A study conducted by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) highlights the importance of financial education.
Importance of teaching kids to be smart about money
Parents are responsible for teaching their kids the value of money. By explaining the cost of items to your kid, for example, you will also help him appreciate the value of money and begin to demand less; become more appreciative of gifts or presents they unexpectedly receive and lead a happier, more stress-free life in the future.
- Talking about money shouldn’t be taboo. For a long time, families were often reluctant to talk about wealth, money, and other financial matters. However, today’s parents are encouraged to be comfortable conversing with their kids about money and be open to discussing family finances.
- Kids can learn the value of money from a young age. Encourage your kids to participate in aiming for some financial goals as a family and going for it. It could be saving up for a new car. Discuss with them the need to sacrifice the non-essentials to be able to save up for family goals.
- Guide them in the future. It’s not enough that you motivate your kids to plan for future activities. Teaching them to be financially smart will prepare and help them avoid financial debt and bankruptcy in the future.
Introducing financial literacy from a young age comes with a variety of benefits. An article published by the California Business Journal enumerates these supporting statements:
How to Teach Per Age
Lead by example. Show your children how to value something they earn by themselves and do it without feeling scared of the practice.
Start teaching the basics to your kids at a young age. Show your kids how not to waste food or money and emphasize your effort to earn money to purchase that food or stuff.
They’ll end up learning and picking up your habits such as budgeting groceries, paying bills on time, and stopping to overspend on impulse buys.
Preschoolers and Kindergartners
Your preschoolers and kindergartners may not be aware of the value of money yet. However, they should understand the need to pay for merchandise.
At the age of seven, kids are expected to have developed two basic financial behaviors: Counting and exchange.
- Counting – Start with simply counting objects. Then, include counting coins and dollars. Show your kids the different kinds of coins and bills, allowing them to recognize the differences, group them, and count that specific set.
- Exchange – Allow your kids to learn that they need to give up something to make a purchase. You may try giving your kids dollars to spend in the store. They must hand over their money to buy the items and experience the exchange of goods.
First to Fifth Grade
Your grade-schooler already understands how to earn and save money. Meanwhile, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) suggests the following to help kids learn financial handling.
- Earning money – Your grade-schooler has to learn that one can earn money by working.A Junior Achievement USA survey found that kids who earn their allowance are in the majority. It showed that 82% of the children earned an allowance for getting good grades, doing homework and chores, and simply being kind to others at school and at home.
- Saving – Explain to your kids the benefits of saving money in the bank instead of keeping it at home. Explain to your children why it’s important to save, let’s say for short-term needs, long-term goals, or emergency. Provide scenarios to explain how you save and why.
- Opportunity cost – It is when you lose potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen. Help your kids understand impulse buying versus long-term goals. They should know the difference between needs and wants and how to prioritize them. Train them to recognize and limit impulse buys.
Sixth to Eighth Grade
Sixth to eighth-graders should already be knowledgeable about income, budgeting, and contentment.
- Income. Enlighten your kids on the need to find a career that will support them for a lifetime. Explain to them about those deductions from your salary, such as taxes, Social Security, insurance premiums, and others.
- Budgeting. Involve your children in planning and budgeting. It’s okay to ask them for input on financial decisions like meal planning for the grocery budget.
- Contentment and giving. Help your kids learn contentment. Encourage them to be happy or satisfied and appreciate what they have. Make them understand the benefits of volunteering or giving back and donating to charity.
Benchmark for financial literacy for this age group You can check your kids’ financial literacy progress by following the national standards for educators to set financial literary goals created by the Jump$tart Coalition. The benchmarks by eighth grade include:
- Setting priorities to reflect goals and values. “Aim for your goal and go for it!” It’s a good mantra to teach your kids. Guide and motivate your kids to set their goals and achieve them.
- Components of a personal spending plan (income, planned savings, expenses). Always remind your kids to think before they spend. Challenge them to pay or settle bills on time.
- Saving strategies. It’s okay to allot funds for surprise expenses and automate your savings. Multiple savings accounts are ideal for planning multiple savings goals — short-term, medium-range, or long-term.
- Illustrating how inflation and interest can affect spending power over time. Find the simplest way to explain inflation to your kids: Inflation increases the prices of goods and services over time. Hence, this reduces your money’s purchasing power. A few years later, your $10 can’t buy the same amount of stuff it can buy today.
- Justifying the value of the emergency fund Your buffer fund is reliable for unexpected spending.
At this stage, many of the lessons your kids should know are firsthand experiences with personal accounts, credit cards, and budgeting for college.
- Personal accounts – Teenagers should know how to balance a checking account. However, they’re also encouraged to open a savings account to include deposits to both accounts in their budget and witness the impact of compound interest.
- Credit cards – Teenagers need to be educated on how to use credit cards wisely. It is a must for them to learn how to pay off the balance and avoid purchasing things they can’t afford to pay each month.
- Paying for college – You and your teenagers can discuss and compare the costs of a college education together. You may consider looking for available scholarships and loans.
Resources to Help Teach Kids About Money
Several materials can make financial literacy fun for kids. Here are among them:
Aside from being engaging, game-based learning is also an effective way to teach kids how to manage finances. Most of these games are accessible online and can be accessed and played via mobiles, tablets, laptops, or personal computers.
- Monopoly and Monopoly Jr. -The Monopoly is a real-estate board game for two to eight players. The goal of each player is to remain financially solvent while forcing opponents into bankruptcy by buying and developing pieces of property. The Monopoly Junior game, on the other hand, is designed for younger players, and it is fast, simple, and features kid-friendly properties.
- Pay Day – Goal: Players must accumulate bills and expenses to pay and collect their monthly wage on “paydaySeveral materials can” at the end of the month. The player who has the most money at the end of the last month emerges as the winner.
- The Game of Life – Goal: Players travel through their lives looking for success. Each player will move from college to working life and then to family life, and then retirement. Each will earn money, make investments, get married and have children, and retire throughout the process.
- The Allowance Game – The game teaches players how to make decisions about spending allowance money wisely. Goal: Players race around the colorful board doing chores and collecting an allowance, spending their earnings on what they want.
- The Stock Market Game – Each team begins with $100,000. Goal: Invest in stocks (listed in a codebook) over a ten-week time frame in the hope of making the team’s portfolio of stocks appreciate.
- Sub Shop Board Game – Sub Shop is described as the game of competitive sandwich construction. Goal: Players have to build 11 unique sandwiches for nine zany customers using eight ingredients. They lay their ingredient cards onto the real tablecloth game board, complete an order, ring the kitchen service bell, shout “Order up!” and collect their tip.
- Money Bags – This fun game develops critical thinking and counting among players. Goal: Earn money by following what the board says. Players can earn money by doing chores or selling cookies.
- Buy It Right – This game is for 2 to 4 players and teaches kids the importance of money recognition, adding, and making correct changes. Goal: Players can set prices, buy and sell items and learn the value of money as they move throughout the game board.
- Act Your Wage – Here, kids and adults can learn the importance of budgeting and saving and be debt-free. Goal: The player who can do a Debt-Free Scream wins the game.
Some books can help you guide your kids in making sound financial decisions. Check these out:
Kindergarten to 2nd grade
- Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday. The story is about a little boy who wishes to save but, unfortunately, makes poor decisions and wastes his money.
- The Giving Tree. This children’s book talks about the selfless and unconditional love between a boy and an apple tree. The boy is not just content eating the fruit of the tree.
- The Little Red Hen. This classic folktale inculcates in every reader strong work ethics and habits. The book primarily highlights the importance of initiative and self-reliance.
- A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams. The book tells the story of a family who saves money to purchase a nice new beautiful chair for their new home after losing all their possessions in a fire. The tale leaves the readers this important reminder: Save money for buying something special.
- The Little Red Hen – This book teaches kids about initiative and self-reliance.
- Peppe the Lamplighter. The book tells the story of Peppe, who becomes a lamplighter to help support his immigrant family in turn-of-the-century New York City, despite his father’s disapproval. He finally earns the respect of his entire family when he can help save his little sister.
- Rock, Brock, and the Savings Shock. A grandfather wishes to teach his twin grandsons the value of saving money. He does it by paying each dollar a week to help with summer chores, and he then matches every dollar each boy saves.
- The Six Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make. In his book, Sean Covey helps teens figure out how to approach the major challenges they face: gaining self-esteem, dealing with their parents, making friends, being wise about sex, coping with substances, succeeding at school, and planning a career.
- Johnny Tremain. The main character in the story, Johnny Tremain, is a young apprentice silversmith who becomes a patriot fighting to liberate the colonies from England. The novel tackles apprenticeship, courtship, sacrifice, human rights, and the growing tension between Patriots and Loyalists as conflict nears.
Money Monsters are a group of creatures designed to help teach children about financial literacy. Created by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, these story books are perfect for elementary children to learn about saving, borrowing, and even starting a business. Below are the books and the topics they cover to help your child’s knowledge of financial literacy.
- Money Monsters Learn to Save – This story book introduces Oodle, the unusual dog, and his owner Foozil. They see a $100 bike through a store window; they really want it, but they only have $2 in their pockets. They come up with a plan to save enough money to afford it by summertime. The book covers saving, looking for ways to earn, and spending money wisely. It also has themes on friendship and working together.
- Money Monsters Learn About Careers – Oodle the dog talks with Foozil and her friend Gibbins about what they learned in school: jobs and careers. The two terms are differentiated,with examples given to explain them simply and clearly. The book talks about deciding careers that go along with your interests and invites the exploration of all career possibilities for your child. Additionally, collaboration is encouraged, as the Money Monsters talked about working together in their future careers.
- Money Monsters Learn To Protect Their Things – Foozil and Gibbins meet Beebop, the robot as they look for Foozil’s lost money. The robot helps them retrace their steps and gives advice, such as not leaving loose money just lying in their pockets. It is a very important cautionary tale wrapped up in a cute story about helping others and being responsible for your belongings. The story book also talks about saving and securing your money and making friends who can help you out in times when you’ve lost something.
- Money Monsters Learn What Things Really Cost – In this short story, Foozil, Gibbins, and their friends talk about Oodle and other pets. Gibbins proclaims that he needs a tiger as a pet, something that his classmates were quick to correct as a want rather than a need. This story then focuses on the costs involved with having a pet, consulting parents and other family members about financial decisions, and making the best purchasing decisions. It helps children realize how much is needed in purchasing and maintaining something, which can be essential in appreciating the value of the things they currently have.
- Money Monsters Learn to Become Good Borrowers – Gibbins admires his new bike with his new pet Tiger when his friend Foop asks to borrow the bike. After Gibbins reluctantly agrees, Foop takes it to the park and loses it after playing with other Money Monsters. He owned up to his mistake and went to Gibbins to apologize and help him find it. This story book talks about being responsible for the things you borrowed, owning up to your mistakes when things go wrong, and making an effort to fix them. Friendship and forgiveness are also explored in the book. Responsibility and accountability are great lessons gained from this particular Money Monsters story.
- Money Monsters Learn About Giving – Foozil visits Gibbins to find him clearing out some of his old things. They talk about the difference between borrowing, giving something temporarily, and donating, giving something for good. While donatingT involves giving material things and money, they also talked about volunteering, giving your time for something worthwhile. The story teaches your children the value of generosity and the avenues they can give to others, especially those in need. It also focuses on giving capabilities because other than the material, they can also offer their time to worthy causes.
- Money Monsters Start Their Own Business – It details the same lovable and friendly characters as they decide to have their own business. This is a longer read which is broken up into several chapters, detailing the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur. Several technical terms such as mind maps, budgeting, and even opportunity costs are used, but explains them in a simple and comprehensive way through the story. It teaches the basics of a business and how children can get started in their own small ways.
The Money Monsters story books are a great collection of stories to give your children. They are easy to read and understand, provoke questions from your children, and allow them to learn about financial literacy in an entertaining way.. Even at a young age, they are given a chance to learn from and apply these lessons in their daily lives, which can help them immensely as they grow and develop.
The following materials will help you teach your kids how to handle money and invest money at a young age:
- Finding Fabulous Financial Literacy Vocabulary. This lesson plan will help introduce “fancy” words often used in discussing finances into a child’s vocabulary in PDF format.
- Spend, Save, Invest, or Donate. This lesson plan introduces basic personal financial terms and covers philanthropy, wants, needs, opportunity cost, and scarcity.
- United States Mint HIP Pocket Change. The site presents helpful tips and games to help teach children about both the uses and the history of money. Activities and games are designed to help your children learn about the Mint itself and how it makes coins and appreciate coin collecting as a hobby.
- FunBrain Change Maker. It has various kinds of engaging games for kids to explore. Their Math Zone, as an example, uses games to teach kids all about different math-related lessons.
- Introduction to Saving and Spending. This lesson plan in PDF format will help kids learn the value of saving money and how to create simple savings plans. The PDF is free to download.
- Sesame Workshop: Financial Empowerment. Here, your kids’ favorite Sesame Street characters — Elmo, Grover, and their friends—will teach them about financial empowerment. The Sesame characters will teach kids to differentiate between wants and needs, save money, and budget.
- KidsFinance.com. The website has been teaching financial literacy since 1999, and it features money puzzle games and lessons about different bills and coins.
- Wise Pockets. This is a financial literacy program through the University of Missouri-St. Louis that helps younger children explore earning, saving, and spending through interactive stories. The program also covers lending and borrowing.
- Financial Literacy for Kids from OppLoans.This resource guide for parents will help you explain to your kids what money is, why we need it to spend, the different ways to earn money, the difference between wants and needs, the value of savings, and how to spend money wisely.
- Uncle Jed’s Barbershop Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. This PDF lesson aims to teach kids ages 9-11 to save money by listening to Uncle Jed’s story that details his journey to save enough money to buy his barbershop, despite many financial setbacks.
- Warrent Buffet’s Secret Millionaires Club. From his animated series on YouTube, viewers will get advice and learn from billionaire Warren Buffett about investing, saving, and exploring the world of finance.
- A Chair for my Mother Lesson. This lesson plan tells the story of a little girl and her family who saved money to buy a chair after a fire destroyed their furniture. The lesson will help students understand how to save and budget and how to use their money compassionately.
- Dragonbox Numbers. It is designed for 4-8-year-olds, and this app makes learning all about numbers and their value fun as it gives kids a jump start on Math.
- Stock Market Game – An online game that simulates economics, the global capital markets, personal finance, and investing. Players are given a $100,000 portfolio to manage, trade stocks, and learn the basics of investing.
- Savings Spree – The lessons presented in this fun app will help your kids learn how to spend their money smartly, save for things they want and understand investments and donations. The game is accessible through the App Store on iOS devices.
- iAllowance – The app tracks your kids’ allowances, rewards, and chores that may be set in the app. It allows kids to check their progress and see how much money they’ve managed to save.
- A Yen to Trade Curriculum – This downloadable PDF curriculum will introduce your kids to the basics of trading and how people of different countries trade. The curriculum presents ten lessons that parents can teach as a whole or individually to their kids.
- Scholastic – This aids you in teaching your kids basic financial literacy concepts in a fun and interesting way. The lessons follow Common Core Key Standards.
- The Allowance Game from Iowa State University – Using beans, kids will learn the impact of their decisions on their financial health and manage their earnings by spending responsibly and saving appropriately.
- Financial Football – The website offers lesson plans for parents to help kids better understand how to handle, spend, and save their money.
- Chair the Fed – The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco game uses simulation to give your kids the power to control the Federal Reserve. The game gives them a better understanding of how the Fed works in the real world.
- Sense & Dollars – Here you can find games, information, and helpful links that will help you educate older kids or teens about how to spend, save, and budget.
- CNN Money – It covers a variety of topics that could help your teens expand their financial education. These include buying a home, starting a family, and retirement planning. It discusses buying a car, getting a job, and beginning to invest.
- Teach Children Well with JP Morgan Chase. JP Morgan Chase outlines some skills that your children will need to develop good financial habits. There are also simple exercises to help educate kids.
- Merrill’s College Planning – Through Merrill’s College Planning program, your children can get a head start before college. Here kids can create an action plan for college and stay on top of their finances throughout the school.
- Bank of American’s Money Management for Teens – This website helps teens understand how they earn their money and save, spend, and invest responsibly.
- Financial inTuition Podcast – This focuses on various financial topics, including saving, paying for college, managing money, and repaying student loan debt.
- Financial Literacy for Kids. The lessons cover budgeting, earning, spending, and saving money, financial responsibility, and more.
- Dave Ramsey’s advice for teaching kids about money – Here Ramsey explores simple solutions to help your kids learn how to earn and spend their own money.
- Practical Money Skills Play – Popular among the featured games here are the. Cash Puzzler helps small kids identify different bills, and Financial Soccer, a multiple-choice money quiz that helps kids learn about personal financial responsibility.
- Bankaroo – These are lessons about budgeting, saving for goals, and spending responsibly. Bankaroo is available via the web or on their app.
- Centsables – The main goal of Centsables is to teach younger kids the basics of money: saving, spending, and sharing, good vs. bad credit, investing, and more.
- Kid’s Money – This uses a variety of methods to help instill those habits in fun and entertaining ways. Topics are about making money, allowances, and more.
- Money Instructor – The website offers kids grades K-12 basic money skills, information on earning money, personal finance, starting businesses, money management, and other life skills.
- BizKid$ – Kids can watch videos, play games, and create budgets and business plans when accessing the website.
- Stockpile – This app will be interesting to those who want to know more about investing. Parents can set up a custodial account, and kids can buy fractions of popular stocks that may interest them (Examples are Disney or Xbox).
- BusyKid – This focuses on teaching your kids about earning, saving, donating, investing, and spending. Parents can set chores in the app for kids to complete. Once the chores are completed, your kids receive the allowance, which is directly deposited every Friday.
- Greenlight – Within the app, children can learn about all aspects of financial responsibility. The debit card issued to every kid also comes with some protections as the cards can’t be used in any store or website that does business in wire transfers, money orders, escort services, lotteries, and gambling.
- Jump$tart! Financial Smarts for Students – The standards consist of six sections that address all of the money basics. These include spending & saving, credit & debt, employment & income, investing, risk management & insurance, and financial decision making.
- Finance in the Classroom – You can help prepare the children in your life for a lifetime of financial literacy through the lesson plans available on Finance in the Classroom.
- Banzai – This free financial education platform helps students learn financial responsibility through real-life scenarios, including budgeting, taxes, medical expenses, credit cards, banking, and other financial topics.
- Orange Owl Academy – It provides a 64-page workbook and 37 videos to help your kids learn essential money management skills.
- National Financial Educators Council – The National Financial Educators Council has several resources to teach personal finance to children of all ages, helping kids establish healthy relationships with money.
- Teaching Kids About Money: An Age-by-Age Guide by Parents.com – There are simple activities like playing the coin identification game with your kids and others.
- Money and Kids – This section in the Family Education website shares financial management tips for parents. Family Education, specifically, offers a wealth of resources for parents hoping to teach their children about money. These include games, tips, and printable activities.
- SageVest Kids – SageVest encourages skills and activities like games, savings, and financial checklists to help your kids achieve financial literacy goals. There are guidelines to help parents initiate financial conversations with their children at any age. Guidelines include conversations about self-esteem, budgeting, personal and financial maturity, adapting to financial peer pressure, and more.
- Treasury Direct – This government website explores the history of U.S. Public Debt. There are games, video resources, and highlighted lessons that can help your children understand what debt is, how it works, and explore its impacts on the economy.
- Strategies to Teach Children Delayed Gratification – Psychology Today features this article written by David J Bredehoft, Ph.D. This particular article advises on how to teach children different strategies for success in delaying gratification, such as self-control, “if-then” plans, and more.
- MyMoney.gov – Parents may use this for children of all ages, and it has games, activities, and other information about money. Aside from lessons about saving and spending, there is also introductory information about taxes, why we pay them, and how they work.
- Family-At-Home Financial Fun Pack (by The Council for Economic Education) – This is a curated set of financial education materials from the Council for Economic Education (CEE) and a few of its friends. The materials include family activities, games, worksheets, and suggested books for your kids.
- Money as You Grow (Consumer’s Financial Protection Bureau) – Written in simple language for children and their families, Money as You Grow to provide kids with what they need to know to be fiscally.
- Khan Academy – The academy offers instructional videos, practice exercises, and a personalized learning dashboard enabling self-paced learning outside the classroom. They tackle math, science, computing, history, art history, economics, and more.
- Teach Your Children to Save the Day (The American Bankers Association Foundation) – Teach Children to Save (TCTS) is a free ABA Foundation-sponsored national program organizing banker volunteers to educate young people on developing a savings habit at a young age. Participating banker volunteers will receive access to a private resource page containing promotional materials, student activities, communication tools, and presentation lessons covering topics: Banking Careers, Decision Making, Interest, Money Recognition, and Savings. The lessons are also available in Spanish.
Financial Literacy Lesson Plans
- Using real-world math. When do we need to use Math? Why is Math important to the real world? We use Math to estimate costs, measure lengths, and compute how much we spend or save.
- Meet the Coins (Lower Elementary) – The first thing to teach your kids to be money smart is by helping them know the names and values of different coins and be for goods and services.
- The Basic of Taxes (Middle School) – Financial literacy means understanding financial components and developing skills such as borrowing, budgeting, personal financial management, investing, and taxation. A person without these skills is considered financially illiterate. Check this sample lesson plan to aid you in teaching the basics of taxes to your kids: Activities based on real-life show students how to analyze a pay stub and how to calculate sales tax.
- Meaningful conversation. Talk to your kids. Initiate a meaningful conversation with them about these topics:
- Learning to Be a Smart Shopper. You can share with your kids these tips on smart shopping: Set a budget; only buy what they need; buy clothes on sale, choose quality over quantity; buy what fits them.
- Make the Most of Your Money. Always remind your children to take control of their finances and use their money effectively. They can reduce their spending by buying only the essentials.
- Evaluating Charities. Before giving to charity, tell your kids that it’s better to evaluate their chosen institutions or organizations. Examine the charity’s financial health. Check the charity’s transparency accountability. Investigate the charity’s results.
- Navigating the World of Virtual Currency. It is fine to discuss the features and pros and cons of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies among family members. Be open to possibilities that you could lose a lot of money if you invest without doing your research first on this platform.
Integrating Lessons If You’re Not a Math Teacher
Financial Literacy Checklist
Are you confident you are ready to raise financially literate kids? Refer to this checklist that will help them develop good spending and saving habits and be money smart!
- Importance of saving. Saving money helps protect you in the event of a financial emergency.
- Wants vs. needs. Take care of your basic needs first and then save for any future needs.
- How to create and use a simple budget. Budgeting helps you track your spending. To create a budget: Calculate your net income; List monthly expenses; Determine the average monthly cost for each expense; Make adjustments.
- How to develop financial goals. A financial goal is what you aim for when you are managing your money. Write them own and stick to your list.
- Checking account management. CSound account management helps you to avoid unnecessary fees.
- How to use debit cards. You use your debit cards primarily to withdraw money. You can also rely on them if your goal is to avoid spending more money than you have.
- How to use online banking, mobile banking, and alerts. Online banking and mobile banking save you time, and they are more convenient to access than brick and mortar banks. Hence, it’s a must that you know the basics of these platforms.
- The basics of credit and credit scores. Credit is the capacity to borrow money or acquire products or services with the understanding that you’ll pay later. On the other hand, a credit score measures an individual’s ability to pay back the borrowed amount. Banks and lenders are inclined to approve your credit applications if you have a good credit score.
- How to be a smart borrower. The basic reminder: Get the facts before you borrow. Know the terms and rates before getting loans.
- The importance of saving for retirement. Prepare for retirement as early as possible.
- What they’ll need for their first job. Advise your adult kids to separate their wants from their needs when budgeting their money once they land their first job. They should know their limits when they spend on new clothes and other essential stuff.
- How to shop for and finance a car. The basic rule is to think about your budget and financing. Be realistic.
- The importance of planning for college. Prepare for and anticipate future costs.
Introducing financial literacy from a young age comes with a variety of benefits. Teaching them to be financially smart will prepare and help them avoid financial debt and bankruptcy in the future.
Parents must teach their children the value of money.
There are several materials that parents can access for them to make teaching financial literacy fun for kids. Among them are games, books, lesson plans, and other online resources.