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The Money Challenge for Teens Author Q&A

Andy Whisenant | Jun 30th

What prompted you to write The Money Challenge for Teens?

The more I talk about how to get out of debt, save for retirement and get to a place where you can live and give generously, unhindered by poor money decisions, the more I hear the phrase, “I wish I would have known this stuff earlier.”

This is why I wrote The Money Challenge for Teens. Teenagers have an incredible opportunity to get their finances right from the very beginning, to do what most of us wish we would have done.

Why did you choose to write about this topic for teens, specifically?

Teenagers have the ability to learn money concepts, avoid debt, start saving for retirement (seriously) and begin using their money to reach the world for Jesus right now. With time on their side, teenagers can develop wise, biblically-minded financial habits that will produce eternal dividends.

What are some of the greatest challenges facing teens when it comes to financial knowledge, money management, preparing for their financial futures and so forth?

The greatest challenge teens face is believing the lies the world provides about money. The world tells teens that if they have more money and possessions that they will be happier. The world pushes the instant gratification narrative as opposed to delayed gratification. These toxic lies lead teens down a road of disappointment and financial instability.

What are some of the greatest opportunities for teens today when it comes to financial knowledge, money management, preparing for their financial futures, etc.?

Teenagers have an incredible opportunity to get their finances right from the very beginning, to do what most of us wish we would have done. Teenagers have the opportunity to take advantage of compounding in a way that most would envy. Most importantly, teenagers have the opportunity to spend their entire earning days focused on using their resources to advance God’s Kingdom.

Why did you start writing about financial issues? How have some of these principles affected your life personally?

I am passionate about helping people discover God’s design for their money. This passion has driven me to write books, develop resources and verbally communicate how to get financially healthy for the sake of advancing God’s Kingdom. Personally, the principles have guided my money management decisions, allowing me, not just to be financially healthy, but to live more generously than I would be able to do otherwise.

What is the biggest misunderstanding you’ve seen among Christian teens when it comes to understanding God’s design for our money?

The biggest misunderstanding I’ve seen among teenagers is the same misunderstanding I’ve seen among adults: that giving is about the leftovers. The idea of giving away our first and best is a foreign concept among teenagers.

Why is it so important that Christian teens manage their money well?

Developing financial habits that align with God’s design for money will carry over to their adult years. Adults often find themselves having to break bad money habits when their financial stability begins to crumble. Teenagers have the opportunity to develop biblically-minded financial habits before poor habits ever begin to take hold.

Throughout the book, we get to hear the story of two fictional teen characters—Brendon and Ambrielle. Why did you decide to include the fiction sections?

The fictional section was included for two main purposes: to help teenagers connect the financial principles found in the book to their own lives and to create a different type of financial book that keeps the reader engaged.

What is the purpose of the challenges at the end of each chapter?

The purpose of the challenges is to put the principles into practice. Some challenges encourage wise financial decision-making while others encourage a lifestyle characterized by living and giving generously.

Readers might be surprised that you talk to them a lot about retirement, even though they're just teenagers. Why was that an important focus? OR What other content will surprise readers?

The reason I included retirement is simple:  a little bit of money +  a lot of time =  a lot of money. Teenagers have the ability to take advantage of compounding in a significant way. It may seem odd to start talking about retirement during the teenage years, but there really is no better time to start.

How do you hope that individuals use the book? How can parents, youth leaders, and those who work with teens use this book to lead teens toward greater biblical stewardship?

My hope is that teens will take principles found in this book and pursue financial health for the sake of something much bigger than themselves—the advancement of God’s Kingdom. Parents, youth leaders and those who work with teens can leverage this book to introduce the biblical concept of financial management to their teenagers.

Why should teens pick up The Money Challenge for Teens?

Teens need this book because they are already at the point where significant financial habits are being formed. For some, college expenses, credit cards and student loans are about to be thrown at them. If they do not navigate these decisions with wisdom, they could find themselves with a load of debt and regret.

What do you hope readers do after reading this book?

I hope they will see that God has designed them and their money for something more significant than nice shoes and an expensive car. I hope that they will see the world’s lies for what they are and pursue the truth about money. My hope is that they allow Scripture to guide their finances, and they pursue financial health for the sake of getting the gospel to the ends of the earth.