The Barefoot Investor teaches kids how to be money savvy

Barefoot Kids
In his brand new book, Barefoot Kids, Scott Pape does all the hard work of teaching your kids how to be money savvy. His books have sold millions of copies and counting ... and now he's written a guidebook you can hand straight to primary school-aged kids.

“Every parent wants their kid to be financially secure. The problem is they have no idea how to achieve it and resort to nagging and bribing until the motivation to teach them … fizzles out. So I created something that kids can do on their own.. It’s not just a book, it’s an EPIC money ADVENTURE!” said Scott.

Written in a unique visual format Barefoot Kids features 45 inspiring money stories from Australian children, fun projects, rewards and real-life stickers. After all, how many books about money have Slime Queens, TikTok stars and dogs pooping on the page? Kids will roll up their sleeves, get their hands dirty, and learn the value of a buck the old-fashioned way.


Over six action-packed steps, Scott teaches your kids:

  • Why they should help you out around the house for free
  • How to set up their own money buckets
  • How to SAVE for (and get) anything they want (that their parents approve of)
  • How to turbocharge their savings by running their own mini business (with real-life stories from kids who did just that!)
  • Why they should use their GIVE bucket to make a real difference to other people (kindness counts!)
  • How to kick-start a lifetime of compound interest by investing, with as little as $5


This book holds the secret to raising smart, resilient, kind and hard-working kids who will grow up knowing how to manage their money. Give this book to every kid you know. They’ll thank you for it.

We chat with Scott Pape about Barefoot Kids.

Your new book Barefoot Kids takes all of the guesswork out of teaching kids how to be financially savvy. What inspired you to write it?

I’ve spent years trying to get financial education taught as a compulsory subject in schools. However, for all my efforts, I basically failed.

Still, I passionately believe that learning about money is the one exam that every kid will be tested on every day of their lives. It’s a core life skill we all need to know. So, I wrote this book as a way of bouncing over the educational bureaucrats – by putting it into the hands of kids across Australia.

The kids that are in the book are totally inspiring as well; they’re absolute champions. Each of them is having their own EPIC money adventure.

‘Giving back’ features prominently in this book as in your others. Why is it such an important value for you and what do you think it brings to managing your money wisely?

It’s pretty simple: the happiest people you meet are the givers. The biggest fear most parents have (including me!) is that our kids will grow up to be entitled brats.

If you were born in Australia, you’re already part of the 1 per cent. Giving gives everyone (including kids) perspective on how good they’ve got it. It also builds empathy and gratitude.

That’s why I say in the book ‘kindness is a superpower’ – because it absolutely is.

What do you consider to be the best thing parents can do for their children financially?

Give them my book! So, I know that sounds totally obnoxious, but hear me out: Every parent has tried to talk to their kid about money. Every parent has done pocket money. Every parent has seen it fizzle out, and then resorted to nagging, scolding, and bribing.

My book is kind of unique: it talks directly to kids, and invites them to roll up their sleeves and go on an EPIC money adventure where they call the shots.

The parents are always in control – they always have the final say – however, the book does all the hard work and answers all the tricky questions.

The overwhelming feedback I get from parents is they are so damned proud of what their kids have achieved after they make it through all the Barefoot Steps.

The book features inspiring stories of children who are more financially savvy than most parents. What are some of the biggest takeaways you learnt from these children?

The biggest one is just how much FUN these kids are having. Their enthusiasm is totally infectious. Parents tell me they get swept up in it too, because they see how much fun their kids are having. (Contrast this to the nagging most parents do about chores.)

  1. It builds confidence like nothing else.

    The Barefoot Kids tell me they feel older and more confident because they’re actually proving to themselves how smart they are.

  2. It’s a myth that kids don’t like working, or learning, or getting outside and doing stuff.

    These kids come up with their own ideas. It not only builds their creativity, but also their resilience when things don’t go to plan.

  3. Kids will find a way.

    When I was growing up, working out how to do something was often difficult. These days,kids simply go on YouTube to quickly work out how to do most things. They’re very good at finding solutions, and they come up with ideas I’d never think of.

  4. They don’t have the same hang ups as adults.

    Kids are blank slates when it comes to money. The concrete hasn’t set on their behaviours, so they have the ability to build their confidence and wealthy habits from the get-go. That’s probably the thing that excites me more than anything.’

Why do you think parents shouldn’t pay their kids to do the dishes?

Because you don’t want to raise a kid who sees everything as a financial transaction.

Here’s how I explain it in the book:

I want you to imagine for a second that you’re really hungry.

‘What’s for dinner tonight, Mum?’ you ask.

‘You’re in luck, we’re having your favourite … spag bol!’ she replies.

She places the steamy, saucy plate down in front of you. Just as you’re about to dive in, she sticks out her hand and says:

‘That’ll be $22, thanks!’

‘YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS!’ you scream.

Okay, can you imagine if your mum did this? She wouldn’t of course — partly because she gets worried when you’re hangry (hungry + angry) but mostly because she loves you and this is what families do: they pitch in and help each other.

This is the same reason you should not expect to be paid for absolutely everything you do around the house. In fact, if your parents are going to pay you some pocket money to do your jobs, you really should also do some things just to help out.

Like what? Like making your bed each morning. Like clearing your plate after every meal (including spag bol). Like putting your clothes (including your stinky socks) in the laundry basket.

So here they are:

Your Three Parent Pleasers

1. I will make my bed every morning

2. I will clear my dishes after every meal

3. I will put my clothes in the laundry basket when I take them off

Now let me tell you three reasons you should do these three quick, simple Parent Pleasers:

First, I guarantee you that within a week you’ll just do them automatically. It won’t take any effort. Second, if you do these three things, your parents will nag you way less. Third, and most importantly, your parents are going to notice when you start doing the Parent Pleasers, and be really proud of you. Trust me, this will help sweeten the deal when you start asking to be paid for other jobs.

Your book breaks saving into Saving, Spending and Giving. Tell us a bit more about that.

In The Barefoot Investor: The Only Money Guide You’ll Ever Need, I introduced the concept of three money buckets. It’s fair to say it changed the way millions of people managed their money (in fact, some banks even ripped off the idea!).

With Barefoot Kids, each money bucket teaches a money behaviour:

  • There’s something life-changing that comes from saving up for a goal.
  • It’s great to be a savvy spender (after all, no one likes being around a total tightwad).
  • It’s awesome to give and help people (the happiest people in life are those who give).


Explain why you think Australia needs a financial revolution and why it needs to start with our kids?

Whether we like it or not, money colours our entire life.

The fact that we don’t teach kids the basics, means many kids end up repeating the same mistakes their parents made.

We’re the richest nation on earth, according to the latest wealth report from Credit Suisse. However, we also have some of the highest levels of household debts in the world. We are the lucky country, but for how much longer?

Barefoot Kids is published by HarperCollins, RRP $29.99. 

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