at a young age that they don’t get to keep everything they earn. Just as the government collects a third of an adult’s paycheck, consider withholding one-third of a child’s birthday money, allowance, or babysitting earnings. Save the money and present it to them when they are ready to pay for college or a car, showing them the value of long-term compound growth.

Survey Methodology

Edelman Financial Engines surveyed 1,000 U.S. parents with children ages 4-8. The survey was fielded in November 2018 using the Qualtrics Insight Platform with a panel sourced from the Lucid Marketplace.

About Edelman Financial Engines

Since 1986, Edelman Financial Engines has been committed to always acting in the best interest of our clients.We were founded on the belief that all American investors – not just the wealthy – deserve access to personalized, comprehensive financial planning and investment advice. Today, we are America’s top independent financial planning and investment advisor, recognized by both InvestmentNews[3] and Barron’s[4]with 180+ planner offices across the country and entrusted by more than 1.1 million clients to manage more than $200 billion in assets. Our unique approach to serving clients combines our advanced methodology and proprietary technology with the attention of a dedicated personal financial planner. Every client’s situation and goals are unique, and the powerful fusion of high-tech and high-touch allows Edelman Financial Engines to deliver the personal plan and financial confidence that everyone deserves.

©2019 Edelman Financial Engines, LLC. All advisory services provided by Financial Engines Advisors L.L.C.


Amy Conley

[1] National Institute on Retirement Security, Retirement in America, September 2018, https://www.nirsonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2018…; data source: US Census Survey of Income and Program Participation 2014 Panel, Wave 1.

[2] Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2017, May 2018.

[3] Ranking and status for 2017. For independence methodology and ranking, see InvestmentNews Center (http://data.investmentnews.com/ria/).

[4] The Top 40 Independent Advisory Firm Ranking issued by Barron’s is qualitative and quantitative, including assets managed, the size and experience of teams, and the regulatory records of the advisers and firms. Firms elect to participate, but do not pay to be included in the ranking. Investor returns/experience are not considered. 2018 ranking refers to Edelman Financial Services (EFS), which combined its advisory business in its entirety with Financial Engines Advisors L.L.C. (FEA) in November 2018. For the same survey, FEA received a precombination ranking of twelfth.