I rarely agree to review books, but when I was asked to review Kimberly Palmer's latest book, I said yes because I knew it would be good. And it is.
Smart Mom, Rich Mom: How to Build Wealth While Raising a Family (affiliate link) is a must-read book for every mom, regardless of her age or stage of motherhood. Kimberly covers all of the bases, from preparing for motherhood to living well in retirement.
Even if you’re familiar with personal finance and wealth-building concepts, you’ll learn some new things in Smart Mom. Because I am a non-practicing lawyer who has worked part-time at home since my oldest child started elementary school, I was particularly interested in the section about working moms. Kimberly discusses extremely important but rarely-mentioned issues like continuing to accrue Social Security credits, and how continuing to earn money, even at a reduced level, helps to protect your future earning power. She also offers actionable ideas on job flexibility and career paths.
Although I have two boys, I was intrigued by the discussions about gender bias when it comes to money. Moms are often paid less simply because of the perception that they are less productive. It’s generally easier for moms who have professional careers to have flexible schedules, and their salaries are more comparable to men’s than those of moms in lower-paying jobs. And, studies show that boys are more confident and talk more about managing money with their parents than girls. I don’t have daughters, but Kimberly’s book has made me aware that I am modeling a woman’s relationship to money for my boys.
I especially love that the book is well-researched, but easy to read. Kimberly quotes not just from studies but the numerous women she talked to while working on Smart Mom, including new moms, grandmothers, single moms, working moms, stay-at-home moms, and more. Their experiences can inform ours as we make our own financial decisions.
Smart Mom covers the basic areas that all moms need to know:
Be smart about spending and saving. There’s not much new here for Chief Family Officer readers, since I hope you’re already a convert to mindful spending. Kimberly encourages the use of coupons, asking for discounts, checking for billing errors, and of course, making conscious and considered decisions on how to spend your money. One thing I did learn was to let my children see me in action, such as when I call customer service to correct an error. This is something they will have to do themselves someday, and watching me do it is a great way for them to learn.
Think like a boss. As mentioned already, Kimberly has a fantastic discussion about working moms. I appreciate that it’s so thorough. She talks about the traditional professional mom, which made me think of my lawyer friends who still work full-time. But she also talks about moms who scaled back, temporarily or forever, entrepreneurial moms who started a business, and other moms who’ve crafted their own path.
Embrace investing. Throughout the book, Kimberly encourages moms to be at least as involved in managing their family’s finances as their husbands are. And she spends extra time pointing out the importance of investing, whether it’s for retirement or your child’s college tuition. I was struck by the point that women tend to be conservative investors, and was encouraged to consider taking a few more risks when it comes to our portfolio.
Play defense. Kimberly’s research shows that most moms will, at some point in their lives, be on their own. After all, many couples get divorced, and women tend to outlive men. So it’s important for moms to be prepared with life insurance, wills, access to accounts, and more. Kimberly also encourages us to be aware of our parents’ financial situation, and has suggestions on how to talk to our parents.
Teach the kids about money. We need to model good financial behavior, and also discuss financial issues and decisions when the kids are young so that these discussions are easier to have when they’re older.
In sum, Smart Mom, Rich Mom is a book that every mother should read! In fact, while it may not be as cute as a baby carrier or romper, this book will now be part of every baby shower gift I give to a new mom-to-be.
One lucky CFO reader will win a copy of Kimberly Palmer’s new book, Smart Mom, Rich Mom: How to Build Wealth While Raising a Family! To enter, simply follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below:
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