Thrifty squirrels teach financial literacy in Edelman's first children's book

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For his first children's book, best-selling author Ric Edelman turned to the lives of squirrels for inspiration in teaching kids about the importance of savings.

"The Squirrel Manifesto," co-written with his wife and advisory firm co-founder Jean Edelman, aims at blending good-sense personal finance habits into a classic fairy-tale format suited to kids.

The fable, as told by a "guide bird" wren, follows an elder squirrel imparting words of wisdom to a group of younger squirrels. The book was illustrated by Dave Zaboski, a former Disney animator. While it is Ric's tenth book, it is Jean's second, though it's the first book they've collaborated on together.

The couple's eponymous firm, Edelman Financial Services, merged with robo advisor Financial Engines in April of last year. According to regulatory filings, the combined entity managed more than $200 billion in assets as of November 2018. The firm has been renamed Edelman Financial Engines.

Edelman — who hosts his own radio show "The Ric Edelman Show" — is known for his ability to make confusing financial concepts understandable for the masses.

It's a skill he's been honing for some time.

Thus far, the company has given the book to all 83,000 client households that it serves, Edelman says.

"Our financial planners routinely talk about the importance of financial literacy and our clients frequently ask for our help in teaching their children about money," he says. "We often provide them [with] my books [for] their teenage and college age kids, and we’ve presented seminars for kids."

Demand for advice is exceeding capacity as about 150,000 prospective clients have reached out to the firm this year alone, Ric Edelman says.
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Although neither Edelman nor his company have specifically marketed "The Squirrel Manifesto" to advisors elsewhere, many tell him that they make use of his other books in their own practices, he says. He hopes they'll do the same with the children's book.

"I invite planners to use my books in their practices to help them improve their own clients’ financial knowledge," he says.

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