by Mark St. Germain; illustrated by April Willy
reviewed by Gary W. Silverman, CFP®
Gary Silverman owns a fee-only financial planning firm in Wichita Falls, Texas. He is the editor of the financial newsletter Personal Money Planning, writes the newspaper columns Your Money and Biz2Biz, and hosts the cable talk show, Money Cent$. Contact him at www.PersonalMoneyPlanning.com.
Remember when your parents read you a bedtime story from the book with the pretty pictures? Three Cups is one of those books. Like many children's stories, this one teaches a preferred set of values, this time about money. In this story children learn lessons about saving, spending, and being charitable with their money. (These lessons would be good for adults to learn as well.)
Three Cups begins around the time the main character starts to receive an allowance. It then follows that child through a journey from the division of the money into the three cups, one to spend, one to save, and one to give away. His parents promise him he will be sure to have some adventures with his money, one being his purchasing of an expensive item (relative to his allowance). Other adventures: earning interest in a bank, witnessing the positive impact of his charity, and finally, feeling good about helping others.
The author leaves it up to the reader to decide how to separate and hold the money from each of the cups. But practically, it will be necessary to find a local bank that has interest-bearing savings accounts that are geared toward children (i.e., without a fee even with a low balance), or the parent will need to be the bank.
The original story came from the allowance system that Tony Townsley, CPA, and his wife used with their children. He then approached Scott Wiley who helped them bring it to print. Mark St. Germain wrote the text and April Willy beautifully illustrated the pages. The book is short (it is, after all, for young children) but its effect will stretch across generations.
Three Cups, LLC/AuthorHouse (2007)