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Intentional wealth: Books to spark money conversations

Elaine Froese for Progressive Dairy Published on 26 August 2021

I’ve pulled a few books off my library shelves to encourage you to start having more open money conversations. Here are several great titles:

  • Smart Money Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze. As a result of reading this book, I gave my 4-year-old granddaughter three jam jars for her birthday in June. One was labeled Spend, one was labeled Save, and the third was labeled Give. Ramsey is the well-known founder of Financial Peace University. His graduates were on a recent “Susie Larsen Live” podcast raving about the tools they learned to get out of severe credit card debt. I can only imagine the stories you’ve heard this winter about people really struggling with finances. Ramsey uses the word “commission,” not “allowance” when teaching kids to manage money. Check out his videos, and be prepared to be challenged on your current money scripts.

  • Advice that Sticks by Dr. Moira Somers. This book is a great one for advisers, as it has the tagline “How to give financial advice that people will follow.” Somers is my financial psychologist and is helping our family navigate wealth transfer. Her work is also very helpful as I coach farm families struggling with maintaining family harmony and navigating the division of assets. She talks about being a “new immigrant” to wealth.

  • The Naked Opus: Growing Your Family Wealth for the Long Term by Chris Delaney. A lawyer with a holistic approach to planning, Delaney offers this “novel approach to estate planning.” The naked reference alludes to open, honest communication, and the opus alludes to your greatest work, the work of transferring wealth of all kinds to the next generation, not just money. Delaney also has a podcast called “Inception Family Wealth Hour.” Wealth continuity planning in his eyes is a process of planting, growing and harvesting. (That sounds a lot like farming.)

  • Moolala: Why Smart People Do Dumb Things With Their Money by Bruce Sellery was such a great book, I bought a case to give to clients. Sellery asks, “What does money mean to you?” I attended one of his workshops and have great respect for his plain yet penetrating language. His podcast is “Moolala. Money made simple.” Podcasts are great company on walks or while cleaning, so get started today.

  • Wired for Wealth by Brad Klontz, Dr. Ted Klontz and Rick Kahler helps you change your money mindsets that keep you trapped and unleash your wealth potential. You may not have been spending a lot during isolation and lockdown, but you might also be surprised that a scarcity mindset has kept you trapped. I agree with these authors that conflicts about money are really conflicts about money scripts. Get this book if you want to challenge your spouse and find some breakthrough tools to resolve family money issues, including financial infidelity and financially dependent children. Now is a great time to face your money fears, understand your present reality and make changes for your future.

  • Beyond Gold: True Wealth for Inheritors by Thayer Cheatham Willis. Willis is also the author of Navigating the Dark Side of Wealth, A Life Guide for Inheritors. I’m in the middle of these books and love the style of Willis’ writing. She specializes in helping people of all ages handle the psychological challenges of wealth. It’s become clear to me with these resources that we need to spend more time in agricultural families preparing the next generation to manage large amounts of wealth.

Somers calls this a “financial apprenticeship” of sorts. It is an intentional learning process to help the next generation manage small chunks of wealth in order to gain the skills to work with large sums. Another great book on being intentional is Intentional Wealth: How Families Build Legacies of Stewardship and Financial Health by Courtney Pullen.



  • Where There’s an Inheritance ... : Stories from Inside the World of Two Wills Lawyers by Les Kotzer and Barry M. Fish. Most families I work with are very realistic with the thought, “They cannot take wealth with them when they die.” Their heart’s cry is for the family to get along now and after the estate has been dispersed.

  • Bank on Yourself: Why Every Woman Should Plan Financially to Be Single, Even if She is Not by Ardelle Harrison and Leslie McCormick shows how to build confidence and protect yourself financially. Take the time to ponder what you truly want from your life. I am saddened when meeting peers who are living on meager incomes, facing a future of tight cash flow.

Money is a form of energy. It is also laden with tons of emotion in farm families. In my view, money does not equal love, but I don’t know what money means to you.

Use this column to order audio books, buy books or borrow e-books from your library.

Every day is a great day to learn new skills to manage the resources at our disposal.

Be thankful for what you have. Be content. Be willing to find new ways to generate revenue and decrease spending.

Keep putting deposits in the emotional bank account of your farm family and be rich in relationship. end mark


Elaine Froese, CSP, CAFA, coaches farm families across Canada and the U.S. to find harmony through understanding in their transition process. She was recently awarded the Manitoba 150 Women Trailblazer award, along with her mom, the late Lois Edie. Her authored works can be found at Elaine Froese.