HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Money Matters for Teens
Author: Larry Burkett with Marnie Wooding
Illustrator: Chris Kielesinski
Publisher: Moody Publishers, New edition published in 2001
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 11-18
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Burkett, Larry, with Wooding, Marnie. Money Matters for Teens (published in 2000 by Moody Press, a division of Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, IL). Larry Burkett (1939-2003) was a well-known authority on business and personal finance who wrote more than seventy books, including non-fiction bestsellers like Family Financial Workbook, Debt-Free Living, and The World’s Easiest Guide to Finances. He also had a worldwide radio program, founded Christian Financial Concepts, and served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Crown Financial Ministries. Several homeschoolers have recommended his books, so when I saw Money Matters for Teens with two workbooks also by Burkett with Todd Temple, one for ages 11-14 and the other for ages 15-18, at a homeschool conference a few years ago, I picked them up for use with our boys. Many states are now requiring a class in personal finance to graduate from public school. But aside from that, it’s just a good idea for teens to be introduced to these matters. Our older son Mark took a personal finance course in the same homeschool coop with which he did biology and chemistry, so I never used the books with him, but Jeremy used them this year.
The main book is divided into 48 lessons which are grouped into seven chapters covering stewardship, money, attitude, planning, banking, spending, and career. Unfortunately, the workbooks don’t really follow the text. I happened to come across a review of the books by Cathy Duffy, who wrote, “Each topic is broken down into bite-size topics that are presented along with cartoon illustrations, all of which makes it appealing and user-friendly….Workbook activities address some but not all topics in the primary book. For example, 3 of 12 activities deal with checking accounts and banking. Consequently, the workbook will be used with only the appropriate chapters. Workbooks differ slightly in that the older level workbook addresses buying a car and financing college education and a few other issues more applicable to older than younger students.” I did not see a teacher’s guide to help in choosing which activities in the workbooks should go with what lessons, so we just had to use our own best judgment. There is also a book by Burkett for younger students, Money Matters for Kids.
Teens are on the brink of adulthood and always want more money, but they often do not know how to handle the money they do have, so parents need to help them be ready for financial independence. Burkett shares Bible-based wisdom on getting and keeping a job, how banks and creditors works, managing a savings/checking account, paying for college, knowing when to borrow, stewardship, and other issues of specific concern for teens which will educate them on the basics to help them prepare for solid, biblical money management. Some people may not like the “preachy” sound of the book and may disagree with some of the concepts presented, such as the suggestion that one way of making more money is giving more to the church. However, Jeremy said that he found a lot of useful information. Cathy Duffy concluded, “Young people can work through the book and workbook on their own, although it might be more motivating to go through them with a friend or a group.”