Art Talk by Ron Lieber and Carl Richards will examine finance and values |

Art Talk by Ron Lieber and Carl Richards will examine finance and values

Some may see a deep divide between finance and art.

This month’s free Art Talk at the Kimball Art Center will debunk that argument when Ron Lieber and Carl Richards take the stand.

The event, titled Money and Values, will feature the award-winning New York Times financial columnists explaining and discussing the pros and cons of tapping into their values when examining family budgets. The presentation will be given simply and humorously by utilizing Richards’ doodles and Lieber’s expertise.

The two have wanted to have this conversation out loud for years for years, Lieber said during a phone interview from a stop in Banff, Canada.

"What initially got me thinking in depth about money and values is that I was having trouble answering my daughter’s question about why we have what we have and why we didn’t have much of the things that she thought she wanted," he said. "I struggled with that question, because they weren’t just money questions, but questions about choices that my wife and I made and some of those choices, in fact, reflected our values and things that we stood for."

That challenge spurred Lieber to write the book "The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money."

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"It became clear to me that there is a direct connection between talking about money and teaching kids values," he said. "That’s how we’ll start the conversation."

While this may not sound very artistic for an Art Talk, Lieber said Richards’ napkin drawings all have an artistic element.

"I never knew, until I first encountered Carl’s work and started editing him at the New York Times, that there is a way to translate some of the most important and pretty complicated financial topics, rules and questions into art," Lieber explained. "Carl’s works, at least at first glance, is very simple and that’s the beauty of what he does."

When people see Richards’ doodles, everything comes into light, he said.

"It’s like a door in your brain that used to be stuck close open up," Lieber said. "He is unique in his ability to do this. That’s why I look forward each week for his email that contains his latest creation. I don’t claim to be a visual artist, but I enjoy whatever hand I’m able to have in bringing his work to life."

Lieber, who has penned many books including "Upstart Start-Us" and "The Obamas," became a personal finance writer at the urging from a group of editors at the Wall Street Journal.

"They had seen something in me that I had not seen in myself," he said. "They looked back at my body of journalistic work and looked at the kinds of shenanigans I would get up to in my personal life, whether it was exploiting all the loopholes in the Frequent Flyer Miles system or finding the best way to hack the toughest restaurant reservations in New York City."

The editors told Lieber that his beat in life was merely beating the system.

"Once they defined it for me, I realized that I could make a life doing that," Lieber said, laughing. "If I took my area of coverage that involved anything and everything that hit you in the wallet, I found it was a much broader way to define personal finance than anyone had before. So, I was off and running."

The Kimball Art Center, 638 Park Ave., will present a free Art Talk with Ron Lieber and Carl Richards on Thursday, June 25, at 6 p.m. For more information, visit