Build finances with ‘ATM’

Published: Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 9:30 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 9:30 p.m.

Your child has caught some bug that’s going around.


“Do I Look Like an ATM?” by Sabrina Lamb, c. 2013, Lawrence Hill Books, $14.95, 215 pages.

He has a terminal case of The Gimmes, and he’s not getting any better. It’s “Gimme that” and “Buy me this” all day long. It’s GimmeGimmeGimme, usually accompanied by whining, pleading and a maddening inability to understand the word “no.”

The Gimmes are enough to make any parent crazy. They make you wish there was some sort of doctor who had some sort of shot to prevent it.

But there isn’t — so why not read “Do I Look Like an ATM?” by Sabrina Lamb instead?

But first, the stats: Members of the black community have an estimated $1.1 trillion dollars to spend – and yet, many report having no savings, most don’t know their credit score, and 40 percent have little or nothing for retirement.

The first step to fixing that situation is by looking inward. Chances are that you never learned financial literacy and your attitude toward wealth may be limiting your ability to understand money issues. Just giving yourself an education on finances presents a good example for your kids.

Speak your financial truth and tell your child. Understand the difference between “need” and “want” and teach your child that looking financially successful is not the same as being financially successful.

Forget about keeping up with your neighbors. Identify your parental money style. Set your family up as a business, show your kids how to save — and then show them how to give, too.

Wow. I was so impressed at what I found inside “Do I Look Like an ATM?” that I was uncharacteristically speechless.

When it comes to financial literacy for children, so many authors take mincing baby steps and waste everybody’s time, but not founder Sabrina Lamb. She takes a different approach that starts with parents, and she’s not gentle with her words. No, Lamb’s a little sarcastic and very in-your-face, but her boot-camp-like attitude left no doubt in my mind that what she says, works.

I like that no-nonsense talk and I think you will, too – especially if you’re serious about money matters. If talking about dollars to your kids just makes sense, then “Do I Look Like An ATM?” would be a shot in the arm to your family’s finances.

Terri Schlichenmeyer never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books.

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